Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

What's Wrong With This Picture?

I could never be a teacher. I know this about myself. I am not patient. I mean, I have a newfound amount that came with the birth of Isaac, but I still do not really consider myself an overall patient individual. I taught Gen Bio labs while in grad school, and can I just tell you how much that took out of me? I mean seriously, kids, if you can't figure out how to turn on the damn microscope by the last week of class, MAYBE YOU SHOULD RETHINK THE PREMED MAJOR. Just sayin.

Anyway, I know this about myself. I don't have it in me to be a teacher, let alone a GREAT one like some of the ones that I have had throughout my education. Seriously, I have had some amazing teachers. And when you are in grade school (My third grade teacher was PHENOMENAL, my favorite to this day), you don't think about the sacrifices those teachers are making for you. I grew up in a small town. My graduating class was like 129. We had drive your tractor to school day (SERIOUSLY) and got out for junior fair day. But still, I had teachers that cared enough to make a difference and impacted my life in such a way that I went on to follow my dreams and to think that I can and will achieve them. My HS biology teacher gave me this profound love of science that still burns within and my math teacher made it FUN AND UNDERSTANDABLE. I still use my high school calculus notes. In college, my favorite professor CHANGED MY WAY OF THINKING. He made me into a scientist.

Anyway, I had the honor to be exposed to these wonderful teachers. And throughout my life, I have had the honor to get to know other teachers, who just happen to be my friends.

And let me tell you, I love my friends. And I hate hearing that they are treated poorly, or struggling. Especially when they are doing something for other people, like TEACHING. Of all my friends, I would have to say that my teacher friends, no matter what grade level, make the least amount of money, work the hardest, and get the least gratitude in their positions.

I get that some professions deserve to be high paid. Like doctors. I see no reason why a brain surgeon who saves lives day in and day out shouldn't make a high amount of money. But an actress? Or professional athlete? Give me a break. Don't get me wrong, I like movies as much as the next person. And TV. And I have been known to watch some professional sports. Bit let me be frank in saying in no way, now how do those people deserve to make more money than the people who educate and shape our children. No. Way. In my opinion, they are saving lives in their own way, just like the aforementioned brain surgeon, in their own way.

Ihear the struggles my friends have. And while on my recent trip back east, I saw the struggles of one friend who teaches science to high school students in a not so nice neighborhood. How she does it, I do not know. I can't fathom. The hours she puts in, the time. The time away from her family and friends, away from her home. The money that comes from her own pocket. The energy, oh THE ENERGY she has to muster. I couldn't do it. Flat out, I could not do it. I saw first hand what she deals with on a day-to-day basis. I just couldn't.

So even though I am not a teacher, I hold them near and dear. And I hope there are some drastic changes to the educational system before my children are immersed in it. A MILLION THANKS GO OUT TO EVERY TEACHER THAT I KNOW, THAT HAVE SHAPED MY LIFE.

***This post was written after reading the letter posted by several friends, also teachers, who deserve mass props.***

Friday, September 24, 2010

Mish Mash

My delightful co-worker A so delicately pointed out that I haven't blogged in a week. Sorry, over a week. So here, I am stuck with writer's block, big time, throwing together a post of updates, I guess. Let's start with a visual aid. :)

Isaac likes swings again! We discovered a new park, where ducks swim semi-free in an enclosed pond that also contains mutant koi. Whew, the "IHATESWINGSGETMEOUTOFTHISTHINGRIGHTNOWORIWILLSCREAMANDSCREAMANDMAYBEEVENBITEYOU" phase is over, seemingly. And he is so over the little play structures that are age appropriate. He wants to be on the big kid ones. And we, uh...kinda let him. He's an adventurous, fearless little boy. The way this kid climbs, you would like he was part monkey. We follow him and make sure he isn't leaping off things. He pretty much just wants to climb and go down the big slides. He knows to sit down at the top and not lean over the side. He makes it sound as though the climbing is alot of effort because with every single step, we usually get an exertionous grunt (is that a word, hmmmm I hope so). We don't let him go on said structures if there are big kids who actually belong on the big equipment there, and I wouldn't get pissed (assumably) if he injured (knock on wood) himself on them because I let him on there. I TAKE FULL RESPONSIBILITY HERE!

Speaking of the little man (still my baby boy), he has developed an affinity for Lady Gaga and Glee. TRUE STORY. He is partial to "Bad Romance" but he will also sing along to "Telephone." I think it's adorable that he will sing "el-o, el-o bay-be" and I am pretty sure he likes the singing on Glee.

