Wednesday, September 30, 2009


The kids are all in school, and it's lovely.

Paige started community college last week, and so far, it's okay.  She put off getting me the info on her books, so she has no books yet; they should be here Friday.
We ordered her books through, which had the best prices, by far, on the textbooks she needed.  I was so, so happy because her math book was $180 at the bookstore but was only $90 through  Their prices beat all the other sites I checked out.

I started a new class series last week, and I now have two couples.  I thought I was going to have three couples, which would have been fantastic, but I am pleased with two couples.  I think I have a good read on most people, and I can tell, usually right away, whether my class and I are going to jive, and this class--they rock.  I love their energy and their inquisitiveness.  I have a good feeling.  Plus, I am supposed to have two couples returning for refresher classes during this series as well, which should provide some good energy. 

I'm continuing to lose weight; I think I've hit a point where it's very noticeable because I get comments almost daily from people about my weight.  It feels good to hear, but it's also awkward.  How does one respond to compliments on one's weight loss?  I weighed in at 130.4 this morning, so I am about to lose a point.  I'm doing Weight Watcher's point plan, so I get 20 points a day right now; once I get into the 120s, I'll only get 19 points.  That should happen next week (I weigh in on Wednesdays).

I'm not yet committed to my weight loss, so I won't buy new clothes.  I'm cheap like that.  Everything I own is big on me: shirts, pants, bras, underwear... it's rather unflattering, but I have to admit that there is something comforting in wearing baggy clothes.  

Wayne and I went to Pearl Jam last weekend, and it was, quite simply, the most amazing concert.  I am ready to go to PJ every time they come to town.  My next concert is U2 and The Black Eyed Peas in Vancouver, BC.  I had to get a passport, which I've never had before, in order to get across the border.  Because my parents like to complicate things, I ended up having to send in extra documentation to prove that I am me.  Fortunately the 15 documents and 2 affidavits I sent in were enough to prove that I am me, and my passport arrived about 10 days later.  Yea!  Now I can go to Paris!  But I'm not...I'm going to Canada, which shouldn't be as exciting...but it is. 

My next international trip will be Mexico in January 2011, so this weight loss thing, it has to be maintained for awhile.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

try tri

Last night after we got home from doing some strength training at the Y, I did something I haven't done since, I swear, high school, when Friday's PE class was a day of forced running. 
Yes, I ran.
Me. Running. Nothing chasing me. 
It's bizarre, I know.  I didn't run far, but I ran continuously; I'm going to check my distance today...the route was around a small part of my neighborhood. I even ran up a little hill.  It was amazing. 

And it was raining. I was running in the rain, and it felt pretty good. 

Why was I running, even though I was not being chased by a bear or a mad man? 

I am considering participating in a mini--or sprint--triathlon. .5 mile swim; 11-ish mile bike and 3 mile run.  My biggest obstacle at this point is gear.  Do you know how much gear one needs for a triathlon?  And it's all expensive!  I have my eye on the Danskin Triathlon next year--an all woman triathlon.  There are other sprint triathlons in our area with similar distances (the bike distance seems to vary the most), but the Danskin Tri just seems like the right one.

The morning after I started to entertain the idea of doing the DT, we were at spin class at 5:30am, and this woman walks in--a bigger woman, definitely not your stereotypical triathlete physique--and she is wearing the DT shirt.  I don't remember ever seeing her at a previous spin class with us (we're one of "the regulars" now--our spin teacher calls us the Dynamic Duo...Ha).  It was a sign, I tell you!

So now I need to incorporate some running and swimming into my life.

Swimming.  I have never been a stroke swimmer.   Well, I would do a few sloppy strokes, stop and chat.  Play around. I've never been a stroke and lap swimmer, I guess.  32 laps in a 25yd pool is half a mile.  I have no idea when I'm going to try the swim portion.  I better get my butt in the water soon, though!  I need a suit, and some triathletes wear, like, wetsuits for the swim. The water in the lakes here in western Washington doesn't warm up too well usually.  A regular suit runs about $80, but a wetsuit...that's a lot more money. 

The bike...I know I can do 11 miles no problem--unless it is all vertical.  That could be a challenge. Hilly or flat, I need a new bike. Badly.  And bike shoes.  Easily $1000 for a bike and shoes.  In fact, that's a very low-end estimate. 

The run.  New shoes that are actually designed for running will cost around $100...maybe a bit more.

There are photos from the DT in Seattle here.  Women of all shapes and sizes.
I can do this.

Friday, August 28, 2009


This is the final Friday of a lovely Summer Break. 
I have enjoyed the past several weeks, and I am sad that it is coming to an end; nonetheless, I am looking forward to shipping some kids off to school for 6+ hours a day. I expect this school year to be faaaarrrr better than last school year, which I think was a waste of 180 days of Maya's life.  Seriously.

And I don't have to endure having Paige in high school anymore.  The gods are good.

Brittani begins her senior year this year, and I expect her senior year to be faaaarrrr better than Paiges senior year.  Please, please, please, do not make me eat my words. 

If I told you that Paige's senior year left permanent scars on my psyche, would that sound crazy?  Because it did.  Dammit.  I need to let the anger goooooo... I stopped seeing that therapist, btw.  I think she is crazy. 

Anyway, that senior year is done, and we are on to a better year this year!


So I've been busting my ass, getting up 4 days a week at 4:45am to go to spin at the Y, and we've begun lifting weights 3 times a week.  I've been paying every month to attend Weight Watchers meetings weekly since May.  I have lost 20+lbs, and I am now within a normal BMI.  I am no longer in the "overweight" category.  I am at the top end of normal for my height, but I'm there. I feel great...better than I have in years.  I feel even better than I did when I was on South Beach Diet because I can still eat what I want to eat--just less of it.  I do feel full faster now, too.  Just last night I had a slice of meat pizza and salad with strawberries, sliced almonds and feta tossed with olive oil and balsamic.  Totally full.  One slice of pizza.  I used to pack in three or four, I swear. Ick.  
But Pizza.  I ate pizza.  At least once a week I eat a slice of pizza, and I still lose weight.  Never on SBD could I do that.
Now I need to lose another 10-15lbs and keep it off until January of 2011...our long awaited trip to Mexico.  

