Monday, October 01, 2012

Spell Checking

So, Captain Awesome is in third grade this year.  (I know, I know, where did the time go??!!) 

He has always been above grade level in everything except handwriting and motivation, so we were pretty happy that his new teacher had always taught fourth grade.  His school in Hawaii was not so interested in challenging the kids, and the teacher always seemed annoyed when kids wanted more difficult work.

His new teacher has been great about giving enrichment work (ie. fourth grade assignments) to the kids who are ready for it.  

Take, for example, spelling words.  The kids get their spelling words on Monday and can immediately take a pre-test.  If you pass the pre-test, you don't have to take the Friday test.  Because some of the weekly homework involves spelling words, the kids who pass the pre-test can choose twenty words off a 6-page list of Challenge Words and use those for the spelling homework.  So, instead of writing sentences with the spelling words, they write sentences using the challenge words.  Got it?

This week Captain Awesome decided to do the pre-test, and passed with flying colors.  

He came home with the list of Challenge Words, and on it he had circled the twenty words he wanted to use this week.  I glanced over his choices (legislation, administration, periwinkles, magnificent....) and noticed that they were definitely challenging, more so than most of the words on the page.  

I asked him how he chose the words and he said, "I just went down the list and circled the biggest words."  This surprised me a bit, especially considering his lazy streak. 

Apparently the lazy streak returned.  

Tonight when I reviewed his spelling homework - use each word in a sentence - I found this:

1.  The legislation is lame.
2.  The administration is lame.
3.  Periwinkles are lame.
4.  Being magnificent is lame.
5.............. 

(You get the point.)

That's my boy.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Cooking Challenge

I love Pinterest.

Just like the wanna-be brides, I scour Pinterest for cool things that will most likely never happen.  In my case, it isn't shiny engagement rings or glitzy reception decor, it's recipes.  I have boards filled with soups and salads and entrees, comfort food and ethnic food and copycat recipes....I have it all.  

In reality though, I hate cooking.  (It's genetic, I believe.)  Oddly though, I love to bake.  I have a shelf full of cookbooks - the dessert and bread sections have with worn and tattered pages, while the remainder of the book is in pristine condition.  

While I know I will never really enjoy cooking, I have decided it is time to get out of our dinner funk.  The kids are older now, and (with the exception of Captain Awesome) not nearly as finicky as they used to be. 

With the help of Pinterest, I am doing a Cooking Challenge......one new recipe per week, rave about it or pitch it.  

Ready?

Go!

My first recipe is one I tried several weeks ago, and it was a HUGE hit.  So awesome, in fact, that I've made it three times since.  It is quick, easy, and perfect for summer nights.

The original recipe can be found here:  Spinach Salad with Chicken, Avocado, and Goat Cheese . (Whenever possible, I will post the link to the original source, as opposed to the Pinterest link....it's only fair.)

I did modify it a bit.  The Hubster doesn't care for spinach in salads, so I used romaine.  I eliminated the corn because corn just doesn't belong in a salad, IMO.  I added extra avocado (like, triple) because avocado makes everything better!!  

I used the dressing in the recipe, though it is a bit too mustard-y for my tastes.  (Everyone else loves it.)  I eat the salad without dressing.....it's just THAT good!!    

Enjoy!


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Finding His Inner Nemo

Our promise to Captain Awesome has always been that we would put him on a sports team as soon as we were settled.  He has been dragged to soccer games, volleyball games, track meets, and swim meets from the time he was a newborn.....he was completely over the whole "spectator" experience.  

After three moves in three years, we are finally settled.

We discussed it with him and decided on swim team.  We are a very aquatics-oriented family, so it seemed to be the best fit for him.  

Swim team starts in October, but he needs to be able to swim the length of the pool in each of the four strokes in order to be on the team.  He had swim lessons years ago, but sort of acquired his own technique over the years.  For example, if I told him to swim Freestyle across the pool, he would just start flailing and propelling himself across the pool with no real pattern or form.  I knew he could swim freestyle, as I had seen him do it often.  When I asked him WTH he was doing, his reply was "Freestyle, just like you asked."  

I was confused until one day he said he didn't realize the front crawl he was doing was called "Freestyle".  He thought Freestyle meant just that....you are free to choose any style, as long as you make it across the pool.....make it up as you go, just like freestyle rap.   

Okay.  

His other strokes were worse.    He sort of made it up as he went along, and whenever either of his two lifeguard-brothers attempted to help, it turned into a play session.       

So now my options were: (1) Disappoint him once again because he may not be ready by October, (2) Choose another sport, or (3) Sign him up for some Ridiculously Expensive Swim Lessons and hope he masters all four strokes by the time he completes his 20 lessons in October.

