Sunday, March 31, 2013

Charter School of Morgan Hill

  I have wanted to get Vander into the Charter school since I first discovered it three years ago. It has smaller class sizes, more project-based learning, higher test scores, more rounded education- including Spanish starting in Kindergarten, art, p.e., and agriculture. They also have higher test scores and require 40 hours of parent participation per year. It is run the way educators would run a school and not just by politicians. Mostly, Van will be surrounded by kids who have parents who actively care about education and it goes from Kinder through 8th grade, which is my very favorite part about it. I will obviously know more details after Van attends in the fall.
  Did I mention Vander got in!!! I have been trying to save my luck for the last year. I know that sounds silly, but I wanted to save up my luck to get Vander into the charter school. It was decided by lottery...here's the story.
  There were 59 spots for Kindergarten in the Fall. 22 spots were taken by siblings (siblings are guaranteed a spot- yay for Ollie!) So, that left us 37 chances to get in...there were 136 applications from inside the district (3 were twins, but they decided to keep them together). So, odds of getting in were 21%. Vander's name was called 16th!!! (This is Justin and my lucky number as a couple. It has been since we have known each other- we were both born on the 16th and always joke about lucky red 16, well it came through for us again). I am thrilled! My sons are going to get a fantastic elementary and middle school education! Now, I just have to get a job there in a couple years...wish me luck!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Colorado trip with my brothers


   It all started when I was talking to Colby on the phone in November and he said it would really mean a lot to him if Freddy and I could both come visit him in Denver at the same time. The three of us have not been in the same place at the same time in several years. I figured it out with Freddy to both arrive and depart at the same time in Denver. Colby was supposed to get the days off of work, but as the time approached Colby seemed to be working more and more. Thankfully in the end he only ended up working Thursday and Friday and got the rest of the days off to hang out with us.
   Thursday we both arrived in Denver at 5:30pm. Ryan, Freddy's best friend, said he would pick us up at the airport, but as luck with have it one of Freddy's coworkers just happened to be on the same flight coming out to visit his friend. So, Freddy's coworker,  Dave, and his buddy drive us to Ryan and LJ's (Ryan's fiance) house. We hung out with them and went to dinner at Mead street. They went to bed early as they had work in the morning so Freddy and I went out to find live music, but it had been canceled, so I had a hot chocolate and he had a beer before heading back.
  On Friday, Freddie and I went to Rise and Shine biscuits for breakfast (a southern biscuit shop and Ryan's favorite) and Zurie cafe for coffee. I got a hazelnut steamer that tasted like a marshmallow dream. Then we walked down town from Ryan and LJs neighborhood ~2.5miles. I wore all of my snow gear and look like I belonged at a ski resort...everyone enjoyed this and it provided the locals with a few good laughs. By happenstance we ran into Dave a his friend on the edge of downtown and the they pointed out the nearest brewery, the Denver Brewing Company. We started our beer tour there. We were entertained with one flight of beer and a good photo shoot with handsome Woody with his rugged good looks and bright blue eyes (as he ate a Philly cheese steak we took photos with Freddy). Wynkoop was our next destination. We shared a flight and had a yummy buffalo burger. We enjoyed lively conversation about why dehydration happens in Denver, Freddy decided he was a genius, and we enjoyed "the view".(there was no view) WWJB- what would Jesus brew?
  Next we went to Breckenridge Brewery for another flight. I checked in to facebook to tease Colby. ~ At Breckenridge Brewery waiting for Colby. The next brewery, The Great Divide, was deemed Adult Disneyland by Freddy until we tasted the beer. 5 were horrible and one was not good. So, we roshamboed to decide who drank what. Freddy definitely lost both times. It was really crowded so we thought it would be excellent, but we were not impressed. I put my jacket on the sink in the bathroom and it got soaking wet. Good thing it's so dry in Denver. It started snowing. A homeless man heard Freddy saying that it looked like he was trying to kiss a man. (he was referring to the pictures with Woody. He claimed he was okay with it as long as Freddy wasn't going to try and kiss him. Colby met up with us and went to River North for the last flight of the day. We headed back to Ryan and LJ's. Caleb joined us and we had hot wings for dinner. Everyone but me played Shots and Ladders. I really enjoyed the snow.
  Saturday morning we woke up to 8 3/4in of snow. We had a breakfast of biscuits, which lead us out into the snow to make Snowderella, her prince, and everyone's favorite, the brick dog. We enjoyed hours of brick making fun. Freddy wore bags over his shoes to keep them dry. We all laughed, but it seemed to work. We had a Tim Tam slam with hot cocoa and the Tim Tams I brought with me. We first found them in Fiji and have enjoyed them ever since. We sat down and chatted and had some chips. Colby was quite bummed to have missed lunch.. Soon after we sang happy birthday to Ryan and had pie. We also learned that all of us but Ryan could triple curl our tongues. We took some clean-up time for showers and make-up then reconvened and played drinking games. We enjoyed Irish poker, Kings cup, and a rousing game of shoulders.
We then headed out to dinner at a New Mexican food place. I was feeling quite silly by that time. Freddy and Colby decided it was a good idea to take shots of beer with hot sauce. I enjoyed some delicious rellenos. Before we left I was determined to get a group picture at the table outside covered in snow. I ended up falling on my behind, but it was pretty funny and a lot of snow was thrown. Afterwards, we headed to 3 Dogs for beer and jenga. Hilarity ensued as each Jenga piece had a dare on it. We really did have a blast. I ended up loosing Jenga the first two times we played, which meant chugging a beer. We went back to Ryan and LJ's for bed and chatting, and in my case, lots of water drinking.
  Sunday morning, you'll never guess it...we went out for biscuits. They really were very good. I convinced the boys to go to Snooze for breakfast. Colby, Justin and I went last year in Denver. It was so good. 1 1/2 hour wait and TOTALLY worth it. The atmosphere is great and the food is top notch. We got to walk downtown in the mean time and got some coffee. They texted us a 10min. warning, so it worked out nicely. While in front of Snooze a homeless man walked up behind Freddy. Colby saw him, but Freddy and I did not. When Freddy realized he was there he jumped, needless to say I freaked out and jumped and screamed. Nobody even seemed to take notice. The homeless man waited for me to calm down and asked for a smoke.
  After a fabulous brunch at 1pm, we headed out to Boulder. We rented a hotel room called the Roadway Inn, which was only $45! It looked like it was really nice in the 70s and then nobody remodeled anything since then. We all really liked it. Colby thinks if they called it Retro they could be really popular. We checked in, stopped by Sprouts and then headed down town. We walked around for a while, enjoyed the mall and little shops, then stopped for a flight at a brewery. Colby had an allergic reaction to the beer he ordered. We all just spent time together enjoying each others company for a while and then headed out. The guys decided they wanted Little Ceasars and beer for dinner. Thank you modern technology, we were able to find both via my I phone. Freddy was very impressed by the size of the liquor store. We watched friends, at pizza, and the boys enjoyed their mystery beer.
  Monday morning we got up just in time to enjoy the included continental breakfast at our hotel. We checked out after catching up on some episodes of Full House. We decided to head out to the Celestial Tea Factory for a tour. Colby and I went before and really enjoyed it. It was even better this time because last time the machinery wasn't on because it was the weekend, so we enjoyed it even more this time since it was on. They let you taste every type of tea they make, which is over 100, and as many as you want, so Freddy and I really enjoyed that. I really liked the tummy mint tea. When we were done touring the boys went out and started rolling snow. Well, that project turned into a snow bear, which we affectionately decided was the sleepy time tea snow bear. He was pretty cute and all the patrons and workers admired our handy work.
  We headed back to Denver and convinced Ryan that we needed a big hill to roll snow down, he took us to a nearby lake, and we rolled snow for a couple hours. We also did some jumping and Freddy wanted to make a giant ball of snow to float into the lake like a glacier. We had a really good time. The only down side was all the goose poop...Colby headed home and Ryan drove Freddy and I to the airport. Both of our flights were delayed. Freddy came to wait with my since my flight was first. We were both exhausted and ready to go home and sleep. We had a fun-filled extended weekend, but I missed my boy and couldn't wait to get home to them.I tried to see Drake, Ashley, Kyle and Krista while in Denver, but they were too busy.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Tahoe with friends