Thursday, August 13, 2009

cool nights

We came home from South Carolina couple weeks ago to quite the heat wave in western Washington. I am very thankful for our air conditioning on those rare times when the night doesn't cool down like it usually does.

Last night, I finally turned off the a/c and opened the windows up again. We're back to rain, gray skies and temps in the mid 60s, which is great for fall but is dismal weather for the last few weeks of summer vacation.

I love a cool breeze blowing across me at night when I sleep, so we usually sleep with our bedroom window open all year long--even in the dead of winter. It used to drive Wayne nuts, but he's used to it now. The most difficult part of sleeping with an open window is the noise.

Our neighborhood is your standard tract housing neighborhood in the suburbs--one of those that went up like mad in the late 90s and early 2000s (our home was built in 2003). My neighbor's back door is probably 50 feet from my back door, and each house is about 10 feet apart on the sides. We're scrunched in here, which is one reason why I am dying to move away from here. Anyway, the noise.

We always have our bedroom window open, but usually our neighbor's keep their windows closed--unless it's hot. Then our windows close, and their windows open. It's well coordinated.
This morning, with our window open and their windows open, we were flooded with morning noise:
  • Alarms beeping relentlessly, being snoozed, only to go off again in 7-9 minutes. I cant tell you how many alarms--different alarms-- I heard go off between 4:30am and 5:30am! I also never realized how many people awaken to the BEEP-BEEP-BEEP alarm. Who can wake up to that and have anything close to resembling a happy day?
  • Babies crying. I know they cry. I am sympathetic to that, since I had a baby and lived in pretty much an apartment. That must have sucked for my neighbors, and I'm sorry. Still, it is unpleasant to awaken to a baby crying...and crying..and crying--especially when that baby is not yours.
  • Dogs barking. Incessantly. This dog, I want to scream at him to SHUT UP. Every freaking morning, he yips and yips like crazy. His owners are either gone or just ignore him. Who in their right mind lives in a neighborhood like this and owns a dog that is a persistent yipper? It just doesn't seem well thought out to me.
Hm. I do sound cranky about it, but I'm not. I am, however, really ready to move somewhere with a little more space, somewhere with a little more peace and quiet. For now, I think I will close my windows and turn the a/c back on until my neighbors close their windows again.

Sunday, August 2, 2009


...and it feels so good.

This weekend was my reunion.

No, it really was awesome.

The funny thing about high school is that it is a short time in one's life--maybe the shortest stage--but it is the time in life when we develop our identity, which makes it a very significant period of time. Most people would never in a million years want to go through high school again, and I am in the majority, for sure; however, it's still fun to go back once every decade to see what everyone's been up to and to see the people who helped you establish your identity (that you have probably--hopefully-- shed for new identity by the 20 year reunion).

The ten year reunion, which I've whined about possibly too much, was a cliquey event. Ten years isn't a lot of time to pass between graduation and reunion. There may be some insecurities that remain, some old relationships that still hurt or cause one to feel embarrassed (not speaking from personal experience. Ha!), and you're also still trying to establish your place in the adult world.

By the twenty year reunion, we're married, maybe divorced and remarried; most of us have kids; careers are mostly established; identities are more secure and are likely vastly different than the identity one had in high school (thank god!)...everything feels more settled. At least that's how I felt, and I'm one of those people that thinks everyone feels the same way I feel.

Okay, so it's TWENTY years later, and this reunion did not feel cliquey to me at all. Of course I was hanging with my girls, but I also chatted up people that weren't part of my high school group. Most of the women looked great. Amazing, even. The guys were all men. It's weird how that happens. Some were heavier, bulkier...a few had less hair. They all wore their new looks well, though.

I only had one person who was a complete ass to me, which is exactly how he was in high school. Oh well, no worries. Obviously not everyone matures and grows in 20 years, so KH, maybe at the 25 or 30 year reunion, you can act like a reasonable mature adult.

My favorite part of the reunion was just seeing the girls I hung out with in high school (RB, JM, RR, HM, SJ, JD), and I even mingled with a few women I wasn't tight with in high school but whom I get on with awesomely now (BSR, that's you).

I missed some people: Andy, Dave, Andrew M, in particular. They were the guys I think of when I think back to high school...maybe briefly they were boyfriends, but more importantly they were boy friends. I hear they are all doing well, and that makes me so happy. Back in high school, I never would have thought that I would care what my classmates would be doing in 20 years, nor would I even imagine that I would be happy, thrilled even, at their successes and happiness. But I am. I can honestly say that being in a room with a bunch of people who really seem to be where they want to be in life--or are headed that direction-- is very uplifting and satisfying.

The gin and tonics help keep that high feeling going, I imagine.

I can't wait for the next reunion...5 years from now, maybe?

Thursday, July 30, 2009


I have about 6 unfinished blog posts that are just going to whither and die because the relevance of the posts are simply...irrelevant.

Succinctly: Paige graduated. We both survived. Summer is awesome but far too short.

We just returned from a 10 day trip to SC. It was fun. Humid, hot but wonderful. Then we came home to record temps, which I am loving. It helps to have air conditioning and a pool. This past winter was so long and horrible that I am fully appreciating the heat and sun that we are experiencing now.

Tomorrow night...
Night One of The Reunion.
Mount Si Class of 1989
'89 Rulz

It's an all-weekend-long event. Friday: meet at a bar. Saturday: The main event at the casino. I'm excited to see several people. It should be fun. There's some people who aren't going that I'd like to see, but oh well. Oh, and major excitement: there's a nightclub with a dj. I have so been craving to go to a club, but I don't want to be That Old Lady at the club. I'm hopeful that at a casino (in Snoqualmie no less), my age will be less of an issue. I'm probably delusional.