I chose Option 3.

The Ridiculously Expensive Swim Lessons started a few weeks ago, twenty minute lessons three days per week.  After 11 lessons, he has mastered Freestyle, Backstroke, Breaststroke, and is almost there with Butterfly.  He can dive off the blocks, and is working on his flip turn.  He entered a fun meet after the first four lessons, and placed second in his age group for both 25-yard freestyle and 25-yard backstroke.  He hopes he can master the flip turn before the next fun meet so he can do the 50-yard events (in addition to the 25-yard events) in all four strokes.  

I'm so impressed, and thrilled that he will be ready by October!

Oh, and his take on the whole thing?

"Yeah, I really don't like swimming." 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

She's Baaaaaaack!!

We're unpacked, vacation was great, and the kids have started school.  Life is good!

Here's the deal:  I have three months until tax season (aka Crazy Season) begins.  That's three months to work on me, the things I enjoy, and.....well, Me.  

In addition to the boring stuff (career advancement, professional education, etc.), I'm pushing my photography to a new level.  The Husband and I have a 5-Year Plan that involves an art gallery/surf shop/beach house.  I need to work the kinks out now to make it happen in five years! 

I've also signed up for a half-marathon in January.  It will be the first test of my newly healed knee, and if all goes well, there will be more to follow....possibly a full marathon or triathlon in 2013.  Stay tuned.

You know what else I am doing?  If you've been following my blog at all, you know I have an "I hate cooking" gene.  Well, I am working on that, thanks to Pinterest.  Look for Pinterest Recipe Reviews.  My goal is one new recipe per week.  

Other than that, SSDD.  More randomness about family life, travels, photography, kids, etc.  

Now, off to update the profile info and start fresh!
        

Monday, July 16, 2012

Deja Vu All Over Again

If it seems as if I am neglecting my bloggity duties, well, it's because I have been. Again.

You see, we've moved.....again.  If it seems as if you've heard this story before, it's because you have.  (Multiple times.)

We are now getting settled in SoCal.  And yes, we've done that before too.

((sigh))

And once again I am heading off on vacation and promise to resume blogging after I return.

(That's a whole lot of deja vu in a single post.)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

More Lost in Translation

So, I took the kid for a haircut.  He keeps wavering between the Blonde One's curls and the Wildcard's short spikiness and finally it was time for me to intervene.  Yes the long curls were cute, but he just couldn't carry the look like his older brother could.  

So, we opted for short and maybe spiky.

Because I really can't make a commitment, I dropped in to a hair salon on the way home from karate the other night.  As luck would have it, there were no openings for walkins.  The following day, on the way to the commissary we had the same luck.

Finally, on the way to Costco with Captain Awesome in tow, we stopped at Fantastic Sam's and were told that it would only be a ten minute wait.  That was, well, fantastic.

Like clockwork, ten minutes later the little Vietnamese hairstylist popped her head out and called Captain Awesome's name.  I walked back to the chair with him, helped him get situated, and talked to the hairstylist for a minute.

She couldn't stop looking at him in the mirror, with a slightly puzzled look on her face.

"Is it boy or girl?" she finally asked.

I assured her that "it" was a boy, and that he would like a short, spiky hair cut, cut short around the ears and neck.  She seemed to understand.

So, I took a spot in the seating area where I could watch, but not interfere.  A minute later she was back.

"Um, mom?  She so cute.  She should have bob!"

Visions of my cute little ninja walking out with a curly bob, glittery Barbie nail extensions, and an intriguing story to tell his therapist in the future bounced through my head.

Thank God for photo books.  A picture truly is worth a million words.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

I'm An Idiot, Volume XXVIII

When we moved into the 1950's Beach Cottage, we knew we were giving up space for the convenience of having the World's Best Beach across the street.  One of those conveniences was a kitchen with storage.

As I was unpacking our kitchen boxes, I came across lots and lots of Tupperware and lots and lots of Tupperware lids.  The big problem was that space was limited and that we simply had too much Tupperware crap.

In an attempt to rectify the situation, I piled all the Tupperware in one corner, then separated the lids into two piles:  Lids With Bottoms and Orphaned Lids.  My plan, of course, was to ditch the Orphaned Lids to conserve space in the cupboard.

The only problem with that plan is that I'm an idiot and was working on too few hours of sleep.

I tossed the Lids With Bottoms.

I was left with a cupboard full of Tupperware with no lids, and a drawer full of Orphaned Lids.  I'm reminded of it EVERY FREAKIN' TIME we have leftovers.

signed.....looking for a Tuppewrare dealer who specializes in 1990-era lids. 