   Wow! What a fun weekend...Friday morning we headed up to South Lake Tahoe to play in the snow with friends. We went with the Kurtze family (Arielle, Jerry, Sabrina, and Maddie) and the Walter family (Casey, Jason, Addison, and Jake). Arielle and Casey are two of my closest friends and my boys are very much infatuated with Sabrina and Maddie. We rented a four bedroom cabin for a good price. We met the Kurtze family in Folsom at the Mc Donalds for lunch and to let the kids play on the play structure.We went downtown when we got to Tahoe to order a giant cookie with all the kids names on it. They loved it!
  Saturday morning the elves had arrived for St. Patricks day. They left gold coins all over the house and green streamers. They even turned our chocolate chip pancakes and our milk green! After breakfast we found a fun sledding hill, which was perfect for little kids. It was about a 15 minute drive from where we were staying. Vander really loved it and sled down the slopes at least 11 times. Ollie went down with his daddy the first time and they biffed it. Oliven got road rash on his face and decided sledding hurt too much. He went down one more time with me, and was done. We had a good time building little snowmen- one per family. Oliven affectionately named ours Snow Ollie- so cute. We made snow angels and snow castles with sand toys. As we were eating lunch Oliven fell asleep on top of his sandwich and chips...I guess he was a little tired...so, Justin took him inside and let him sleep on his lap which Van and I continued to sled. Did I mention it was 60 degrees and sunny out? What great weather! After 3 or so runs I went to switch with Justin holding Ollie so he could sled some more.

