Sunday, August 5, 2012

No dress rehearsal

This is our life.  
Sorry for TTH non-sequitur... We decided to take one more little family getaway and I would guess that 90% of the music that we listened to on the way there and back was The Hip, so I am still in a poetic state of mind.

We hopped over the San Jacinto mountains to Palm Springs for a few days.  It was such fun!

The kids enjoyed the amazing pool...

I couldn't begin to count the number of times that the kids went down these slides.  Although Gabriela stuck to the little slide, the older three kids rode the heck out of the big slide.
Daniel making a big splash...
Jake holding the phone on his way down...
Some random shots...
We found the Hotel California!
Jake getting ready to slide, again.

The view from our Villa.

The girls going for a daytime swim.
The girls going for a nighttime swim.

Our crazy family.

Jake and the girls humoring me for a photo.

As always, it was some great family time and a perfect way to wind down our summer.  I do have to admit it was really nice to be home, too, where we only have to go to our backyard to enjoy a little bit of paradise!  :)
Thanks René, for the perfect frozen margarita!





Wednesday, July 25, 2012

In It to Spin It

a.k.a.  I knew my callipygous build would be useful one day.

This past Sunday, I went a little farther than my previous record distance.  I am beginning to think that 100 miles by the end of the summer is totally attainable!  So proud of myself!
My time wasn't that grand, considering my stop at the harbor to enjoy the afternoon, but I am mainly focused on increasing my distance-not decreasing my time.

Friday night, RenĂ© and I had a hot date...we took a ride together.  It was fun to try to keep pace with him and even better to draft behind him into the headwind.  :)

(Isn't he adorable?)
Want to see something else adorable?  My bike!  (Actually, I am thinking about an upgrade... we shall see.)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Quilts for Kaitlyn's Promise

For the last two years, I have been able to create two quilts each year that I donated to Kaitlyn's Promise, in the hopes that Cheri could raffle them off to earn some money for their scholarship fund in Kaitlyn's honor.  

It was important to me to be able to continue to honor that commitment this year.  I got a bit of a late start this year and really had to put a rush on these two quilts, but was able to get them completed and in the mail two days before the event!  Whew!

I actually pieced the first quilt at our Cabin Fever Quilt Retreat; however, I had not found time to actually quilt it.  With the lazy summer days, I was able to get it finished pretty quickly.  (One of the quilts that I donated last year, Sunkissed Sherbet, used the same fabric, by the way.)  It is lap-sized and measures 43" x 57.5"


This quilt is titled Sunkissed Parallelograms because I used Moda's Sunkissed fabric line and...well...it has parallelograms.  The quilt is machine-quilted, by me, using a free-motion, meandering/stipple pattern.


I had a bit of a love/hate relationship with the second quilt that I donated.  It is a lap-sized decorative quilt that measures 41" x 49.5" and is titled "Tweet! Tweet! Tumbler." It featured Moda's "Tweet! Tweet" fabric line and I pieced this quilt in a tumbler pattern.

When I bought the fabric, I LOVED it and couldn't wait to find the perfect project to use it.  As soon as I started to piece this quilt, I hated this fabric.  I didn't like the way that the prints worked together and had a hard time coordinating placement of the pieces that didn't feel "heavy."  Yet, once it was pieced and I began quilting it, I fell in love with it again.  The final project was fairly pleasing.  I machine-quilted this quilt using a free-motion, stipple pattern.




Enjoy.

Monday, July 9, 2012

To pass the time...

I have a few quilts to post, but I am not ready to do so, but probably will later this afternoon...or tomorrow...or a week from now...you never know.

Yesterday, I went on a bike ride and had a few firsts.  First of all, I went farther than I have before which is awesome.

Here is a screenshot from my map my ride log:

Woot!  I have decided that I will ride 100 miles in one shot by the end of the summer.  Considering that yesterday was a breeze, I don't think that should be a problem.  I never in a million years thought that I would be a distance rider, but....you never know.