Sunday is the family picnic, which Paige doesn't want to go to because she doesn't want to be That Kid: the one that was born soon after graduation. But she's so not That Kid. There were a lot of babies born around the time she was born--more than I knew of anyway.

This should be a good weekend, but it'll probably make me feel ooollllllldddddd. Ugh.

Monday, June 8, 2009

5 days...

...until Paige is supposed to graduate.

We'll see.

This week is going to suck so bad; I'm going to be stressed. She's going to be stressed. We won't know until Friday whether she can graduate, and even if she does earn the credits she needs, we won't know if they will let her walk until Friday. I have to admit that I am really angry at Paige for letting this happen.

All that said:

Mom and dad, I'm sorry.

I have a few friends who want to come to Paige's graduation; I thought that was very thoughtful of them. Paige's first Girl Scout leader, who is now a very dear friend, wants to come, and Wayne's co-worker, who went down a very similar path during her son's senior year. Actually, both Shawn and Tamme have kids that had senior years very much like Paige's. The situation Paige is in is not all that unusual.

Paige's prom was this weekend, and I guess she had a great time.

Brian and Paige

Emerald Ridge, 98374
(Clockwise from left)): Harrison, Lauren, Brian, Paige, Amanda, Jade, Matt, Tony, Dallas & Brian.

I am so ready for Paige's senior year to be over. It's been hell. I was so looking forward to having a year that would go smoothly; a year to just enjoy and reminisce about her childhood. So not happening.

I do plan to spend Saturday night pretty well intoxicated whether she graduates or not. I think I'll bring out the Patron Silver and do some shots. Actually, I think we'll have to have a party for ourselves!

Thursday, May 21, 2009


20 Year High School Reunion (Go, Wildcats!):
Paid for, which means I have to go. Damn. No, I'm excited to see the old Mount Si Alumni Classof '89 (ROCKS!). Should be fun...and there's bound to be booze. Can I just say now that I think Jen Mathwig, Sabrina Johnson, Andrew Hassard, Andy Archibald and Dave Cottrell should attend this time. Throw in a Jason Gregory for good measure... It'll be good to see others, too, but thems was my peeps--good and bad. Ups and downs. Renae will be there, though, so I'm good.

Weight Watchers:
I am now an official Suburban Mom. I joined WW a couple of weeks ago, and I'm progressing slowly and steadily. It's been easier to follow than the South Beach Diet we were on a few years ago. Thank gods.

Power 90:
My dear friend, Shawn, has been talking to me about Power 90 for a few months. She has lost inches upon inches. I'm giving it a go. We're also joining the Y. Time to try Zumba, maybe?

Ahhh... we thought we weren't going to be able to go, but we pulled it off last minute. Maya is going to stay at my mom and dad's with my sister and her kids. Britt is going to her mom's, and Paige is here or there or wherever she may be.
Last year was amazing. This year,the weather should be perfect. No rain or clouds in the forecast, and it should be nice and toasty. I can't wait!

The kids:
20 days until school is out (20 school days, anyway), and I can't wait for this year to be over. It was the year of the blahs for Maya. The year of me pulling my hair out because of Paige. One down (Paige) and one to go (Brittani). Brittani, btw, is so on top of everything it gives me goosebumps. Portfolio: check. SAT: scheduled for June 6th. Community Service: in the works. As stressful as Paige's senior year has been, I think Brittani's will be a breeze.

We're planning another trip to see Mickey and his crew in late April or early May of next year to celebrate Brittani's graduation. We are very excited!!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

more is realistic

Yes, less is more, but sadly, more is realistic.

We've been dealing with some issues in our family. Nothing new. I think they're resolved for now. When you have teenagers, there are bound to be issues.

Last night we were hashing out the current issues at the dinner table. As we were in the midst of this ordeal, we get a phone call from the YMCA. Awhile back Maya tried out for their swim team, and she made it onto their novice level team waitlist. The phone call was letting us know that Maya is at the top of the list.

Please ignore the post below that states we are going to remain unscheduled for the summer. I guess we'll be doing swim team at least June through August. Three times a week.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

less is more

Last week was another week from hell.
Busy at home, school and (for Wayne) work. I was a woman on the verge; I have weeks where I totally understand the alcoholic housewife stereotype from the 1950s. I so would have tossed back a few gin and tonics before noon, if I thought I could get away with it. I do have to drive carpool pick-up most of the week, you know.

Paige shopping & hair.
Prepare for the final 5 Girl Scout meetings.
Accompany Paige for senior portraits.
Maya field trip (I organized this one: 148 people attending the movie "Earth").
I finally cooked dinner on Thursday night.
Wayne attended a Big board meeting (huge stress).
Girl Scout meeting.
Girl Scout event (Brainiacs).

So we trudged through the week and suddenly it was Saturday afternoon, and I collapsed.

I came home from the Girl Scout event (fun!), and the house was clean. Wayne is a super-speedy cleaner of the house, and I am the easily distracted ADD cleaner of the house. He gets done in two hours what takes me all day.

We chilled all the day long, but for some reason, we couldn't ditch the kids. In fact, when one left, two more came and took her place. We went from 3 kids in the house to 4 kids! It's hard to fully unwind when the house runneth over with teenagers.

I think I'm going to take my mom's advice and be largely unscheduled this summer. No swim team (we quit and are officially done at the end of April). No YMCA. Just two weeks of Girl Scout day camp for Maya. That should leave us lots of time and some extra money for camping (and Brittani's senior year).

Paige graduates in a few weeks (June 13th). We're having her Graduation Party May 31st with our family and friends and her dad's family and friends. I think it will be a blast. I am still waffling between strangling the girl and embracing the girl. She's seriously making me feel nutso.

senior portraits

Pictures of the kid who is causing my hair to turn gray and my head to pound:
Here and here.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


This past weekend I attended a Troop Camp Training for Girl Scout leaders who are taking their troops camping; I went with my friend and co-leader, Sus. I had a blast, and I also rediscovered that there is a certain type of GS mom that I do not want to be.

