Saturday, December 7, 2013

Birthday Girl Questions - Age 5

Last year I started asking the kids a series of 20 questions on their birthday and will attempt to keep the tradition alive every year.

It was amusing to see what had changed and, perhaps more remarkably, what stayed the same.

Here are Sissy's anwers.

1. What is your favorite color?  Pink (no change)
2. What is your favorite toy?   A doll... my Rapunzel doll, the little one (no change)
3. What is your favorite fruit?   Those cutie things (last year: melon)
4. What is your favorite tv show?   Olivia (last year: My Little Pony)
5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch?   Turkey and cheese sandwich (last year: macaroni and cheese)
6. What is your favorite outfit?   The cupcake shirt and the long skirt with my leggings (last year: owl shirt. Note: the long skirt I actually made her and she would wear it every day if we let her).
7. What is your favorite game?   Twister and the Olivia LeapPad game (last year: Tangled LeapPad game)
8. What is your favorite snack?  Tortilla chips (last year: apple)
9. What is your favorite animal?  Giraffe (laughs hysterically - no change from last year, she even laughed hysterically last year).
10. What is your favorite song?   The Peter Pan song (the one where they're marching, it's the Lost Boys' song, last year it was A Part of Your World)
11. What is your favorite book?  Green Eggs and Ham (last year: The Little Mermaid)
12. Who is your best friend?  Audrey (the only girl in her class, last year it was Hailey from daycare)
13. What is your favorite cereal?   Cheerios (last year: Life cereal)
14. What is your favorite thing to do outside?   Playing on the plasma cars (I assume that's something from school, last year it was riding bikes)
15. What is your favorite drink?   Milk (no change)
16. What is your favorite holiday?   Christmas (last year: Spring)
17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night?   My pillow (last year: dolls - all the dolls... she really doesn't sleep with anything anymore unless she's sick)
18. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?   Cheerios (last year: cereal)
19. What do you want for dinner on your birthday?   A sandwich (same as last year, which is weird)
20. What do you want to be when you grow up?  An artist Princess (last year: Astronaut or Alice from Alice in Wonderland)

We had a nice birthday celebration. Dinner out and then a trip to Starbucks. She had fun.

5 thus far has been rougher than 4. She's much more moody that she was before. I'm not used to a weepy girl-child, that's usually the boy. So we'll all be adjusting... She's still usually very happy and sweet and easy going, she's just starting to assert herself and she's she's entering this new stage where she'd rather play by herself than with her brother (which I totally get because he's rowdy and I have a little bother brother as well.) But even though they do quarrel more often than they used to, they still get along well the vast majority of the time, so we're still very lucky.

So happy birthday to our sweet Amazonian child. We love you!

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Sunday, December 1, 2013

An overdue update

I haven't blogged since September 25th, which blogger promintely dispalyed on my login page, as if to shame me from being away for so long.

In my defense, work has been insane. Which is my fault - 100% - because I agreed to take on an additional class, which means I have no prep period, which means I have 5 academic classes plus Journalism (yearbook and the magazine) AND I was crazy and signed up to advise a few clubs (um, 5).

So I brought this craziness all on myself, and it's kept me busy. Really busy. In fact this weekend I finally finished grading essays that I had the kids turn in October 15th. Eep! I still have a giant stack of grading, but I feel good that at least those essays are done.

Finals are in two weeks. Le Sigh. I will enjoy Winter Break.

The good thing is that all of my students this year are wonderful. I really do mean this. Yeah, some of them are obnoxious at times, but they're teenagers. I do love being a teacher, even if the job is the most stressful job I have ever had.

The real reason of this post wasn't to talk about work, although that happens a lot with me lately. I can't seem to shut up about work... the point of this post was to chronicle what has happened in the lives of the kids since I took my unintentional blog hiatus.

Let's start with the youngest.

Griffin goes to school 3x a week and started to like it mid-September. His behavioral reports are always good and his report card for the 1st trimester (which I think is hilarous and adorable) was exemplary. He does well, he behaves well, he's energetic. Pretty much sums up the moster.