The other "first" that I had was my first battle wound.  I earned a road gash, not rash....gash.  Let's just say that my cleat would not clip out fast enough.  Ok, let's just say that *I* didn't clip out fast enough.  Fortunately, there wasn't a lot of traffic on the road because it could have been worse.  Here she is...the baby gash:
Sidenote:  It is amazingly difficult to take a picture of your elbow, especially when your adrenaline is flowing like the Mississippi River.   
When I stopped to clean the cut out at a water fountain and to fill my water bottles, I called RenĂ© and told him what happened.  He asked, "Do you want me to come pick you up?"  I answered, "Of course not, but thank you."  I just wanted to be sure that he knew why I wasn't moving, if he was monitoring my ride with an app we use to keep track of each other on long rides.

As soon as I got home, he greeted me at the door with a broad grin on his face.  He was so proud of my first crash.  Ha!  See why I love this man?!?!?  He numbered off the reasons that he was proud of me and my epic ride.  (You see he has been cycling forever and I have only recently become serious about it.)

My boo-boo has now been properly treated with TLC and neosporin and my ego has been properly stroked by my sweetie.

I can't wait to get on my bike and go a little farther.  :)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Sunday, July 1, 2012

A Work of Heart

During the second semester, I was chosen to have a student teacher in my classroom.  To be honest, I was reluctant to accept another student teacher.  I have had nothing but wonderful experiences, but to mentor a beginning teacher, in a sincere and reflective manner, takes a lot of time and that is something of which I find I have only a little.  My principal was persuasive (READ-relentless) and I accepted the student teacher.  I am so glad that I did.
Ms. Nelson turned out to be a fantastic teacher with whom the students bonded easily and responded to willingly!  It was such a joy to watch her "come into her own" in the classroom and gain confidence in her teaching ability and style.  
We also had many things to talk outside of education because she is crafty-type person.  What the?? What?  Happy day!  
Well, all in all, I am so glad that I was blessed with Ms. Nelson in my class and I do hope that she gets to hang this quilt in a classroom of her own sooner, rather than later.  
Here is the quilt that the students helped me make for her.  They each decorated a square and I put them all together.  :)  Good luck, Ms. Nelson!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

ISTE 2012

What a great conference!!!  If you don't recognize the acronym ISTE, it is the International Society for Technology in Education.   A cohort of teachers from my school (and a few from another school in the District) asked to attend this conference and because there were a few Professional Development $$ left in the site budget, we were told, "Yes!"

Now, don't get me wrong...this is public education and public monies.  So...no hotels...no transportation reimbursement...no meals; however, our registration was paid and that was the bomb-diggity.  

The team of teachers (with whom I am totally tech-nerdy) and I had a total blast and learned/picked up so many ideas that we can't wait to implement in our classes.  I am not sure if I mentioned it previously or not, but I was chosen to pilot a 1:1 iPad program next year, along with another teacher from my site.  Depending on our success and the processes that we set forth, other teachers may have similar opportunities if a grant that the District has applied for is approved.  It has been a pretty busy summer preparing for that, but this conference definitely made me that much more excited about the opportunity that we have been granted.  One of the best sessions that I attended was holding Literature Circles using the iPads.  I. can't. wait.

I currently use Edmodo in my class, but I learned and watched as it was used to a greater depth and its potential has me intrigued.  Also, I met the founder of Haiku Learning Management Systems.  I use Haiku LMS for the Online Summer Camp that I am piloting for the students at my school, and he was impressed by the way that I have used the LMS for kids as young as first grade (It is all in the video-directions for students that young.)   He, subsequently, invited me to a private party at the town home that they rented in the Gas Lamp.  Awesome!  (I didn't end up going because I missed my family.  It didn't help that the sweeties texted me 2 minutes after the invitation with "I miss you."  Notice their username:  cornchildren because I lovingly call them "Children of the Corn."  We're weird.  So what?)  


Although the sessions were awesome, I think that I got the most from the conference in the Expo area.  I was able to meet many of the people that I know "electronically" and network with many others.  I do have to say that I feel really bad for some of the people there marketing their products.  It can't be easy. *shudder*  
Here are some of the pictures that I took that have no particular relevance or high-interest factor, but they are pictures that I took, nonetheless...
Playing around with the Microsoft Office 365 PhotoBooth.  I want over-sized Elvis glasses to accessorize my everyday apparel.

