Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Part 1

It was a very good year.  It's hard to choose my very favorite moments. Here are a few:

This about covers the first half of the year. Look for part 2 to come!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Moves like Jagger

I had a fantastic Christmas. I have a ridiculously generous family, who showered me with gifts like new cold weather running tights which I enjoyed on yesterday's run, beautiful new boots, plenty of reading material for my off time and not one but two bottles of my favorite lotion which is only available at the local artists' Christmas store once per year. Thank you, thank you!

While I love all my gifts, the ones I'm having the most fun with so far are my not one but two copies of "Just Dance 4." For the second year in a row my husband and my mother got me the same gift. Last year it was identical boots, this year, identical dance games. Does this make it a tradition?  Anyway, I have one for the PlayStation 3 from Sean, complete with the "Move" and two fancy new controllers. Mom went all out and got me an XBox and the new game to go with it. Yes, as I mentioned before I have a ridiculously generous family.  I've been enjoying doing a compare and contrast between the two systems and there are things I like about both.

What I'm loving the most with both is the fun I'm having playing and getting a good workout at the same time. Do I have the Moves like Jagger? Officially, no. But I'm having a blast and even Sean is currently playing with me and he's getting pretty darn good too.

Who says you can't teach old dogs new tricks! 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

 It's that time of year again where we all gather together for delicious food, friendship, family and celebration. Here are a few images from Chowder Fest 2012 and Christmas morning. I feel exceptionally lucky to call myself a member of this clan. Merry Christmas to all!

May 2013 bring as much joy as 2012 has to this family.  Cheers!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Reflection on Madness

This morning I awoke to a blanket of snow giving our world pause to stop and reflect on the chaos that seems to have overtaken all that used to be safe harbor.  The all holiday movie channels focus on the hope of the season, while the real time news blares the loss of hope. Sides are taken, lines are drawn, the talking heads spout madness about why everyone is wrong regardless of position. I want to scream for all of them to just stop talking for the sake of talking and listen. Pause and reflect on the madness. I've had to ask my husband not to watch the news before I go to work. It clouds my purpose and heavies my heart in a way I can't take to the job with me. It's not what the kids need and it's not what I need. They need to know they are safe, they need to feel normal and protected and I can't demonstrate that when I'm thinking of the news. I have spent the past several days planning window coverings and the best places in the room for hiding. I have moved furniture for easy access to block entryways. I have devised a Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C. I don't think I'll stop preparing, even if I get to Plan Z. I will never stop prepping until I know the threat is gone forever.

You see, I am one of the people who dedicate their lives to teaching your children. I don't have children of my own, but even if I did, I couldn't be any more dedicated to the students in my care. I celebrate their victories, I mourn their losses and I spend my days giving them my all. And yes, just like those dear teachers in Newtown, I would do anything to protect them. You see, that is what we do. We dedicate our lives to these children, to our children, for the betterment of society. We do this because we want the children of today to have the same opportunities for greatness that we all had. That is my wish, my hope, my dream for your/our kids.

However, things are changing. Kids are being forced to grow up too fast. Time that used to be spent with friends and family sharing ideas is spent playing violent video games, far to advanced and real for them to understand the true desensitizing scope of normalcy they are portraying. Video games are not real, but I'm not sure that the kids understand that anymore and it scares me.  Please parents, monitor their games and their screen time. Shut off the tv and open the lines of communication instead.  Send them outside in the fresh air to play. Encourage them to use their imaginations.

Artificial relationship built in space are becoming the norm. "Friends" are made online. What is an online friend anyway and why are kids allowed to even be there? The online world is just one more way for kids to grow up too quickly. Cruel words, threats, artificial alliances, all cloud the judgement of already vulnerable minds. Words are quickly typed out and whether intended or not can leave scars or open doors that can't be undone. Please parents, know where your kids are online and what they are doing. Monitor who they talk to and limit they can go.

We all need to take the time in this life to pay attention to each other, to protect each other from harms way and to value each other. Let's stop pointing fingers and rather come together in rational thought and words to figure out how to make this world a safe place for all of us. I will continue to do my part to educate our future to be independent thinkers, problem solvers and caring citizens of this great nation. I will protect them with all that I have so that they have the opportunities to be all they can. There is no greater gift than to have made a difference in the life of a child.

