Wednesday, June 25, 2008

This is for Curtis

Curtis, Austin and Laurel
Sing by the Sea tour...1994
We've been looking for this picture for a while now. Tamila, our family record keeper found it tonight. 14 years have gone by in a flash!

The Lazy Days of Summer? Nope.

Oh how I long for the relaxed days of the school year when my schedule didn't look like this:

  • 7:15 am... Take Austin to School/Baseball
  • 7:45 am... Take Tamila to School
  • 12:15 pm... Pick Tamila up from School
  • 12:30 pm... Pick Austin up from School/Baseball
  • 1:45 pm... Take Austin back to Baseball
  • 4:00 pm... Pick Austin up from Baseball
  • 5:15 pm... Take Austin back to Baseball
  • 7:30 pm... Pick Austin up from Baseball

To top of yesterday's madness there was a dental appointment for Austin at 1 pm. Four fillings later and a very numb mouth he showed up at his second practice 30 minutes late. Then he was up until midnight doing homework. Never mind his fatigue status...what about mine?

Seriously...I can't wait until school starts again to slow down this madness.

(P.S. Note: Tamila is in Beginning and Advanced band this summer while Austin is taking his Freshman health now as well as two baseball camps for highschool along with his usual travel team practice schedule. How's that for a run-on sentence?)

--Laurel...AKA The Chauffeur

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Canada, eh

This is Gab and Shane at the labs for Ross Switching in Ottawa, CA. Gab speaks five languages and has been in the video business as a TD for 28 years. He definitely knows his stuff. I was proud of myself for keeping up with the conversation most of the day. It was about 3 before I started getting a little lost as the discussion turned to a "keyer on the aux". To some that may sound simple, but it got pretty complicated pretty quick.

Shane and I arrived at LAX yesterday at 7:30am (Thanks CT). We finally made it through TSA and boarded our plane at about 9:40am. Because of a mechanical delay we were told at 11 am that the crew was going to go get lunch and we should do the same. They would decide at 12:30 what to do about the flight.

During that time, Shane on his phone, while in the line for customer, able to get us transferred from our United flight to one on Air Canada. We walked very quickly from Terminal 7 at LAX to terminal 2. We had to recheck in and then go through TSA all over again. We made it in less than an hour and were able to board the flight headed for Montreal. The time was 1:00 pm.

We made it to Montreal and then into Ottawa without any other issues, arriving at about 10:45 pm local time. We went to get the rental car and found out that our rental car location closed at 10:00 pm. Thanks to the nice man at Budget we secured a vehicle and made it to our hotel, the Brookstreet, where we checked in and then went to find food at about midnight. We ate at a place called Tim Horton's. Donuts and Milk. . . what a healthy blessing.

We then returned to our hotel and slept before going to training this morning. Oh yeah, our luggage was here when we returned back from training today. That's right, our luggage did not make it with us, so with an Air Canada overnight bag to freshen up with, we wore the same clothes for the second day in a row. We are now wearing clean clothes and are enjoying having our luggage.

From Canada, good night.


Monday, June 23, 2008

The Cement Bench

Behold the cement bench. The culmination of my frustration with the craziness that is the end of the school year. How did it get this dubious honor? Let me tell you...

As soon as May hit so did the end of the school year madness. Never mind the fact that school still had 6 weeks to go, the parties and end of the year celebrations rolled into full gear. I was influxed with masses of permission slips for field trips and reminders for parties. There were trips to Yosemite, Knott's Berry Farm, Disneyland, the Beach, UCI, and bowling to name a few. Picnics, field days, bike days and surprise after school hours parties for creepy volunteers who spent their whole year in the classroom...devoted to knowing everything about you and your kid. (Okay, fine--not all volunteers, just the one in my son's room who knew me all to well for having met him only once. To top it off he volunteered to drive my kid to a birthday party. I firmly said "No." *Shiver* I digress.)

Not only did I sign for these trips, but I also paid for them. I also paid for teacher appreciation gifts and other assorted the tune of about $700. Public education? Free? I don't think so! Granted these were all great things and wonderful experiences for my kids--but my mid 30'ish brain fog struggles to remember anything so crazy from when I was a kid. We went on field historical sites. Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm weren't on the menu. Neither were the astronomical fees.

Which brings me to the bench.

I thought I had finally made it through to the end of the year with my reputation as a good parent intact and my child's image untarnished.

Until I read the paper that was crumpled up in the bottom of his backpack...found 4 days after the last day of school. It was a note asking for an "optional donation of $10, $15, $20 or more" to pay for a teacher's gift that had already been made and purchased.

The gift?


What the ????????

I was incredulous as I read it. I couldn't believe my eyes. Someone had the audacity to go out and purchase a cement bench to the tune of $220 and was now asking everyone to pitch in and pay for it. The letter talked about how we all new of the wonderful bench and the amazing volunteers who had been caring for it since it's purchase. (I'm not really did say that!) Honestly, this was the first time I had heard of the glorious gift's existence. The words dripped sweetly off the paper describing how the kids had tenderly and carefully made commemerative tiles that were grouted to it. (Gag!)