We camped at Camp St. Albans in Belfair; I love Camp St. Albans. It's the camp both Paige and Brittani attended for resident camp, and we troop camped there in previous years as well. It was so odd to be standing in the same areas that I stood with my older girls--places I haven't been to in years. I don't know that I have had that feeling since Maya has been born, even when we may have done the same things as i did with the older two.

It was the most bizarre sense: I was standing in Okashi, which is a lodge where crafts were done when the kids were at troop camping. I could totally envision the tables set up; the kids sitting around the tables making lanyard animals; the mom I had a conversation with about modesty in the US versus Europe... it just all came flooding back. Paige and Brittani--ponytailed and toothless, or their teeth big and oddly growing in (happens to us all!). The flag ceremony in front of the Lodge of Nations. All of it. Staying in the Pixie cabins with Brittani's troop, and trekking down the hill to the Pixie program shelter. Girls counting off during headchecks.

I nearly cried.
My girls are growing up, but their past was right in front of me. I felt like I could touch the little girls that that they were, but the images just fizzled away. I can honestly say that was the first time I ever had anything like that happen. It was overwhelming.

We go troop camping that first weekend in June. New memories waiting to be made!

Friday, April 10, 2009

the deciding factor

This morning I toured a new school in our district that I am considering enrolling Maya into next year. The principal (Mr P) took an hour out of his morning to personally show me and my friend around the school.

It was very impressive.

  • Brand new: just opened for the first year in the '08-'09 school year. K-6, as are all the elementary schools in our district (if I were the King of the District, I would change them to K-3 schools and 4-6 schools, but I'm crazy like that).
  • Friendly staff: You must walk through the office to enter the building (safe), and the office staff were super nice and welcoming. Teachers and paras who came through were also friendly and made a point to say "hello" or "good morning" to us as we waited.
  • Responsive classroom: This is a concept that was used in Maya's K and 1st grade classes, and it fits very well within the co-op structure; however, Responsive Classroom is a piece that is being lost in our current program because the teachers who truly advocated for it have left or are leaving. Mr. P really believes in Responsive Classroom; he was actually the principal at our current school when our co-op teachers were really getting into Responsive Classroom. His entire school now operates under that philosophy. Amazing. Every morning he writes a morning message for the students, staff and parents, and that is the first thing they see when they walk into the school. Ever classroom has a morning meeting and they also have an afternoon meeting where kids can add items to the agenda and issues are discussed and a resolution process is begun.
  • They have the highest number of PTA members and parent volunteers in the whole district (our district is the 9th largest in the state, btw). Very impressive. Being able to volunteer in my kid's class is important to me, and you think that would be a given, but some teachers would prefer parents just make copies and correct papers. In the co-op model that we are in now, parents actually work with kids in small groups or one on one. It's nice to take time from one's day and spend it doing more than just busy work for the teacher.
  • Low enrollment numbers: the school is built to hold 750 kids, and they have around 600 kids currently enrolled. Our current school is built for 550 and has about 850 enrolled.
  • Looks good on paper: great WASL scores, not a Title I school.
  • Technology: Insane. Each classroom is paired with another and between them, they each have a project room that consists of at least 4 (FOUR!!) computers, plus there's a computer lab *and* a rolling computer lab with laptops for the kids to use. ......... Astounding. Maya's current school has no computer lab. Her classroom has one computer that the teacher doesn't let the kids use. They go down the hall to another classroom to take AR tests, and that is their exposure to technology at school. Dismal, at best. Each classroom at the school we toured uses Smartboards. Maya's teacher last year had to buy a huge white board that she then hung over the existing blackboard. That is the whiteboard that Maya's teacher currently uses. Again...dismal. Kids check in using the Smartboard. The teacher uses a wireless mic to project her voice to the class--no yelling or voice straining. Sweeeet.
  • The desks that are used are awesome. They aren't those heavy desks that you often see in a classroom; they are lightweight and have a steel grid area underneath for students to store their notebooks and whatever else goes in a desk. They appear to be easy to move around. Most of the classrooms did not put the kids in rows. I think I saw rows used in maybe one 2nd grade class. In K-3 they appeared to be in small groups or horseshoe shape. In 4th-6th grades, the kids make their own choices on where and how they want to sit to learn: alone, at a regular desk, small group, in a lawn chair at a low table, at angled or semi-circle tables. Very innovative.
  • Kids eat in the lunchroom and not in class. That has its advantages and disadvantages. I do like the idea of my kid getting out of the classroom more often, though.
  • Late start school: begins at 8:55 instead or 8:25. In the morning, half an hour makes a big difference. That does mean that dismissal is at 3:15 instead of 2;45.
So that's just a brief list of the great things about the school.
Some things that don't please me:

  • Large class size. We're talking about 26 or 27 kids in 1st and 2nd grade. 30 kids in 3rd. 30+ kids in 4th-6th. Maya is currently in a class of 23 kids with 23 sets of parent volunteers coming in weekly. Next year, the class size increases to 24.
  • No field trips. The district has a lame policy that does not allow parent-driven field trips, and buses are expensive; therefore, most kids in the district go on maybe 1-2 field trips a year. Co-op is an exception from the no parent-driven field trip rule. The usual field trip(s) in our district are: Karshner Museum (snooze), which is a Puyallup history museum (and is great the first year you go and in 3rd grade, when the kids are finally allowed to enter the tee-pee) is an annual field trip, and sometimes the PTA will help pay for bus transportation to a play or NW trek. Maya has gone on numerous field trips this year with her class--5 in March and April: Pioneer Farm Museum, Little Red Riding Hood play at the pantages in Tacoma (PTA paid for the bus...the entire 2nd grade attended), Karshner, Pippi Longstocking play in Olympia (parent driven) and a private screening of the film Earth at the local movie theater (walking field trip--parent chaperones).
If we leave the co-op, it will be with great sadness. At this point, I think we may stay for one more year and then go to the other school in 4th grade. I don't know. I feel like my kid will do really well at the new school; she already knows people there and has friends who go there. I think she may be more challenged at the new school, which is good. This school year has been such a Brain Jell-o kind of year for her; poor kiddo.