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Like a Breath of Fresh Air

Last night as I was tucking Captain Awesome into bed and giving him his nightly eight kisses and an eight-second hug, I noticed how good he smelled.  It was fresh, clean, soapy goodness.....more so than usual.

Me:  You smell good tonight!

Captain Awesome:  That's because it's Tuesday.

And with that, the conversation was over.  At least in his mind.

Me (with an obviously dumb look):  Huh?  

Captain Awesome:  It's my system.  In the shower.  You know, my shower system.

(I tilt my head left, then right, like a curious puppy.)

Captain Awesome (after a big sigh):  On Monday I scrub my left arm.  Twice.

On Tuesday I scrub my left arm and my right arm.  Twice.

On Wednesday I scrub my left arm and my right arm and my belly.  Twice.

On Thursday I scrub my left arm and my right arm and my belly and my right leg.  Twice.

On Friday I scrub my left arm and my right arm and my belly and my right leg and my left leg.  Twice.

If you think I smell good now, wait until Friday.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Proof I'm Raising Nerdy Kids:

When kids rebel, watch out.  You really never know where their rebellious ways will take them......

Take Captain Awesome, for example. 

Yesterday he came home from school in a pissy mood, which wasn't surprising.  When he walked in the door and tried to log on to the computer, I reminded him that he hadn't completed his homework the night before and had been in a mad rush in the morning to complete it and still get to school on time.

The kicker was that he knew he had homework, but chose not to mention it to me until 7:25 a.m.

So, the new rule was that homework had to be done AS SOON AS YOU WALK IN THE DOOR.  NO exceptions.  Period.

So, after a bit (okay a lot) of fuss, Captain Awesome pulled his math book out of his backpack and did two pages of division problems. He followed that up with ten spelling sentences, a science worksheet, and twenty minutes of reading.  

When he finished, I let him get on the computer and all was good.

And then, this morning happened.

He got up, got dressed, ate breakfast, and brushed his teeth.  As I handed him his backpack he looked at me and said, "What do you think I am?  Stupid or something?"

I was clueless.

"That math homework I did last night?  The two pages of division problems?  That wasn't my homework.  We're not even on division yet."

Huh?

Then he pulled out his math book, opened to a page of geometry and spent ten seconds circling images that could be folded from the given flat shapes. 

"See that?  THAT was my math homework.  I just did the division to trick you."

Yeah.........okay.  You win, buddy.    

Friday, January 13, 2012

Gomennasai!

So, yesterday I was in my office in the back of the house working while Crunchy Girl and Captain Awesome were occupied in the front of the house.  Crunchy Girl was watching TV in the living room while Captain Awesome played with his Beyblades on the floor across the room.  It was a quiet afternoon, and things were winding down for the day.

Or so I thought.

The next ten minutes played out as one of the funniest incidents of my life.  It went like this:

A white ten-passenger cargo van suddenly pulled up in front of our house.  We have a huge floor-to-ceiling picture window in the living room, and the jalousie windows on either side were wide open, so it was impossible for Crunchy Girl to not notice.

The doors of the van opened and the driver helped ten Japanese tourists out of the van, then unloaded a pile of suitcases, wheelie bags, and random travel items......and then he drove off.

Crunchy Girl watched as the Japanese talked amongst themselves and sorted their luggage, then walked up the sidewalk to our front door.  They paused to look at the house, the yard, and point at various plants and pieces of landscaping.  And, since the front window is a two-way window, they waved to Crunchy Girl and headed up the front steps, luggage in tow.  And then there was a knock on the door.

This is when Crunchy Girl raced back to my office in a panic.

She was attempting to tell me what was happening out there, but was startled and freaked out and not making much sense.  (Not that she could have explained it in a way that made any sense of the situation though.)  Halfway through her scattered thoughts, Captain Awesome walked in to the room looking dazed and confused.

"Ummmm, Mom?  Why are there a bunch of Japanese people in our yard taking pictures of our house?"

From my office in the back, I can look out the window and see our front porch.  

Sure enough, it was the stereotypical Japanese tourist scene.  There were about ten of them dressed in Japanese office/travel/everyday attire, mulling around the yard, posing for pictures while flashing the peace sign and grinning ear to ear.  It was surreal and crazy and I was trying to figure out my next move.

Before I could do anything, the white van came flying around the corner and came to a quick stop in front of our house.  

The driver hopped out and frantically shouted something in Japanese. 

Our new visitors paused and looked at each other in shock for a few seconds, scrambled to grab their belongings, then ran across the street and loaded into the van in 60 seconds flat.

And they were gone.

Obviously the van driver needs a better GPS.