My next yacht will have a helicopter.  Positively!

Where should I apply?

Poor woman, but I do love the boots....not the orange color though.

We were walking in a restricted area (because that is what we do) and we found this
costume discarded on the floor.  Soooooo, we get the bright idea to take photos in it.
We're weird.  So what?  Oh wait...I've said that already.  By the way, this isn't me....it is my dear friend Janis our SBRT.  :)
There is much more to tell and even more to do to plan for a technologically radical year, but I have reached my saturation point as I suspect you have, as well.  

Thank you again to all of my nerdy-peeps from OUSD and beyond and thank you to all of the fabulous presenters and exhibitors.  #edtech #sigol #sigds #iste12 #edmodo #haikulearning #sigml  #sigct #siggs #sigil #sigte <3 <3 <3

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Happy Day!

June 21st might just be my favorite day.  Seriously.  Enjoy yo' self!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Day of Fathers!

Every year, I get to reflect on how incredibly blessed I am to have such amazing men in my life.  They are the ones that I get to call Dad in some capacity.
They are all extremely special to me for how they treat me, my kids, and the others around them.

I'll start with my own Daddy.  He is one of the kindest, most generous men you will ever have the pleasure to meet.  Yes, he totally gives me hell each time that he sees me, but I have never once doubted his love.  He supports me unconditionally, even in times when it was obvious that I was making mistakes.  I love this man!
I love the unadulterated excitement on my face as my dad teaches me to ride a bike in the above photo! (Little did he know that more than 30 years later, I would be as addicted as I am to my bicycle.)

The next father that I need to celebrate is Derek, Jake's dad.  Although he is currently deployed to the Middle East, AGAIN, he still keeps constant contact with Jake.  (Thank goodness for today's technology.)  He is a good dad to both Jake and his new sweet baby, Jason.  God speed, Derek.
A very sweet picture, but I will admit that I can barely look at this photo because of the gaudiness of those couches.  Hello, 90s!

Finally, my favorite!   My hubby, RenĂ©!   He is the best papi ever to our kids and is a kick-ass step-dad to Jake.  RenĂ© was an only child and he made it very clear that he wanted a house full of kids...Boy, did he get what he wanted.  When Gabriela was born, it made three kids under 2 1/2 years of age.  That's right...3 in diapers.  What a whirlwind!  But, my husband handled it all in stride and with grace.  He loves every chaotic, unpredictable moment of it and I love him beyond measure!  Like I said, I am a lucky girl!


My heart just melts. One more of my favorite pictures...it is so difficult to choose because I love so many photos of René with our kids...
RenĂ© and Daniel at the pond behind my parents' house.  Love the sweetness.

Thank you, to all three of you, for making my life pretty perfect.  <3 <3 <3  Happy Father's Day to all of you Dads out there.


Monday, June 4, 2012

Tour of California

A few weeks back, my family had the opportunity to witness one of our favorite sports, up close and personal...cycling!  RenĂ© and I took the kids to beautiful (not really) Ontario, California to watch the start of Stage 7 of Amgen's Tour of California.  Stage 7 is the stage where the riders had to climb Mt. Baldy and it was an uphill finish.  Brutal, in my opinion.

What I love most about any pro-cycling event is the accessibility of the pros.  It was so great to walk around with the kiddos and be able to mingle with the pro-cyclist-past, present, and probably future.  The highlights were, in no particular order:  
  • We actually met Bob Roll.  If you don't know who Bob Roll is, I will assume that you aren't a cycling fan.
  • The family hobnobbed with George Hincapie (I, for one, was impressed with my self-control--I didn't even try to manhandle him!)
  • We greeted Brent Bookwalter, as he was coming off of the bus.  He shook hands with the family. (He was so impressed with Daniel's firm handshake.  It was kind of charming.)
  • The two officers that led the race, the regulator and the CHP pace car, fawned over the kids and gave them some souvenirs of the race while we waited at the race start.
  • Finally, it was amazing to watch the beginning of the race.  There were so many notable riders participating, it felt pretty cool.

Instead of bogging down this blog post with a eleventy billion photos, I'll just link you to my Facebook album.  Enjoy!