We have some thinking to do.

Oh, here's a picture of Maya doing something FUN and COOL in class recently; they were studying geometry, and they built robots using three dimensional objects. The end results were awesome.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

unintentionally cruel

I think that those of us who are parents have moments where we think, "my god, I really am a bad parent."

I had that moment--not for the first or last time, I'm certain-- on Thursday, March 26th at about 3:15pm.

That was when I paid someone almost $1,000 to turn my youngest daughter's mouth into something resembling a medieval torture device. To say I was shocked is an understatement; in fact, I keep thinking that I will take her back to the orthodontist's office and make him take the horrible thing out immediately.

She handled it well. When she looked at her reflection in the mirror, I expected her to break down in tears, which is what I wanted to do; however, she looked surprised but she seemed to accept her new appearance easily enough.

We had an event at school that night, and most of the kids who saw her asked, "What is that in your mouth?!?!?" A few kids reacted by looking at her like she was a freak and then ran away from her. Very few kids reacted that way, and I wasn't at all surprised to see which kids behaved that way. The next day, she took time during her class' morning meeting to talk about it (it's called a crib) and answer questions. Her teacher said she was very self-assured while talking about it and answering questions.

I don't know how I've raised such a confident and self-assured child because I am one of the most insecure and self-conscious women I know; I told Wayne it must be his share of DNA that makes her that way.

Observe the cruelty:

It's only 12-18 months, right?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

three orthodontists walk into a bar...

My kid has some jacked up teeth, which is the result of almost continuous finger sucking (left hand, ring and middle fingers together) since 6 months of age. She's now almost 8 1/2.
(Long boring story ahead for referance purposes mostly.)

We made appointments with two of the orthodontists in town. There are probably six in town, if I had to guesstimate; I chose to meet with one who we saw a few years ago for Brittani, who ended up *not* getting braces, and the other one I just pulled off of the Goooogle.

Our first appointment was with a Downtown Orthodontist (Dr. Sutherland); my first impression upon entering the office was how chaotic it was. The staff were very friendly, though. I sat down and noticed a wall of pamphlets, the titles of which escape me now, but the topics were Christian based. There were a few on Crisis Pregnancy (which is code for anti-abortion literature). Lots of godly literature. Marriage is meant for 1 man + 1 Woman kind of stuff; some Pray the Gay Away pamphlets, too, IIRC. That kind of disturbed me, but I am aware that he runs his own business and can display whatever literature he chooses. My dentist always has LDS magazines out, though he has finally added some good stuff--Us Weekly, People-- to his magazine library. My dentist is awesome, and he could have all that same literature out, and I would still see him. Good care is hard to find, you know.

So I gave this guy the benefit of the doubt. His treatment coordinator, Maritza, was awesome. Super nice and welcoming. The Dr came in, and what I loved about him was how he addressed Maya directly. *She* is the patient; I just pay the bill. He sat and talked with us about life in general: school, work, hobbies, etc. He didn't rush through the consultation exam; he gave us plenty of time for questions. He gave Maya a water bottle (the bad kind, though...BPA and all that).

The care plan at this point was to simply break the habit of sucking her fingers (thumbguard), and then he would see how her teeth fell into place, at which time, we would look into the next phase (braces, headgear, whatever else it will entail). The estimate was $880 with a 3% discount for full payment up-front (our insurance doesn't cover orthodontia).

The next appointment was several weeks later (mid January) with the Sunrise Orthodontist (Dr. Almond). We had seen this Dr before with Brittani. That was the Dr who gave us a $30,000+ estimate for her orthodontics and oral surgery. Wayne gets a bad vibe from the guy; he seemed nice enough to me in our prior visit, but his estimate was just so high and his treatment plan was so aggressive with Brittani (cut her lower jaw to shorten it, wire the jaw shut for a couple of months) that it was scary. Our dentist recommended that we not pursue that treatment with Brittani. He said, "If she was my kid, I wouldn't do it."

So that's our history with the Sunrise Orthodontist.
The office staff, of course, are super nice. They always are. Like the previous office, they do computerized check-ins that the patients initiate themselves. It's pretty cool.
We get back to see the Dr, and everything he says to Maya has to do with what he needs her to do ("open your mouth; bite down..."); there was no conversation between her and the Dr or between us and the Dr. He kept bringing up Brittani's bite, which was annoying. He was obsessed with Brittani's lower jaw, which caused him to really focus on that during Maya's visit.

His treatment plan was far more aggressive (of course): thumbguard (to prevent finger sucking) with expanders, braces on the front four teeth and headgear. $3700 for Phase 1. Wow.

I was *stunned* when we left his office.

How could two orthodontists have two totally different approaches to Maya's finger-sucking, and how do I make sense of it all? I may spend more at the Sunrise Ortho up front, but at least that cost is there, and I'm aware of it. On the other hand, I really just want her to stop sucking her fingers; I'm not worried about her bite or her jaw growth right now. She's 8!

I was concerned that all of that stuff together could be overwhelming for her. It's hard enough to stop a soothing habit, but to throw braces and headgear into the mix at the same time? I know my kid, and I know that would stress her out.

When we left that appointment, I knew we were in for another appointment with yet another orthodontist. I was getting really sick of orthodontist consults, and they work such wacky days that we ended up having to wait a few weeks for an appointment.

The final orthodontist we saw was a South Hill Orthodontist (Dr. Sutherland).
Again--office staff is great. The treatment coordinator was fabulous, as they all are; let me digress for a sec: The office staff are the salespeople; the Dr is the delivery guy. That seems to be the case for the offices we visited anyway. I think one would be hard-pressed to find an orthodontist office that has a really rude staff.