So now, I'm a deadbeat parent who doesn't chip on ridiculous teacher's gifts. My child is to be looked upon in pity. I, myself, am severely frustrated about how out of control this whole end of the year thing is getting. The emotional, physical and financial costs are getting more out of hand every year.

Next year, count me in for the standard field trips. I will dutifully attend all of the end of year parties and picnics that take place during school time. However, I will not be paying for any cement benches.


Sunday, June 22, 2008

A New Post. . .Finally

I am finishing up my packing as I prepare to fly to Ottawa, Canada tomorrow. One of our new products at the church is a switcher made by Ross. Shane and I are leaving in the morning to be trained at their headquarters in Ottawa.

My kids Austin, Tamila and Aaron rode their bikes to the Accetta's this afternoon. That is about five miles from our house. I was very proud of all of them, especially Aaron. He is only seven and did a great job. Austin led the way, Aaron followed and Tamila brought up the rear.

Aaron lost a tooth this week.

Tamila began summer band. She is playing the flute in advanced band this summer as well as learning to play the Tenor Sax in beginner band. She will march in the 4th of July parade with her middle school band.

Travis wants to grow his hair out again and told me I could take food on the plane, but I could not make a mess. He is also "swimming" underwater now.

Austin starts summer school tomorrow. He is taking a Health class in the morning and then has summer baseball camp at the high school.

Laurel is still my loving, beautiful, supporting wife who keeps tabs of us all in a way that only she can.

Stay cool in So Cal.


Monday, June 16, 2008

My Favorite of the Week

I found this photo last week and it just made me smile. Hopefully it makes you smile too!

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Graduation in 4 Minutes

The 8th graders at Marine View Middle School were asked to write an essay or poem reflecting on their time in Junior High. Austin's was selected to be presented at their commencement. He did a wonderful job, speaking very confidently. Thanks to him for wearing a concealed microphone. That made my audio so much better. His friends did think that he was "wearing a wire" was pretty cool.

You can also see and hear him receive his diploma and a couple of other short speeches. I left the last clip, because as always he is quick to take his cue to exit and make sure the kid behind him is following.

Sorry it took a couple of days. I had some technical difficulties.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Graduates

Austin and Christine have been friends since they were both in diapers. Along the way they've shared alot of similarities: Grandpa's who argued together over Sierra Christian Service Camp, both were/are catcher's for their baseball and softball teams, a love for politics and having to deal daily with a large group of siblings.
Now they can add graduation speaker to their long resumes.
We're proud of them both--congrats you two!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Growth at the Plate

Saturday was the last day of Aaron's Little League season. I was seriously surprised when he expressed sadness over the end of what seemed to be the neverending season of 2 hour long mind numbing games. (At this level of play everything moves in extreme slow motion.) There were times when I watched him in the outfield and marveled at the fact that he hadn't passed out in boredom. I was close to that just by watching! He also started out the season throwing the ball in a high rainbow like arc that would drop 10 feet short of its goal...therefore, his coach nicknamed him "Rainbow", a name that stuck till the end. (Personally, I never appreciated the nickname...but he didn't mind. I love innocence!)

By the the end of the season that rainbow-arc and lack of distance were things of the past. The kid developed the skills to flatten his throw and reach his goal. Batting was up and down, but he learned how to take a pitch and wait a pitcher out. More often an not this waiting led to him being hit by the pitch, but he learned to take it like a man. In fact his last game he took one off the wrist and chirpped out "I'm alright!" and ran down to first. Keep in mind this is the kid that has this incredible verge of death scream that comes out when he gets a paper cut. That alone was a massive improvement.

So, I guess what I'm saying is this: for all of it's pain, long suffering and extreme boredom, this Little League season helped my son grow emotionally more than ever keeping him home and comfortable would ever do. It was more important than getting hits or getting the out everytime. We're all proud of him.


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Zach and the Boys

This one is for Zach.  Memorial Day found us in Murrieta, CA.  While Austin was warming up between games Travis, Aaron and Zach Gibson hung out at the park.  I don't know who had more fun Zach or the boys.

Zach, thanks for coming to the game.  Austin's team lost the second game and I am glad you were not there.  If you had been, I know you would have yelled at the umps for their interpretation of rules.


Monday, June 2, 2008

Travis' Magic Whistle

Travis was a good boy last week at Target and got a "Magic Whistle" just like this one as a reward. He generously shared it with Haley. Apparently he was more that just generous with the whistle...he was generous with his germs too. The day he shared it with her he came down with lovely case of strep-like crud. Now Haley has come down with it too. Oops.

So much for sharing.

Haley, we hope you feel better soon!

(Side note: Even though it came back negative for strep...the Zithromax has knocked out the nasty bug. Also, it seems as though Tamila is working on her own case of it. What fun! Anyone else want to use the magic whistle?)

(Side note #2: Get yer' minds out of the gutter people!)