He's lost most of his lisp/stutter and talks up a STORM. Between the two of them it's a miracle B or I ever get to talk. Our dog, Harley-Quinn, is his very best friend, but I'm not 100% sure if she feels the same way.

The tantrums one normally expects of a 3 1/2 year old are becoming less frequent - which is awesome. Looking back, the Terrible Twos and Terrorist Threes were pretty tame compared to the stories I've heard of these ages. Insisting that he use his words to express his frusrtrations has started to bear fruit and he's much better and talking about why he's upset instead of just disolving into tears.

He's grown a lot. In 5T and some of his 5T clothes are starting to get a little short. Which is insane because we just bought him clothes. He's not quite as tall as Sissy, but on occasion people will ask if they're twins.

He's still a big snuggler and asks for snuggles all the time. And while he does spend a few nights a week in his own bed, most nights he crawls in with us anywhere from 3-6am.


She is growing up too fast. She'll be 5 on Thursday. She lost one tooth in October and another two are loose. She's in size 7. She reads. READS.

We had her parent-teacher conference a few weeks ago and she knows 34 of the 100 1st grade sight words - the words 1st graders are supposed to know at the end of 1st grade. Thirty four.

She'll sound out words and read signs, books, and my text messages. She would still prefer to sit upstairs and read (or color) rather than go outside and run around. She is defintely my daughter.

Her teacher also said that Penelope is a very enthusiastic learner: "Sometimes very bright children will get bored, but Penelope is always so excited for whatever it is we are doing in class, she loves to learn."

And she's really social - she knows the names of her friend's parents and will greet them when she gets to school or on the way out. She loves everyone, they're all friends she hasn't met yet. And her memory is crazy - she remembers what she wore to Griffin's brithday party in April. She remembers playing with friends she hasn't seen in over a year. She remembers things I promised and forgot (which, boo).

I am planning on having her do the 20 birthday questions - last years are here.

In other news, I ran my first 5K and didn't die. I didn't walk or throw up either. Woot! My time was something like 39 minutes, so I ran the slowest 5K in the history of 5Ks. My next scheduled 5K is in March, running it with my Journalism kids.

The back tattoo is in progress. I have the outline and a little over 1/4 of color done. It hurts, a lot, but I love it.

And I think that's it. I'm sure I'm missing a ton of things, but I should probably get to all of that grading I have. The pile is staring at me accusingly right now.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Everything since August 6th...

No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

School started. Was good. Took a 6th period. Am going crazy.

Took up running, sorta (been 5 times). Can run 1.25 miles and have now run more in the last 3 weeks than I ever did in high school PE.

Kids love school, especially Penelope. She has 16 boys and 3 girls in her class. Makes me thankful that I teach high school.

Griffin goes on his first field trip in a few weeks. I get to go (hooray for fortuitous scheduling and random Mondays off!).

Penelope went to my 1.5 hour yoga class with me and did everything except for Triangle pose. Everyone loved her and she's been invited back for other classes. She adores this. She is also surprisingly inflexible, I blame Bryan.

Griffin is now 90% night time potty trained. Huzzah!

I got a full back tattoo (well, the outline is done). It is made of awesome and I will post many pics as color is added.

I'm co-advising the Mock Trail team this year. It's fantastic, but also means Tuesdays I'm on campus from 7am until 7pm. No joke. See note re: "crazy" above.

We've been to a wedding and a birthday party with an Elvis impersonator (those things did not happen in the same weekend).

Bryan's job is going well, he loves it.

His hockey team plays tomorrow for the championship.

I turned 32 and didn't freak out (actually, it was fun. And so far 32 is infinitely better than 22 & 12 combined. Although at 2 I was in New York, so we'll see if 32 makes it to the top of my "years ending in a 2").

And now, goodnight. It is time to sleep. So I will sleep with my pet Zeep. Today was good, today was fun. Tomorrow is another one. Everyday from here to there, funny things are everywhere.

(P.S. if you don't get my two allusions, then I'm not sure we can be friends anymore).

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

In which some things are resolved...

Today I took Penelope in for her assessment. I met her teacher, she took her away, and I filled out paperwork while I waited only semi-patiently for my daughter to be returned to me.