Maybe just one....

That man is hotter than an oven....  

We had such a fantastic time and can't wait to our next pro-cycling race!   Life is good!

Monday, May 21, 2012

No wonder my head spins...

...when it is this time of the year.  Love it, but can't wait for the lazy days of summer.


Monday, May 7, 2012

Eureka!

I have found the cutest little '49er ever!  It is my baby girl, Cristina.  She is not so much of a baby girl anymore...4th grade... *sigh*

Well, one of the fantastic things about fourth grade is learning quite a bit of California history culminating in one big end of the year celebration-Gold Rush!  

Look at this beautiful little hard-worker:
Cute as a button, no?

Need a close-up of this adorable bonnet and that gorgeous little face?
Granted!

Cristina's class had great fun taking a few steps back in time!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Hobbit-ual

This thing all things devours:
Birds, beasts, trees, flowers;
Gnaws iron, bites steel;
Grinds hard stones to meal;
Slays king, ruins town,
And beats high mountain down.


What say you, gentle reader? Have you an answer?


Of course, the answer is "Time."  Time is something that seems to fly at an alarmingly fast rate in our chaotic lives.  I remember only a short few years ago, my oldest baby sitting on his diapered-butt, using his baby board books to "decorate" my living room in San Clemente.  We had a morning ritual that as I finished getting ready for the day, he would sit and read his huge stack of board books and toss them over his sweet little shoulder when he was ready for the next one.  The result left a huge mess that we would happily clean before leaving for our day.  


These days he is as voracious a reader as I have ever known, at his age.  He has read far too many books for me to keep count.   I would guess that half of the books that I buy end up in his hands.  As an example to his reading prowess, I'll share that he read The Hunger Games when he was in 5th grade long before it was the popular series that it became.  He also plowed through the others as soon as they were released.  (Sidenote:  He keeps pushing me to read the series, but I think that I might be a bit of a novel snob.  Just knowing that my 5th grader (at the time) read and enjoyed this series turns me off a tad. I have one word for you:  Twilight  *shudder*) 


Recently, he was out of books, so we went to my bookcase to see what we could find that he might enjoy.  Lord of the Flies was met with tepid interest.  A Tale of Two Cities?  Catcher in the Rye?  Count of Monte Cristo?  *yawn*  Then, I spotted it.... Tolkien.   Ahhh, yes...it was the time.   


As I pulled it from the shelf, with an admitted twinkle in my eye, my heart sank a bit.  
This....
...had become this...


Fear not, the Amazon gods always smile in our favor and in two days we had...


Guess who is reading it now?   Jake!  
Guess who is really liking it?   Jake!
Guess who is probably going to have to quit being prideful and read The Hunger Games series?  Not me! :)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

SMGO

The acronym that pretty much describes my life.  So Much Going On.  To be honest, I am unsure where to even begin.  Perhaps I will work backwards.

This past weekend, I was able to get away with my Cabin Fever Quilting friends.  We changed things up and decided to book a cabin in Julian for this retreat!  We had a great time.  The cabin definitely had its own quirky style.  It seemed to meander in so many directions that you could actually get lost within it.
The view was spectacular...

We all brought our sewing tables, so it made setup pretty darn easy...

We did end up heading into town for a bit on Saturday...

Although there were quite a few shenanigans, I actually completed a lot of work.
I finished a quilt top and three background blocks for a really fun appliqué quilt that I started.

It was great to get away with these friends and look forward to our next meet-up or getaway.  :)

Hidden Bliss

This quilt is for my sweet niece, Kelsi. She asked for a quilt many moons ago and has been waiting patiently until her quilt was made. For this lap-quilt, I used Moda's Bliss fabric line. For the hidden stars, I used a winter-white fabric that I had in my stash. I quilted the stars by stitching in the ditch and then quilting a starburst pattern within each star, but it is terribly hard to see that. I stippled the colored squares to complete the quilt.


Backalackish.  (Please excuse the folds.)


Here is a close-up of the free-motion quilting in the middle of each star.  It was fun to do, but I really suck at taking pictures, for future reference.




The important thing is that Kelsi loves her quilt and that makes me happy.  :)