Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Sadie Hawkins 2016

Sadie Hawkins at our high school is a themed girls choice dance. I'm not sure what it is with themed dances...seems like if you are not dressing up formally (as in the case of Homecoming, Christmas and Prom) the attire is a costume of some sort. Halloween is obviously the biggest, over the top costume dance...but both Sweethearts and Sadies are themed dances which have the kids coming up with matching attire of some sort.

The theme for Sadie Hawkins this year was something to do with paradise and travel. Julianne asked Logan to be her date, a boy who she has known since junior high. He's on the track team and is Dart Man, the school mascot. They've been friends since junior high school and though he had asked her out a few times before, she could never go. So this was their first date.

Because Sadies always falls during end of term and other such craziness, I told Julianne I'd go shopping for matching vacation/Hawaiian type shirts. After roaming around Kohls and Target and sending Julianne texts with potential options, I hit the jackpot at Walmart. Stereotypical Hawaiian floral, and cheap. And while I was debating on what size Logan might be, I lucked out again when in walked a few friends of Julianne's, (searching for Sadies shirts themselves), one of whom knew Logan very well and was able to give me sizing advice.

The day activity was an Iron Chef type of evening. The group consisting of 7 or so couples, split into two group at our house, one at another house a few doors down the street. From a jar they randomly chose slips of paper which informed them which main course, side dish and dessert they were to prepare and then they headed to the grocery store. While cooking, the various couples went to the other house and did "commercials"...also randomly picked from strips of paper in a jar. Considering most of them were theatre kids, the commercials were rather creative and hilarious. I enjoyed being a fly on the wall and watching all this craziness unfold. After the cooking was complete, the group at our house headed to the other where the courses were judged and then consumed.

The next night they had their pictures taken over at the nearby train station which went along really well with the travel/paradise sort of theme. Pizza for dinner and some games afterwards bookended the dance. Julianne said the dance got all sorts of crazy and she and Logan did a bunch of moshing in the pit. Julianne likes to dance hard. I think a good time was had by all.

Friday, March 18, 2016


Bryan teaches a lot of computer classes. And don't ask me really what kind because I'm not entirely sure? Operating systems...linux, and you know...stuff. Lots of things, really. He's always writing courseware for new classes to teach. And he teaches all over the place. On-site for some client in another state, in his own local office which includes multiple classrooms to accommodate various class sizes and needs. Or often lately, on-line. Most of the time he teaches these on-line classes with students logging in from all over the country, (or even the world sometimes), at his office. But occasionally he'll have some very strange time zone he has to teach that has him lecturing from 8:00 PM-4:00 AM or something crazy like that. And in those cases, he'll teach from home. But then usually we're asleep during most of it. This week, he's been teaching central time zone. Which means he starts teaching at 7:00 AM our time. Early for sure, but not horribly so. And on Monday he did teach from the office. But then decided that evening, why not teach from home? Class finishes up around 3:00, right when our children are just coming home from the house is pretty quiet.

So the past four days I've had Bryan lecturing from our front computer room/den...while I worked on my own computer, while I cooked, while I did laundry, while I watched The Bachelor finale. (Yes, I watched it. First time ever. Julianne sucked me in to the last few episodes of this season and so help me, I actually got curious enough to see who won. Don't judge...I'm embarrassed enough as it is.) 

While I type this Bryan is sitting next to me at our shared desk lecturing what sounds more or less like greek to me. I don't understand a bit of it. But I tell you what, it's been rather fun to have him home. I've had to be a bit more aware of noise so as to not disrupt his class. Headphones when I watch a video on my computer. Earbuds with my phone when wanting to listen to music while I do chores around the house. Mad dashes for the land line when it rings. Going into another room if I'm making a phone call. Worries about how loud the disposal, mixer, microwave, or vacuum might be. (Realistically, Bryan says none of those have been an issue. Well...I haven't actually tried the vacuum. My guess is that probably would be a bit of a noisy problem.) But overall, it's been a really good week.

I hope he decides to teach from home again soon....