She came back happy and excited. Said she had fun, and her teacher was very positive (although not very forthcoming). I was told that the principal would be in a 1pm and I should hear something after that.

1pm came... and went. At 4 I called the school. The principal was out for the day and the woman answering the phone said she would call the principal on her cell and someone would get back to me.

That didn't happen. No call. No e-mail. Nadda.

I cannot adequately express how frustrated I am with the whole process. I hope I get a phone call early in the morning - because I have students all day and if she's not in then I have a LOT of work to do to figure out a different placement.

Then we had Griffin's preschool meeting, which means that he's in (hooray!).

Also? I am soooooo not ready for tomorrow.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Some Drama for this Mama

Today was my first day back to school - all meetings and professional development. However the universe, realizing how much I loathe a day full of meetings, decided to throw me a curve-ball.

During my second meeting of the day, I got a text from Bryan that Penelope's school had called and informed him that they just noticed she didn't make the cut off for transitional kinder and she wouldn't be able to attend next week.

Say wha????

I've blogged about the pre-K saga here, here, and here.

The gist? I know she doesn't make the cutoff by 3 days, Salinas Elementary wouldn't take her but after a conversation with the Spreckles principal, they said they would. The registration packet was turned in, enrollment completed, we received our letter home. The principal, during our initial conversation, mentioned the possibility of needing to get her assessed, but we never received any further information about testing (and believe me, I asked multiple people during multiple occasions).

So it was a bit of a shock to learn that they weren't going to take her after all.

I was, to put it lightly, upset. I made some phone calls, left messages, and sent this:

Dear Ms.XXXX,

I left a message at the school today, but also wanted to follow up with an e-mail. During the Spring semester of the 2012-2013 school year, I contacted you regarding my daughter, Penelope Rodgers. Her birthday misses the Transitional Kinder cut off date by 3 days. I told you that Salinas Elementary was unwilling to make an exception and I listed some of Penelope's academic milestones (sight words, writing, math). You agreed with me that she sounds like she's ready for school and told me that as long as there was room in the program, Penelope would have a spot.

You mentioned the possibility of needing to get her assessed since she does miss the cutoff and I agreed that we would be happy to bring her in for that anytime.

The summer came and went - we filled out district transfer paperwork and were approved, registered her for school without incident, and have received letters home confirming her enrollment. I asked the woman at the front desk this summer (when I turned in her registration packet) if Penelope needed to be assessed, and she said that letters would be sent home if we needed to bring her in for assessment. No such letter made it to our house.

I am more than happy to arrange to bring her in this week - today or tomorrow if necessary. Please let me know what I need to do in order to get her to start school next week. She's really excited about starting school and I know she will do well.

I attempted to relay a polite, but urgent tone. 

Short story? She goes in tomorrow at 9 to be assessed.

With that fire extinguished, I turned my attention toward a second problem - Griffin's enrollment. Turns out that even though I had turned in the paperwork months ago and had been told that he had a spot, he was not enrolled. Here's the e-mail we got:

Hello Mr. Rodgers,

Griffin is on the waiting list for M-F am session. He is not currently enrolled for any sessions. I can place him on the waiting list for the first opening, be it 2,3 or 5 days if that is what you prefer. We have limited openings in our pm classes ( 12:15- 3:15). If we are unable to place him in the program by Sept.1, we will refund your $60.00 family fee.
We appreciate your interest in the XXXXX program at XXXX.

I do not think I can adequately convey how upset I was.

After a frantic search online for alternate schools, I sent this e-mail to the district office:

Dear XXX,

My husband, Bryan, forwarded me your message and I have some concerns.

The first concern is that we filled out enrollment paperworkmonths ago. When I turned in the paperwork, I was assured that - at the very least - Griffin would be placed in the AM Tues/Thurs English only program and would be on a wait-list for the dual immersion program.

I have, since the date of initial enrollment, called the District Office on multiple occasions over the summer, called the school site, and e-mailed regarding Griffin's enrollment. It is only now, after my husband sends an e-mail this morning, that we get a response about our son's placement.