And he counts to 10! He can get to 6 unassisted, and needs a bit of coaxing past 7 and 8, but definately gets the 9, 10. :)

So, the 3 week great stash reduction of 2010...I am happy to say that I have only spent $7.48 of my $10 budget. And to be honest $2.50 was on accident. I am so accustomed to impulse buying, that last weekend at Target, I threw 100-calorie cupcakes into the cart without even thinking about it. I didn't even realize I had bought a grocery until I got home. Anyway, Other than that, I have only bought milk for me and Isaac. I have used several canned goods, two boxes of pasta, and several things from the freezer. We have had fried chicken, spaghetti and meatballs, turkey chili, potato crunch fish, pizza, and mac and cheese. And to be honest, I am not seeing any dent made in the stash. Maybe because it is the first week? Or maybe because I just have THAT MUCH STUFF.

There are several professional opportunities looming on the horizon for me and hubs. Hopefully (fingers crossed, please please PUH-LEASE), something will pan out successfully for one of us, providing us with the opportunity for change. We are feeling a bit stuck right now. Like, that inbetween phase, where you know you have to move forward, but you need that little kick start in that direction.

No more decision has been made on whether or not the IUD is actually coming out in November either. :( Much trepidation though. I think it depends on how the aforementioned pans out.

Tomorrow we are going to the SF Zoo, with a friend and her two kids that I haven't seen in AGES. I haven't seen her son since he was an itty bitty baby, and I have never met her daughter, nor has she met Isaac. I am deliriously excited.

Ok, that is seriously all I have now. I am suffering serious writer's block. Hopefully it will vanish soon. I apologize. :(

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Challenge Has Been Accepted

I have this almost OCD where I have to have full cupboards and a full freezer/fridge. I buy in bulk and when stuff is on sale. I got a vacuum packer for my bridal shower, and I love it. I can buy the value packs of meat and then put them in the deep freezer. I save money or so I think. The problem is I forget that I have it. Example: I buy spaghetti when it goes on sale for 75 cents a box. I put it in my cupboard. We don't use the spaghetti, and I go shopping the next week. Spaghetti is on sale again. I can't remember if I have any, so I buy more. I end up with 5 boxes of spaghetti in my cupboards. 5 boxes! That's 10 meals with that type of pasta! Another example: chicken goes on sale and I buy a value pack. I vacuum pack it into meal portions. I put some in my freezer and some in my deep freezer. I may or may not use some that was stored in my freezer. I go shopping again and this time the bags of chicken are on sale. I buy one, maybe two because 3 pounds of chicken for 2.99 is a good deal! The bags go into my deep freezer. You get the idea.

My current grocery budget is about $75-$100 a week, putting us between $300 and $400 per month. For a family of 3, that includes a toddler. Granted, my husband eats alot. And so does my toddler. And sometimes we are feeding my BIL and various other people, and we take leftovers for lunch so we don't waste a whole lot of food.

Or do we?

Here is my challenge. For the next 3 weeks, I am only alloted a grocery budget of $10 per week. This should buy fresh milk and produce and possibly bread for lunches if needed. For all other food, I have to use up what I have in the house. It's time to deplete the stash.

This should not be too hard, in all honesty. But I am really nervous about it. BECAUSE I AM A PACK RAT! I HAVE A DISEASE, PEOPLE!

This was sparked yesterday evening when I went to the store for crescent rolls and grapes and came out $50 later. Upon putting things away, I realized I already had most of the items I had just purchased or something very similar. The challenge starts today, and I don't get my $10 budget until Monday since I already went shopping. I should need milk by then, so that's my $ date. I have to get through until at least October 8th.

So here we go! On tonight's menu: Oven fried chicken, southwestern hashbrowns and leftover veggies.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Monday, September 13, 2010

Road Maps

When my husband (who was my fiancee at the time) made the journey across the US from Ohio to California, we had this marvelous little tool from AAA called a Trip Tix. It was great. It mapped out our entire suggested route and gave all necessary information. It gave us the toll roads, construction that was occurring. It gave us suggested hotels and resturants, auto repair facilities, touristy attractions, gas stations, etc. It came with a bunch of those paper road maps and a big fat atlas that I don't know if we still have or not. It was cumbersome, but it got us easily and relatively uneventfully from point A to point B. It gave us a clear route that was logical and easily navigated.

Last week, while on vacation, I drove to Virginia to see one of my college roomies, Kelly. I drove all day on Tuesday and then all day Thursday to come home. The trip was fantastic, albeit too short, but the activities themselves are not the point of this post and what I refer to. It was the trip there.