Today as I taught a lesson to my current 5th graders I was stopped in my tracks as a stranger walked into my class. He had a visitor's badge on and a friendly smile and it only took me a moment to recognize the former 4th grader who hated school, who had to be coaxed out of bed each morning by his mother with bribes and promises for good report days. I remember asking his parents at open house that year where his "off" switch was, to which they chuckled, "if you find it, let us know." That boy is now 16 years old and he had to go to two different schools in town to find me today. I can't tell you how happy I was that he did. You see, for me, he is the one. There may be others, I may never know, but he is the one whom I believed in even when he didn't believe in himself. That's what he came back to tell me today. He wanted me to know that he was doing well and that I was the best teacher he ever had.  Did I teach him great facts? No, but I taught him he is a great person. That knowledge is what will take him far. I hope I see him again. It is now he who has taught me to believe again. To believe in the hope for the possibility that we can make a difference and that the events of last Friday will never happen again.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Will Run for Hot Cocoa!

What happens when your husband casually mentions to you one day last week that he noticed on his bus ride home (GO GREEN TEAM ROSS) there was an Ugly Sweater run in town? Well, you jump on your computer and research it so that you can be involved in the glorious spectacle of course!

Which is exactly what I did. Unfortunately neither Sean nor I have actual sweaters, but we do have some pretty hideous christmas vests from last year's Chowder Fest. Annie however demanded that she have an actual sweater for the event. Since she is a Montosorri child, we indulged her. Rescue dog's need their self esteem!

What we weren't anticipating was the 35 degree temperature and attempts to snow this morning as we lined up. However, it was such a great event with so many happy folks out to support a local charity that we couldn't possibly change our plans. We are die hard Oregonians after all. We lined up with the other sweater, pj and Christmas bag clad misfits and headed out on one of the most fun spirited 5k's I've done in a long time!

Sean of course won then entire event, big fat shocker there, and Melinda and I came in 3rd and 4th over all.  Annie continued in her father's footsteps finishing as first dog. She of course thanked me in her acceptance speech, after all she couldn't have done it without me. I've raised her well.

Here's the pictures if you need the proof.

Cheers All!

This could have been our Christmas Card!

The original Triple Bunnies Reunited

Monday, December 10, 2012

Mission Accomplished

I made it to the sign! I've been to Las Vegas seven times, but this is the first time I've ever actually gotten to the sign. Ironically, I was here 3 different times this trip, but that's cause we drove out the first night and then we ran past it during the race as well. 

After months of training, Melinda and I (with Dan and Sean in tow), were ready for the big half. We had some great fun staying with the Croft relatives for some generous hospitality. We hit the expo first where we wandered through miles of swag and the latest gadgets as far as the eye could see. Never being ones to turn down a photo op, we gave Sean the primo armpit placement.

Next, carbo loading and some tourist time.

Then before we knew it, race day was upon us! Looking good Team Triple Bunnies!
Here's the before of the entire motley crew.

Gosh, no, we aren't Nike sponsored athletes, but thanks for asking.

The race itself was much more challenging than I had anticipated. Running in a sea of 25,000 people requires one to pay more attention to their feet, road conditions and close proximity runners, and less attention to the strip at night than I had hoped. The constant wind of 25 mph followed by gusts of at least 30-40mph was less than ideal, as was the cramping in my foot I had the pleasure of battling from mile 8 on. However, the atmosphere more than made up for it. The energy of the bystanders, runners, bands and the event itself more than carried me through. Plus, let's give props where they truly belong. Melinda is the real reason I made it through. That girl can push, drag and insult me through anything. I love ya with all my heart and I'm ready to do this thing again my friend! Thanks, as always, for you!

Our secret strategy of the night was counting Elvis road kills. Every time we passed an Elvis, we'd high-five and get a little bit of his Elvis soul to carry us through the crazy, windy night. They seemed to travel in pairs and we ended up with a cool dozen Elvis' to put some marshmallow fluff in our step. We finished, not quite meeting our goal time but pretty darn pleased with how we did given the conditions!

We rounded the night off with some well earned SWAG and some pretty cool hardware was sported by all.  It was tough and so were we. Vegas baby! There is nothing else quite like it.