As you can imagine, this is incredibly upsetting and leaves us in the very difficult position of having to find alternate placement in a very short time frame. 

I would appreciate some insight as to why we weren't informed earlier that Griffin was not enrolled. 

Please also place him on a wait-list for ANY morning classes and let us know what spot he is on said wait-list and an estimate as to when he might be able to start at Lincoln.

Feel free to call me if you have any questions or to discuss this further.

I was not very optimistic. However, Fortune smiled upon us and I got a phone call about an hour later that someone dropped a M, W, F spot and she could put Griffin in. Praise Zeus!

Also? Polite e-mails work.

G's also on the waiting list for the Spanish program, so hopefully he makes that - but as long as he's in MWF, I'm fine.

While I am incredibly relieved that things resolved, my day was completely derailed.

Tomorrow I need to leave early from a meeting to take Sis to her evaluation/assessment (which she is SUPER excited about, when I told her she was going to take a test, she smiled, hugged me, and said "oh thank you!"). I also need to attend a parent meeting a Griffin's school... and, you know, prep for school.


Monday, July 29, 2013

Photo shoot!

Ah Mondays. Today I worked for awhile while Judit took the kids bowling. I think I would have rather gone bowling, but I'm also glad I got some work done. I still have a lot more to do before I'm ready for the school year to begin, but thanks to my Yearbook Business Manager, I'm well on my way.

In the afternoon we picked up Bryan at his office and went to a country club where he and his coworkers got their pictures taken for the website. Judit, the kids, and I went - and I brought my camera so I could get some pictures of the kids & Judit.

I bribed Bubby with a quarter to dress up. Judit and I think he looks ADORABLE. Bryan thinks he's going to look back on these pictures and say "I can't believe my mom made me wear that!" Maybe it'll be both. You decide :)

In his pirate shirt with suspenders
Bubs & Judit
He's totally in love with her. He's both very sweet and a little mean, just like most boys are when they're in love! We went out for ice cream after dinner and he was very concerned that we had left her behind since she say in the back of the van and he couldn't see her from his carseat. Once we got there he kept asking where she was until he got out of the van and then he held her hand as we walked into the ice cream parlor. He's really, REALLY going to miss her.

Penelope and Judit. Penelope has started using the "Nicolas Black smile".
This smile is totally my brother. It was one of his more hilarious phases. I think it is funny, cute, and a little frustrating. The frustrating part is that I want a nice, genuine smile - not an angry grimace. But she's 4, so whatevs. She's still adorable.

My children insist on laying on top of me all.the.time.
I really should have taken my sunglasses off. Oh well.

My sweet almost-5-year old
Relaxing in the shade
He needs a piece of straw between his teeth and he's Tom Sawyer.

Lifting the kids while his coworkers look on
I like this one because it has my 3 favorite people in it :)

More fun with Daddy
In order to capture a genuine smile from my husband, he can't know he's being photographed... or at least, it can't be posed. He's an incredibly handsome man (and a great dad) and so this picture gets all of that. Plus I'm amused by how amused his coworkers are with his shenanigans.

Hugging Daddy's leg - his new favorite pasttime
Griffin's new thing is to hug our legs and not let go. Makes for cute pictures. Not really for getting anywhere on time.
They really do love each other. And I love them.

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

What's a trip to America without a visit to a ballpark?

Lame, that's what it is.

Saturday we went to watch the A's vs. Angels in Stadium. It was a rather large group of us. My parents, grandma, B's best friend and his roommates, and my work-mom and her son all joined us for a warm afternoon of baseball. The A's won (off of a 2 run homer) - and are holding on to 1st place!

I won't give you a play-by-play, since everyone just wants to see the pictures anyway. So here they are.

Sissy & Judit before the game began
My attempt at a selfie with the fancy camera
Woo - telephoto lens!
Judit & Conor
Eating peanuts
My Papa
Bubs goofing off with grandpa
Driving a car on daddy's face
Sissy in her souvenir shirt
Bryan and the Bubs
Sis & B had so much fun that they're going back on Tuesday night to cheer the A's on again. I'm hoping they make it to the playoffs again this year - and go even further. The Giants aren't playing so hot and it's getting to be crunch time. Go A's!