I used our GPS Garmin thingie. Lord, what on earth did we ever do without these navigation systems (oh, right...the trip tix)? How did we find our way anywhere? I hardly remember what life was like without these marvelous little GPS satelites recalculated my route. Merely plug in your destination address, and viola! I have a perfectly mapped route, getting me there in a timely fashion. It even tells me if there is traffic backing up the roads. I needed a starbucks fix in the middle of my trip and it found me one! If I got lost or made a wrong turn or missed my exit because I was singing Lady Gaga at the top of my lungs (totally hypothetical), it easily got me back on course. With the aid of little Garmin, once again a long voyage was made easy from point A to point B with few to no snafus.

And while in the car, I had a lot of time to think. You know what would be nice? A little life Garmin. Like say for instance, I want Job A and to live in City B while having Child C and volunteering at Organization D with Accomplishments and Certifications E,F, and G. I type it in and it tells me the easiest way to get there and how long it will take. It maps the journey for me. And if I get thrown off course, it will tell me how to get back on track. If I want to take a little detour, I can plug that in as well, and it will recalculate for me.

I would even settle for Life Trip Tix from AAA.

My vacation gave me alot to think about. Now, I just have to figure out how to get there. And I have to do it on my own, no GPS.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Toddler Idol

***First, before I write anything about what I actually want to write about, I need to say that I orginally typed baby instead of toddler in the title of this post. Because to me, no matter how old he gets, that is always what Isaac will be. Even when he is 70 and (hopefully) I am 98. My BABY. But alas, he is definately a full blown TODDLER.***

Occasionally, Isaac sings. He will fill in the EIEIO of me singing "Isaac Lahman Has a Farm" and anythign that has one-word type lines, like "Hey Soul Sister" 's Ay Ay, AY yay ay yay yay, and "Buffalo Solider" 's Oye yoy yoy. However, on the trip to GG Park to see the aunties, he recently busted out "we're rough!" in NKOTB's "Hangin' Tough" (dont' judge. You know that still sing it too) as we were rocking out in the car. It was ADORABLE as it came out "we ruuuuuuuuttttt!" with a huge smile and gigles. We are working on the Whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh arm waving.

The other night, Isaac continued to demonstrate his passion for vocals and a career as a mega idol. We were sitting on the couch, enjoying pre-bedtime milk and looking at books. I was finishing up the last 15 minutes of "Glee" which I had ashamedly fallen asleep during. During "Total Eclipse of the Heart," Isaac starts to full on belt out nonsensical words and swaying back and forth on the couch.

He sang for the 3 minute duration of the song. I have no idea what he was singing, but it was hilarious.

My heart swelled as my baby, ok, my TODDLER, broke into a new milestones, demostrating his love of music. Now I try to get him to sing all the time, which of course he bashfully laughs and runs away. I will catch it on video and send it immediately to Sony or at least Ryan Seacrest because this type of talent should not be ignored. :)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Deep Breath

This morning, Isaac and I are leaving for Ohio, for vacation. After a 6 hour direct flight from SFO to DTW, assuming we both make it because let's be honest...that's a long freakin time to try to keep a toddler wrangled into an airplane seat without drugging him or myself, we will spend a week with family, friends, and fainting goats.

Yep, Isaac will be attending his first county fair, complete with fainting goats, elephant ears, sno cones, and that game where you pick up a duck and win a prize. I am sure he will love that game, and we will return to California with about $20 worth of cheapie sunglasses, necklaces, and bouncy balls. He gets to spend hours upon hours being spoiled rotten by his grandparents and uncles, and meeting new friends. He gets to play with Cissy and Norton. He gets to play with his great-grandparents.

I get to see high school friends that I haven't seen in YEARS, see my college roommate's new house, new puppy, and Lady Gaga (that's right, I said it), and eat delicious ice cream from Jeni's with my roommate from Spain. I get to (hopefully) meet my bloggy idol who also hails from the magical midwestern motherland and went to a high school one town over ( sorry about those paitned chickens in your hall during senior year homecoming....). And do the above mentioned with Isaac. I am leaving him with my parents and probably boatloads of sugar, and driving to Virginia to see K. This is a total Mommy-vacation. I can't help my babysitters live in Ohio.