Okay, so we're chatting with the treatment coordinator while waiting for the Dr. Like the Downtown Orthodontist, the Dr and treatment coordinator really took time to talk with Maya and make her feel comfortable before they started poking and prodding around her mouth and face.

This orthodontist presented a similar treatment plan to what the Downtown Orthodontist presented. I asked about the headgear and braces, and he said that maybe in a few years but not now. He said his opinion is that she is still too young, and he wants to see how her teeth will come in without the fingers getting in the way. He said the headgear will change her jaw by just a few millimeters and that he doesn't see the benefit right now in her case.

The treatment plan he presented was a thumbguard for now with future orthodontia needs to be determined in the future. $800 with a 5% discount for full payment up-front.

Then we had to make a decision: which orthodontist do we go with?

The Downtown and South Hill orthodontists were our options. There was no way in hell we were going to the Sunrise Orthodontist; he is very aggressive (from our experience with both the girls we've taken to him for consultations), and when it comes to orthodontia, aggressive = expensive = his next family vacation. Also, I really didn't appreciate his lack of communication with Maya, especially when the other two were so warm and welcoming when they spoke to her and to me.

We ended up choosing the South Hill Orthodontist, but that was largely because of location. I would highly recommend either the Downtown Orthodontist or the South Hill Orthodontist, and I let the Downtown Orthodontist know that I loved their office, staff and Dr; it just saves us about 40 minutes per appointment to use the South Hill Orthodontist.

Maya had her first appointment with SHO yesterday to place the spacers; she did great. She has one more appointment next week, and then the week before spring break is when the thumbguard will be placed.

Wish me luck. That is not going to be an easy habit to break...

Friday, March 6, 2009


I'm looking at the weather report for Saturday and Sunday, and guess what I see?
I am so tired of this winter dreariness. It seems like winter gets longer and longer every year; I thought that with the extension of daylight saving time that winter would seem shorter, but nope.

I hate dst.
I always feel like I'm running late. I am always so relieved when we go back to standard time because dinner time doesn't happen 15 minutes after lunch time anymore. But then there's that whole dark at 2:30 crap to have to contend with. However, longer daylight hours just makes me feel like I need to make more use of the light. I don't like the government fiddling with my productivity guilt, so I think we should just decide to use one or the other. No more back and forth between dst and standard time; it just messes with my mind and body.

And I think it may cause cancer.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

nineteen eighty-nine

I have a daughter who is a senior.
Unless you, too, have had a child who is a senior, I don't think you can completely understand the stress, the pride, the fear and, in my case, the utter frustration that one feels as a parent of a senior.

Senior year is not an easy year for many kids. There are graduation requirements that need to be met (culminating project). There's the prospect of the future: Go to university? Community college? Tech school? Take a "gap year" and work, travel, loaf? Assert independence that you aren't so sure you're ready to wear? It's really, really tough. I know it has been *forever* since I was a senior in high school, but I remember the feelings that go with those decisions quite vividly because intensely felt feelings carve into your soul never to be forgotten.

I remember feeling that so many of my friends had their stuff together so much better than I. They were going to universities, community colleges. I didn't have a strong sense that I could take on those responsibilities. I was barely making it through my senior year! I felt a bit of a loss and that I was dangling out in the limboland of loserville. It pretty much sucked.

These are the things I remember as I see my own child struggle to fulfill her graduation requirements.

What saved me from myself my senior year...or, more specifically, *who* saved me from myself was a new teacher to our school. He was my horticulture teacher. I loved horticulture, and I still enjoy it, so don't mock. Plants are life and oxygen and are essential to our existence. Yeah, it would be considered a slacker class, but it was fulfilling--far more fulfilling to me then than, say, math.

Anyway, I was chronically truant. I had 20+ absences at one point in a semester, and it is easy to fall behind when one misses that many days in a semester. I was also taking a Zero Period class (I think it was History or Econ with Mr Kelly) and I had to take freaking Commercial Foods in order to get credit for my job. My senior year schedule sucked.

My horticulture teacher, Kirk Stuart, told me at one point that he was going to do whatever he could do to assure that I would graduate. He may have just wanted to get rid of me, but his motive is unimportant to me 20 years later. It was unimportant to me then. He was the only teacher I had in three years at that high school who appeared to care about my success at all. At that point, I think he cared more than I cared.

During my horticulture class, I would work on missing assignments from other classes. He'd help me if I needed it. He was a good guy.

I think about Mr. Stuart more than I think about any other teacher (except maybe Mrs. Pickens because I was just such a bitch to her--entirely unnecessarily, too). When I finally went back to school (community college), I thought of Mr. Stuart. What he did for me back in 1989 was really big of him. I don't know if I ever thanked him, but I am so grateful.

Now I see my kid fighting a system that can't be fought. She doesn't want to do certain things in order to graduate: compiling her portfolio from freshman through senior year, which includes 20 hours of community service, letters of recommendation, letters from college(s), resume, evidence of learning, etc, etc. It's a lot to do, and she has pretty much done none of it.

She won't listen to me because I am 20 years removed from high school, and she knows what a crap student I was because she mentions it often enough. Plus, I am her Mom. Moms are dumb. This I know because my Mom was dumb was I was Paige's age. I don't know what it is about moms, but once a kid turns about 16, the mom becomes retarded. I don't mean that in a derogatory way. I mean it literally. Their brains are not fully developed and are therefore reatrded in growth. For some reason, once the child reaches the age of about 20 or 21, his/her mom is suddenly normal again. It really sucks to be a mom in her retarded phase, which is what I am in now.

Paige needs a Mr. Stuart. A teacher who has confidence in her. A teacher who can relate to her. A teacher who can light a fire under her ass like no other person can. A teacher who believes she can graduate and then do whatever else she wants to do.