Hello Frisco!

Last week, during my "vacation week" (I use quotation marks because I worked 2 of the 5 days), the kids, Judit, & I drove up to the City.

As we passed South SF it was beautiful, sunny, and 70 degrees. As we passed the airport we could see the bank of fog on the horizon. Judit asked me "what is that?" and my reply? "That's San Francisco!"

It was, as usual, an overcast morning. Cloudy, cool, and crowded. We headed to the bridge first - I had never walked across it and it seemed like a good tourist thing to do.

The Bridge - 11am
Penny, Griffin, and Judit
It was windy, and cold, and beautiful.

Judit with Angel Island behind her
Sissy enjoyed the bridge and its views
Bubby & Sis
Griffin was decidedly less enthusiastic than his sister. I carried him 3/4 of the way (we walked to the second tower and back, so maybe 2+ miles in total). In fact, the first few times we stopped to look at the views Bubby crawled over to the fence to look instead of standing up next to the railing like his sister. He's not really a fan of heights or bridges - poor thing. I always forget he's afraid of these things until we're actually on a bridge. I should remember, I used to be terrified of bridges when I was his age.

After the bridge we headed to meet up with friends for ice cream and to spend time in the Haight. I didn't get a ton of pictures, but here are a few of the ok pics.

Griffin with Baby Lena
Our friends Tazz & Alyscia just had a baby a few months ago and Griffin LOVES babies. So he really enjoyed getting to hold baby Lena.

My kids + baby + me
I really enjoyed holding baby Lena as well. After carting around the almost 40 pound Bubby, snuggling with a 16 pound baby was like holding a bag of feathers. Plus she's adorable and oh-so-happy.
Squishy with Lena
Sissy loved holding the baby too. In fact, she asked for a baby sister after we left. Good luck with that one Poe-poe.

Griffin also expanded his list of potential wives. He added Liz, Alyscia, & Lena to the list.

On the way home, we took HWY 1 back to Salinas. It was beautiful, I'm glad we went the long way. I didn't get any pictures, but I wouldn't have done it justice anyway since I'm still not all that great with the camera.

It was a long and exhausting day. I wish we could have done more, but I didn't want to get stuck in the horrific downtown traffic. You really need 2-3 days to experience San Francisco. Overall we had a good trip and I'm glad we got a chance to walk the bridge and see some friends.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Ladies man

Today the kids, Judit, & I had coffee with our good friend Patrice before she leaves us to go teach in China.

During the course of the conversation Patrice told us a hilarious anecdote about one of her children when he was Bubby's age. In response to said anecdote (about who children imagine marrying when they're three), Griffin said the following:

"I'm going to marry Patrice! I'm going to marry ALL the ladies! I'm going to marry Sissy, I'm going to marry Patrice, I'm going to marry Judit, I'm going to marry mama. ALL these ladies."

Monday, July 22, 2013

Beaches, Boardwalk, and Elephants

You have no idea how disappointed I am that I couldn't fully alliterate this blog title. I sat here for a good three minutes trying to figure out how to make the alliteration work. I could have said "bears" since we did see bears at the Monterey Zoo today, but when I'm 90 years old, the only thing I'm going to remember is feeding the elephants so they get first billing.

Still, I wish I could have alliterated it.

Anyway, elephants!

Well, lets go in chronological order. We'll start with beaches.

A few weeks ago, Judit & I took the kids & the dog to the beach to play. It was chilly (Asilomar is rarely very warm), but we had a lot of fun. By the time we left no one could feel their toes.

They like to hold hands and run away from the waves
Harley-Quinn LOVES the beach. She'd play in the waves until her heart gave out if we let her...
Playing in the waves!
Remember, this water is COLD
This one just amuses me
Watching the waves
Not long after the beach trip, we went to a series of parties for friends. It was a fun, but exhausting, weekend. I tried to get some good pictures, but it was hard to take pictures AND socialize. So I just captured a few that I really like.