And let me tell you, I need the break. I need the mental relief. I paid all the bills due next week. I stocked the fridge with bachelor food and beer for my husband. I busted my butt at work so in theory, I won't hear a word from them the entire week. I NEED THE BREAK. I need to not have a schedule, or look at a clock or calendar and wonder where the hell the day went. In fact, my vacation does not have a calendar. Or a watch. As long as I make it to the airport on time on the following Saturday to catch my return flight, we are golden.

Deep the question is posed: Do I remember how to relax?

Friday, September 3, 2010

How It's Supposed To Go, Right?

The other night, I had to bring up the taboo subject in our house: Money. Sigh, the root of all evil. The reason a great deal of marriages fail. The driving force behind horrible arguments.

When my husband and I talk about money it usually goes like this:

Me: "How did you blow through $200 in cash in just 4 days? Are you on drugs?"

Him: "Um....NO. Why would you think that?"

Me: "Well, I pack you lunch everyday. I buy you beer and gatorade and sodas. I buy you snacks. I just don't really see what you are spending that money on unless during your lunch you are sloughing over to GG Park to hit up your dealer."

Him:"Are you serious?"

Me, putting on my saddest face I can muster: "I just hope the crack is worth it. I mean, I am going to have to wrap our son's butt in paper towels since we won't be able to afford diapers soon. Just promise me you won't sell him."

Him: "I don't even know what to say to you right now..."

Ok, so that is a nice version of what I usually say to him. In all seriousness, we have a problem communicating about money. Mostly because I am the one who pays the bills every month and does the shopping, etc. This role was just kind of assumed. He was taking care of financials for businesses, and really, who wants to come home and do the same thing? Plus I am a control freak. So here we have me paying the bills and seeing where every cent we make goes, and him pulling in the $$$ and not knowing anything. Now, this may be a big flashing warning to most of you, but I didn't see how big of a problem this was.

My husband hears me bitch about money all the time. He hears me talk at him about not spending and how he blows too much. And he sees the numbers on his paychecks, and how much time he spends at work. He feels justified in spending money.

And you know, he's right. We do make great money. And we should be able to enjoy it. If we want to spend $146 on a case of car cleaner, we should be able to (guess who made this purchase?). If we want to take a trip, we should be able to. And I shouldn't have to check the bank accounts every monring in fear wondering how much he blew the day before on corn nuts and 5 hour energy drinks.

The other day, the light bulb went on in my head. He needed to see exactly what we paid each month to our credit cards, car payment, insurance, groceries, diapers, cell phone, loans, etc. He needed to see what we owed and to whom. So I pulled it all together. I added things up. I prioritized what I thought should be paid off first, how much we should save. I decided it was time to get on the same page. I couldn't expect him to just automatically go with what I say. I mean, he respects me, but come on. One of the reasons I love him is that he has his own opinions and dreams. And he goes after them. And he expresses them.

When he came home from work, the best thing happened. Well, other than winning the lottery. We sat down and talked like adults. Like married adults with responsibilities. We COMMUNICATED. We both laid it all out and we got on the same page. He talked about how he felt and what he wanted. I talked about how I felt and what I wanted. And we listened. We made decisions and suggestions.

That's how it's supposed to go, right? This is how married people are supposed to communicate? It only took me 5 years to figure out.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Bunny Buddy

For his first Easter, my MIL gave Isaac a big blue bunny. At the time, this bunny was bigger than he was. We gave it to him right away, but he wasn't really interested in it too much besides to chew on it occassionally and to feel the silky fur. We put it into his crib, which he wasn't sleeping in, and it occassionally moved around his room, before ending up back in his crib permanently. Now? He loves it. I mean, he looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooves it. Loves it so much that for months it had a hole in the back from where he had pulled on it repeatedly. Once he got big enough, while he was "supposed" to be sleeping or when he woke up and was waiting to get up, he would yank the stuffing out of the hole and toss it all over the floor aroudn his crib. Oh, the bunny massacres we saw. Last week I finally put more stuffing in and stitched him up. Perfect timing.

Isaac wants the bunny to go EVERYWHERE. He shows me "bun-neee" every morning when I get him up. He cuddles him immediately when he lays down. The pillow in his crib is pointless. He only wants to lay on the blue bunny. And more often than not, bunny has to follow us to breakfast and sits ontop of another chair to watch mickey mouse with him while I get ready. He drags bunny around by his long ears or holds him tight around the middle and toddles around haphazardly because the bunny is still about as long as he is.

Sweetly, sometimes "bun-nee" comes out as "bud-deee." This led us to refer to blue bunny as Bunny Buddy.

Wordless Wednesday