Friday, March 11, 2016

Penelope: The Perfect Purple People Eater

Julianne had to write a little children's story for one of her classes. I can't even remember which one. English/Lit? Communications? Children's Theatre? It was meant to be an illustrated story with a moral. And Julianne spent a lot of time bouncing ideas off Bryan and me the evening she was doing the assignment so we were highly interested in seeing the end result. She was up till nearly 3:00 AM finishing up the illustrations. But the alliteration and fun take on the traditional Purple People Eater song lyrics made me laugh.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Vegas on the annual

Las Vegas. It's an annual trip at this point. And I always look forward to it because Vegas is just really unique, you know? It's always first and foremost gymnastics related but the trip was a bit different this year. The Black Jack Invitational was held in a different venue in the north end of town...the older, more historic part of downtown Vegas. So we ended up booking a hotel right near Fremont Street. And for the first time ever, we didn't even step foot on The Strip...choosing to spend any down time on or around Fremont Street. And Fremont Street is...well, interesting. I definitely enjoyed exploring this new (to me) area of Vegas and people watching and the cool light shows that play on the ceiling of the street, etc. But who would've guessed that Fremont Street would make The Strip seem classy and high end? (Brandon and Lilian were somewhat scandalized at the clothing choices, or lack of, that some of the showgirls who were out and about taking pictures with people were wearing...or not wearing, I should say.)

And the fact that we were so close to Fremont Street meant that though our hotel was extremely nice, it was also very loud. They actually leave earplugs on your pillow rather than chocolate. The bands playing down below on the street were loud enough that it wasn't just nebulous musical noise...I could tell each song they were singing and hear the lyrics well enough to sing along from in my room up on the 8th floor if I wanted. Luckily (and kind of surprisingly) we were all able to fall asleep easily both nights despite the rock concerts below. Maybe we were just really tired.

One morning we visited the Neon Boneyard...a museum dedicated to showcasing old Vegas casino signs that had been retired. We had a tour guide who took us around and told us where each sign came from and a lot of the history behind not only the signs but what was going on in Vegas during the times the specific signs were in their hey day. I found it completely fascinating. Plus, the signs were amazing!

It was Rebekah's "hump day" on her mission. Nine months down, nine months to go. So when we found this camel sign from the Sahara Casino we knew we had to take a picture and email it to Rebekah.

But gymnastics...that's what we were there for, right? We went to the Winter Cup Saturday night with the rest of the team and watched some seriously awesome gymnastics...including Olympian Sam Mikulak doing the coolest P-Bars routine I think I've ever seen. (He actually won the meet.)

The next morning early we watched Brandon and the rest of his level 9 teammates compete in their Black Jack Invitational. Black Jack is always a fun meet...even if this year it wasn't Brandon's personal best. Watching him always blows my mind...the things that kid can do! And USA Gymnastics World did take 1st place as a team and that was an exciting surprise at this big, national meet.

After the meet a group of us headed to California Pizza Kitchen for lunch...a yearly Vegas tradition, don't ask me why. And then Brandon, Lilian and I began our long drive back. Till next year, Las Vegas!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

In like a lion and out like a lamb

March is supposed to go in like a lion and out like a lamb. Speaking weather-wise, heading into the month all gruff and blustery, and ending calm and warm...going from winter to spring. For some reason I've always thought that the saying was kind of like a prediction of sorts, similar to Groundhog Day. If the groundhog doesn't see his shadow, spring comes early...if he does, we have 6 more weeks of winter. If March starts with cold, stormy weather we are assured a nice entrance into spring a few weeks later...if the month begins warm and sunny then chances are by the end of March we're dealing with late snow storms. But maybe that's just me. And if that is true then we are kind of in trouble because yesterday was a pretty beautiful day.

But for some reason this year the whole thought of "going in like a lion and out like a lamb" came to mind at the New Year. 2015 was hard. One of the hardest years I've had to deal with. And though I knew that with the arrival of 2016 those hard things wouldn't just end, I had hope that things would get better. That mentally and emotionally I could get a better grip on the issues I was dealing with. Goals and changes. Hope and optimism.

But then New Years Eve I had a miserable cold. Our friends who normally celebrate the big night with us, had to cancel and I spent the evening playing cards with my eight-year old. I woke up in the middle of the night with horrible stomach cramps and diarrhea (possibly due to the junk food I'd eaten in celebration) and kept company with the toilet for multiple long hours. Which then meant that I was completely exhausted when we headed over to my in-laws house for a family party later in the day. And I couldn't help thinking, is this a sign? That things going to continue to be crap (yes, intentional) through 2016 as well?

But then I thought of this expression and wondered...if my new year comes in like a lion, maybe that means it will go out like a lamb? I know that it is just a saying and not truly an official prediction. And that how my year goes, has more to do with me and how I handle the things that come my way more than living by this silly adage. Still, what if?