See, you CAN take a selfie with a fancy camera!
Penelope took this one :)
Griffin took this one of our friends Patrice & Sascha
Having fun dancing with her new BFF
After the weekend of parties, I left for Pasadena for a few days. While the conference I attended was both informative and productive, I was very happy to be home. I get a few days of vacation before the school year gears up and we're taking advantage of the time.

We went to the Santa Cruz Boardwalk this weekend (as well as the Aquarium), but I didn't take as many pictures. Penelope went on a dozen rides and Griffin finally discovered his bravery shortly before we left.

Today we ran some errands and then went to the Monterey Zoo, where we got to get up and close with some animals AND we got to FEED ELEPHANTS. This was the coolest thing I've done in ages. You can actually take tours there where you can bathe the elephants. I desperately want to give an elephant a bath. Desperately.
Sissy feeding the elephant. She was SO brave. Other little kids, her brother included, were terrified, but not my little Miss!
Griffin didn't want to get near the elephant, but consented to be held while I fed her.

Judit & the elephant!

The whole tour was neat, but the elephant part was awesome.

In other news, Griffin is pretty much night potty-trained. We haven't had an accident in almost a week and he's really proud of himself for not wetting the bed. I'm pleased as well, hooray for less laundry!

We're still working on sleeping all night in his own bed. This is going to be harder because he really does hate to sleep alone and he is such a mama's boy. We'll keep up with the sticker chart and hopefully he'll be in his bed mostly full-time by the end of the year. It would be nice if it happened sooner, but neither one of us is ready to really push it (sticker chart aside). This too shall pass and one day I'll look back fondly on all the extra snuggling.

Tomorrow I have some work to do, but the agenda for the week includes a trip to SF, swimming, beach time, and a baseball game!

Sunday, July 7, 2013


Today Judit and I took the kids to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. We haven't been in awhile and Judit had never been, so everyone was pretty excited. I brought the fancy-camera in the hopes that I could get some cool shots of the various sea creature and/or the kids.

Because you're not supposed to use flash (so as not to disturb the creature and because the light bounces off the glass) most of my pictures are pretty blurry. I'm still not very good with the manual focus and the auto focus has a hard time in low light.

So I didn't get a lot of pictures that I love. Below are some that are just ok.

More jellies!
Baby turtle!
Judit & kids, having fun at the jellies exhibit
More jellies...
Dragon-thingie (can't remember its name)
Octopus Garden
Looking through the scope... at the sky
Judit and the kids
Sometimes they're sweet to each other
After the Aquarium, Bubby slept and I did a photo shoot with Sissy so I could play with the settings. Here are my favorites.

A girl and her dog
Love this girl

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Penelope's Growth

6 years: 50 inches, 47 lbs
5 years: 48 inches, 42 lbs
4 years: 43.5 inches, 41.0 lbs
28 months: 39 inches, 33.1 lbs
26 months: 38.5 inches, 32.1 lbs
21 months: 37 inches, 31.8 lbs
18 months: 35 inches, 30 lbs
15 months: 34.25 inches, 28.8 lbs
12 months: 32 inches, 27.1 lbs
9 months: 30.5 inches, 25.1 lbs
6 months: 29 inches, 21.2 lbs
4 months: 28.5 inches, 17.13 lbs
2 months: 24.75 inches, 12.12 lbs
At birth: 20.75 inches, 7.15 lbs

Griffin's Growth

5 years - 3 feet 11.25 inches (47.25 inches), 51 lbs
3 years - 3 feet 5.25 inches, 40lbs
18 months - 34.5 inches, 27.13lbs
12 months - 32 inches, 26.5lbs*
10 months - 31.75 inches, 23.4 lbs
7 months - 29.25 inches, 21.4 lbs
5 months - 28.5 inches, 17.9 lbs*
4 months - 28 inches, 15.5 lbs
3 months - 27 inches, 13.10 lbs
2 months - 25.125 inches, ?? lbs
1 month - 24 inches, 10.13 lbs
At birth - 22.5 inches, 9.1 lbs
*with diaper

Izzy's Growth

2 months: 23.25 inches, 10.8 lbs
At Birth: 22 inches, 8.11 lbs

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