   We headed back to the cabin and after eating the giant cookie all the kids got into the hot tub with Jason and me. It was a little chaotic, but they really enjoyed themselves. The 2 year-olds were out pretty quick, but the 4 year-olds were having a blast. The kids watched a movie for a while and did a fruitloop rainbow craft. After that we headed out for the disaster that was a pizza dinner. The kids were ALL cranky and tired. Ollie spilled water on himself, so we put Maddie's extra pants on him...he did NOT like that and he made sure we knew all through dinner. Vander went over to the Kurtze table and after Sabrina had gotten her second hot cocoa (she spilled the first) Vander poured Oregano into the new mug, so one more hot cocoa coming up. We couldn't wait to get the kids in bed that night! When the kids were finally asleep (ours went down easy, but the Walter kids took another 2 hours because they don't both sleep in the dark) we played 25 words or less and headed out the the hot tub with Casey and Jason.
   In the morning we cleaned up and went to a local hippy restaurant called Sprouts. There was nothing on the menu Justin would eat, so he and the boys had a bagel from the bagel shop a couple doors down. I tried to order a burrito and they brought a burger then tried to argue with me on what I ordered. I am so NOT going back there. We attempted a group photo and headed home.
  Instead of going straight to our house we stopped by the grocery store to grab some pot luck items and fruit for the boys. We went to Apex Gymnastics. The Almaden Las Madres group rented out the whole gym with an instructor for a couple hours. The kids had a blast. It was really really fun and almost the whole group was there. Van and Ollie really enjoyed playing with Zade.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Cookbook club weekend


   I spent the weekend with a great group of women. We had an excellent time, cooked a ton of food, and enjoyed each others company. Polly, Nancy, Karin, Hannah and I went to Truckee to stay in Karin's family cabin and enjoy a cookbook club weekend. We tried lots of new recipes and shared some favorites. Polly is a really good cook, she is the person that I hope to cook like as my goal. Only the best recipes should be kept...nothing mediocre will make the cut. I feel like I learn so much from these ladies and this weekend I definitely stepped out of my comfort zone...primarily with the pork because Justin is really the protein cook in our house hold. He does such a good job that it's hardly worth taking that job away from him, but it's good for me to have some skills in that area too.
  We started the weekend with an Italian meal, we had doughnuts for breakfast- each of us tried a recipe. I made lemon doughnuts with lemon glaze that were lemon filled. They were super delicious- I will absolutely be making those again. I'm thinking jelly filled would be good for Hanukkah. We had a food throwdown with pork, fennel and dates. Nancy and I made dates stuffed with cheese, bacon, and basil- yum, a pork sauce of dates and shallots-delish, and baked fennel with parmesan cheese. It was overall a very good meal with apple date turnovers. We also each made a pie. I made banoffee pie- soooo good, but it took 53 minutes of diligent stirring over medium heat.
   I was also in charge of sides for lunch: green beans with shallot, quinoa salad, and coleslaw salsa were a good mix with the homemade spice rubs (we made 12) that we put on chicken tenders to try. We also played some games, watched a movie and took a field trip to the two story cooking store down town. I also got in 4 hours in a row of quality time with Hannah on the drive back which was really nice.
  Meanwhile, the boys had a good time with their dad. They went to the library, celebrated two birthdays, including Mitch's, and watched lots of movies. Van ended up getting sick.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Oh Crap; Broken shoes

"Oh crap." I may have said that in front of the kids and they may both be saying it now...oops. Vander has been saying, "oh, crap...AWKWARD." I don't think he fully understands what he is saying, but it's pretty hilarious.
  The other night Ollie was trying to crawl with his night shoes on, as he often does and then he decided to try to walk in them.  "Snap!" "Oh, crap!" Ollie broke his shoes. The plastic piece in the middle snapped. Of course this happened on Saturday, so we couldn't get an appointment until Tuesday morning at 8am- hello tons of traffic...now it will be another 3 days or so to get them fixed and I don't know how long to get new ones since Ollie's feet have outgrown these ones. Oh well...so be it. I just know it's going to be a battle when we have to put them on him again...for a whole nother year! Bleh.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Dinner group

  Yummy yummy dinner group...Justin and I decided to go all out this month with authentic Mexican cuisine. It was well worth it. We made a salmon ceviche (that we thought rivaled the one we had with Bobby Busch- and that is saying something)!!! Along with that were garlic shrimp and the most delicious guacamole that I have ever tasted- peach and tomatillo guac. We all agreed that we could eat that by the spoonful. I love it when you try something and put a lot of effort into it and it really pays off. We had beignets for dessert with an apple, cinnamon and sugar compote. Good food with good friends, always a winning combination.

Las Madres Luncheon and Ava's bday party

   We had fun on Sunday...I attended the Las Madres luncheon for the fourth time. I didn't win anything this year, but that is okay because I am trying to save up all my luck for the Charter School lottery this month...keep your fingers crossed. This year's theme was breakfast at Tiffany's. Little black dresses were a must. It was fun, but it would have been better if all my friends sat together. I sat with Hannah at the exec table, but most of the execs were working the event. Carrie and I decided to walk to the lightrail and take that to the event this year. It was fun and gave me extra chatting time.
   After the kids got up from quiet time we headed over to Ava's house for her fourth birthday party. They had a bounce house in the backyard and the kids just couldn't get enough.