The problem is that Paige is not in a school with only 400-500 kids like my 9th-12th grade high school. She is in a 10th-12th grade high school that has more like 1500 kids. Her graduating class is *huge.* She disrespects her advisory teacher, who is supposed to walk her through this process. She has little to no respect for many of her teachers, and when you feel like a kid thinks you're slime, why would you ever invest your time and effort into helping her?

I know we'll make it through this year alive, and if she gets her ass in gear, she may even graduate on time with her peers.

Oy, but it's tough to be the parent of a senior.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

what will I be like when it comes time for her to go to college?

How important is a child's primary school years?
Maya is in 2nd grade, and she is part of a unique program within our school district; the program is multi-age (1-2 class, 3-4 class 5-6 class) and a full day kindergarten. It's been an excellent program for teaching leadership and mentoring skills, and the kids tend to do well-above average when tested in reading, writing and math. The class size tend to be smaller (low 20s or less compared to the 30s), and there is a minimum requirement for family volunteer hours. Field trips are taken at least once a month and sometimes more frequently.

I have to admit that I wasn't in love with Maya's 1st grade teacher, and there were some things she did that I strongly disagreed with as far as discipline within the classroom; however, aside from a few glaring exceptions, she had a great learning vibe in her class. The kids were always questioning and seeking answers. It was awesome.

She retired at the end of the year, and so Maya had a new teacher this year.

I love Maya's new teacher; if we were to go out for coffee, I could chat with her all day long. She's funny and personable; however, I hate how she runs her class. It's like stepping back in time 10-20 years. She is painfully traditional. If one were to walk in the classroom, it wouldn't be evident that it is a multi-age class. She has even admitted that she's not teaching multi-age; it's truly painful.

Recently it was announced that the beloved full-day Kindergarten co-op teacher's class will be cut to half-day. She doesn't want to do half-day and will leave the co-op if full-day is no longer an option. Ugh. She really gets the whole multi-age concept, and she is into the Responsive Classroom model, which is so cool. It would suck to lose her, and I feel (as many others do, too) that her absence will have a huge impact on the longevity of the co-op.

In addition to all of that, there is a new 3-4 co-op teacher this year, too. I haven't heard much about her. No one seems to be in love with what she is doing with the class, and no one seems to abhor what she's doing either. I want to be impressed with what is going on in the co-op classes, so I find it mildly upsetting that no one seems to have much to say about her.

Oh, and I also found out that our new principal, who is completely unsupportive of the co-op (the co-op consists of three multi-age classes and one full day K within a poorly performing public school; the kids in the co-op consistently test higher than the rest of the school) has decided that she will add 6th graders who are *not* part of the co-op to the co-op class because there are only 16 kids in the 5-6 co-op class; whereas there are 31 kids in some of the school's 6th grade classrooms. That action would totally undermine the concept of the co-op because those incoming kids' families would not be held to the same contracts that the rest of the families in co-op classes are held to.

All of these things have left me scrambling to find a really great educational model for my kid. Right now I have her on a waiver to attend the co-op. I drive her to school every day because there is no bus transport from our home to that school. We are contracted to 90 hours per year of volunteer time per school year (that's for one child; with each additional child the volunteer hour obligation increases). We pay for numerous field trips (an average of 2 per month) and a yearly registration fee. I want to see something different from the classrooms in my neighborhood school; otherwise, I might as well just stay in my neighborhood school and volunteer how ever much I want to volunteer and not spend money above and beyond what is required for normal public school education.

It's frustrating.

I found a great program, though. It's not in our district, so chances are slim that I could even get Maya into the school. It is about an hour away from where we live. It's a public school that is fully multi-age. Every class is either K-1-2 or 3-4-5. It looks amazing. They do an out-of-district lottery in the spring, and I think we might try our luck and see if we can get Maya in for the '09-'10 school year. We can do that until she's in 6th grade and then come back for 6th grade to our current co-op program. I've heard really good things about the 5-6 co-op teacher.

I never thought I would worry so much about primary and intermediate education for my kid, but I don't want her academic spirit to be killed. Already this year, her creative writing, which is one of her strengths, has diminished. Creativity, expression and exploration are simply not fostered this year, and it makes me so sad. Leadership and mentoring, which are cornerstones of muti-age learning, have been completely discarded.

What I would prefer is to change the existing program back to the vital and innovative program that was once its reputation, but if no one else is able to see the disintegration that is happening within the co-op, I will definitely take my kid to a school an hour away...if she can get in. If she can't get into the other school, I may just go to the school up the street. I don't know.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

bad girls

Facebook is a bizarre thing.
Last night I added a girl I was friends with in junior high. Until I started writing back and forth with her, I had forgotten how crazy my junior high years were.

It also brought me back to this weird place.

I lived in the same neighborhood for 11 years or so, and I went to school with many of the same kids from elementary school through junior high. Just as I was getting ready to go on to the high school with my friends, my parents moved me to another town, another school. It worked out well enough-- I loved the high school I went to, once I warmed up to it, and I love(d) the friends I made there. That said, there are a lot of people that I went to school with for years and years that I have a ton of memories with, who graduated from a different high school-- a high school whose reunion I won't be part of. It feels weird. Sometimes I get mixed up and think a kid I went to junior high with is a kid with whom I went to high school. Or vice versa.

Anyway, my friend Denice, she cracked me up the night we were talking via Facebook. We did some crazy things together, and we really gave our parents serious headaches. I completely forgot all of that until we started to catch-up. Talking to Denice really made me miss the friends I had in my old neighborhood; we were a plentiful and fairly tight bunch of kids. My other friend from back then, Angie, has added several kids from Inglewood hill (our 'hood) and our junior high (Evergreen!) to her fb. I may end up copying her :-)

Thursday, January 15, 2009


What do you when you are 38, you have an 18 year old, a 16 year old and an 8 year old, and your period is 12 days late?

Freak out and then buy an ept.

Thankfully it (they) was (were) negative. It really scared me, though, because when a woman's husband has had a vasectomy, she trusts that pregnancy is not something she ever has to worry about again.

Wayne never went back to the doctor after his vasectomy to have his sperm count verified as zero, and I told him that he needs to go do that, um, now. I really don't want to become pregnant again. Five years ago, I would have been okay with it, but now? I would be actively parenting minor children from age 19 to age 56. I love my kids, but the idea of raising young ones for an additional 18+ years exhausts me to no end.

I guess I should schedule an appointment with my doctor, though, to get a check-up and make sure nothing too funny is going on in my reproductive organs. It's probably just peri-menopause--I saw an episode on perimenopause on Oprah last week.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


We're in Leavenworth and it's wonderful, as usual. We have a different room-- we always have the same room, so a new room is, well, weird. It's still a nice room, though: jacuzzi tub, king bed, suite with a private balcony.

No kids with us this year, which is different but good. We didn't get to go away on our yearly anniversary trip to Deep Forest Cabins, and this trip makes me miss that trip even more, but it's okay.

It's very quiet and still here now. Town is quiet--probably because of the recent flooding and the mountain passes were closed for a couple of days. Wayne is at some lecture right now...or talk..or whatever they call it. Something about families and the ICU. He loves his work, and he loves to learn more about how he can do what he does even better than he does it now.

No TV.
No Radio.
Just silence.
And a glowing monitor...

It's very nice.

I have a new series starting on Monday. The one couple has decided to drop, though their baby does not appear to have Down syndrome. They expect numerous other health complications in the infant. Mom said that the drs are telling her that she will be on strict bedrest before too long and that the baby will likely "be taken" early. To "be taken" usually means born by cesarean.

Last night Wayne received a facebook friend notification thingy. An ex...I don't know how to describe her... Just an Ex, I guess. Anyway, it was her. She has contacted him sine we have been together-- letters and phone calls that were rather pleading, if I recall correctly. It was a long time ago, though. She was long forgotten until thsi request came through.

He immediately wanted to ignore it. What!? He is such a guy. I made him accept it. I threatened to be angry with himif he didn't acceot it. He doesn't understand: accept it, so you can look at her profile. I had never seen her, only heard about her. I had to see.

So I looked through her profile and became slightly obsessed. I began asking a bunch of questions about his relationship with her that was 13 or so years ago. Like it even matters. It was well before us, and he has always said she was a nutcase.

So that led me to look at his facebook because of course, if he's (well, I'm) looking at hers, she's probably looking at his. And guess what? Not a single picture of me or us on his facebook. Then I get grumpy. Then he deleted her from his friends list because it was making me slightly insane.

It was all fun, and I wasn't really angry, and he didn't get angry--there was definitely no arguing during this Just an Ex Facebook Debacle-- it's just weird when you think that we each had these different lives before we met each other. I told him, "the odd thing is that now you KNOW she was actually looking for you on facebook." You just never know who out there is looking for you.

Thursday, January 8, 2009


This month marks the beginning of my seventh year of teaching natural childbirth classes.
I can't believe all the wonderful families I've been able to work with; each couple has taught me something new about pregnancy, birth and relationships.

I've been fortunate to have taught for this long without any major incidents with my students-- like injury and death.

I have a new series beginning on Monday. It was scheduled to begin January 26th, so I called my registered students to see if they would be down with beginning on the 12th instead. One mom I talked to received some unexpected news in late December right before the holidays: her baby is not developing as expected, and the prediction is that the baby has Down syndrome. I didn't know what to say. She had to wait until this week to find out more information because, of course, many people take time off for the holidays. She told me, "I'm sorry if I start crying." Oh. I feel awful that she felt the need to say that.

She said that she and her husband are fine with the baby having Down syndrome, it's the unknown that is scary...and the fact that everything that she thought was normal and predictable is now unknown and unpredictable. I am so sad for her--not because of anything that may be "wrong" with her baby-- because being pregnant, giving birth and having a baby can be such a fearful time for women and to top it off with the unknown and the waiting to's just so hard.

I imagine that she will choose to not take my class. The baby will be taken from her immediately after his birth. There will be no immediate skin to skin or putting the baby to breast. She can still have a natural birth, though, unless something else arises that I am unaware of at this time. I try to imagine what it would be like for me to take a birthing class with women who are having perfectly healthy babies knowing that I am having a child with multiple health issues. I think it would be painful, but I also think that the experience can be positive for her and for those in class with her. Her experience can really touch others in ways that she may be unable to imagine right now and may really lift her spirits.

I feel for her, and I wish there was something I could do for her.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

slumdog millionaire

For Christmas, Wayne and I were given 4 pairs of movie tickets from Costco from my parents. They really are the best gift because Wayne and I love, love, love to see a good film, but we can rarely justify the expense. I'd rather wait for it to come on DVD than pay those insane prices. At home I'm also able to sit through an entire movie without people kicking the back of my seat and talking all throughout. Plus there's "pause" for when I have to pee.

However, at home there's no movie theater popcorn, which I love too much.

Wayne and I used the first pair of tickets last night. We went out to dinner at Blue Island Sushi Roll in Federal Way, which is really yummy. I love it there. Then we headed to Auburn to watch Slumdog Millionaire.

Oh. My. God.

It was the most moving, beautiful, horrifying and tragic film I have seen in a very long time.
I knew nothing about the flick except that it was about an 18 year old Indian guy who was looking for his lost love while on the Indian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. The plot description didn't grab me, but all I heard from anyone anywhere was how wonderful this movie was.

Oh. My. God.

I am really not overstating. It was the best film I have seen in I can't remember how long. I laughed. I cried. I cried some more. And then as credits rolled, I laughed as I cried. I can't get the damn movie out of my mind. I keep reading that the cultural and societal portrayals are accurate, which kills me. If kids really do live like that in India, it is disgraceful. It absolutely breaks my heart.

So go now to fandango to see where Slumdog Millionaire is playing near you.
I think I may go see it again and drag my mom and sister with me (well, I probably won't have to actually drag them); I don't think I have ever gone to the theater to see a movie more than once.

I can't wait until it comes out on DVD.