Sunday, July 29, 2012

what's a girl to do?

Being a parent is hard.
Being a teacher is hard.
Being both to the same person is . . . well, I'm not even sure.

Homeschooling was different. I could handle that. There was no outside drama - it was just me, just the kids, it was wonderful.

This is different.

When you teach what I teach, things can get sticky.
Kooka was chosen for a lead role in a camp musical - THE lead role.
I can't win here.  If I don't let her have it, I'm not doing my job as a mom. She deserves this opportunity, she's a hard worker, a talented kid, she's done plenty of chorus work and bit parts, she's paid her dues. Plus, the two other girls that could have possibly done it had leads the past two years.

BUT, if I do let her do this, it is my reputation on the line - my gig as a teacher. If she blows it, people will call it nepotism. Let's face it, even if she Doesn't blow it, people will call it nepotism. And theoretically, I could give somebody else a chance, I can alway teach her in my living room - right?


Saturday, July 28, 2012

my new best song

especially when Rico and I are dancing on the deck with the fireflies.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

happy 2nd birthday

Yoda celebrated her second birthday today.  It was and absolutely lovely little barbecue filled with balloons, and laughter and Mickey Mouse cake. It was especially wonderful because of the discussion that Rico and I had the night before.  

I am a worrier by nature - everything that could go wrong probably will, and when it does, I am certain that I'll be there. Of course - that's not usually how it works - like today for example.
I was telling Rico, that I feel badly for Yoda.  Punk and Kooka have a large extended family - and they are close by. Yoda is different.  She has one grandfather, and one great-grandmother. She likes to visit them, but neither of them are in a position to babysit her, to take her to the park, to bake cookies, or even make it up the three steps of our home to come to her birthday party. She will never know the feeling of spending the night at grandma's house, or going fishing with grandpa - never - and it breaks my heart.  
But today, made my heart feel whole again.  They may not be relatives - but today she was surrounded by people she loves - by people who love her, and even though the birthday song freaked out just a little bit - you could tell that today, she felt like the luckiest little girl in the world. video

yoda's cake


Thursday, July 19, 2012

not that I'm bragging . . .

Because it certainly isn't my place to brag - but Punk is not the type, and I think his latest drawing is worthy of a little praise.  He was writing a thank-you note to Rico's buddy Frank, and decided to turn both of them into the caped crusaders.  I think it's absolutely fantastic . . .

Saturday, July 14, 2012

summer fun

I love summer in Minnesota.  It's laid back, the weather is gorgeous, the backyard pool is always full of sunshine and kids and laughter. It's a great place to grow up, a great place to be a kid, a great place to come home to after road trips. But there is one thing about Minnesota summers that I simply can't tolerate:


It's hot, it's overcrowded, it costs $7 for a slice of cheese pizza, and worst of all it's like a nesting ground for people who absolutely refuse to teach their kids any common courtesies (pushing, shoving, throwing water in babies faces).
Oh yeah - I loathe this place.

So when Rico snagged free tickets for the whole family and asked if I'd like to go, I said, "No."
"It'll be fun."
"But it's totally free."
"The kids will love it.

Needless to say, I was outvoted - but not completely wrong.

After waiting 35 minutes for a $17 dollar cheeseburger and chips, fighting off nausea (because the only rides our kids like are the spinny ones), and arguing with a toddler whose decided she hates shoes, but wants to walk on the burning asphalt - even Rico conceded.

Our kids went on a combined total of nine rides - COMBINED - and that's including the fact that Yoda rode these ladybugs three times.

A short stop at the waterpark cooled us off, but ended with Yoda pleading for a nap as we were gridlocked in the lazy river.

I love Rico. I love his job. I love that he wanted to take us somewhere fun. But I hate Valleyfair.

Friday, July 13, 2012


Punk rarely poses for a picture, but since he failed to turn in his school picture form not once, but twice, I forced him into a few snapshots with me at the local college.

Punk's changed a lot this summer. All for the better. He is finding his way - happy, confident, comfortable with who he is and the choices he's making. Middle School was tough for him at first.  Not that he'd let anyone but his family know it. But now - things are different - he's more teenager than kid, and while I miss that little boy terribly, I absolutely adore the funny, laid-back, sweet-tempered guy he's turning out to be.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

top ten places every kid should see - by kooka

So here is Kooka's list. Lots of the same stops - but for different reasons.

10) Las Vegas, Nevada: It's like candy for your eyes. There are so many things to see, and we didn't have much time, so it never got boring.

9) Spy Museum, Washington DC: It's not just a museum, it's more like an adventure.  You can press buttons, and climb up ladders and go down chutes. It was one of my favorite parts of Washington DC. My mom liked when we were all assigned spy roles and had to remember all of our info just to get in the door. My brother liked the amazing disguises.

8) The Rainbow Fountains at Ellis Square in Savannah, Georgia: The fountains are perfect for a nice hot summer day (or night). We went on a walk one night and saw water squirting up from these rainbow lights. Noah and I played in it for a while - and by a while I mean a loooooooooooooooooooong time. My mom and Rico had to drag us out of there and we walked home in soaking wet clothes, but we didn't care.

7) Savannah's Candy Kitchen, Savannah, Georgia: Remember the fountains? Well, we loved them so much, that we went back the next day, but on our way there we stopped at this candy shop. It's not just a shop, they make fudge and prailenes and caramel apples, and TAFFY!  we could see the taffy being made, wrapped and carried by a conveyor belt into the bucket.

6)The Rocky Mountains, Colorado: I got kinda freaked out by the car ride up the mountain, but once we were up there it was amazing! It looked like God's playground.  There were no limits on exploring and I felt like a giant up there. We were on the divide so Noah spent his time spitting over the edges to send his spit either to the Pacific or Atlantic ocean.  We also got to have a snowball fight in July!

5) The Henry Doorly Zoo, Omaha, Nebraska: This zoo isn't just a zoo, it's more of a playground. Something that really sticks in my head is the giant 15 foot hole filled with water - with NO FENCE around it! And if I were a parrot living there I would be in heaven  -they were free to go anywhere they wanted. There is also a giant bridge to walk across - it was really teetery and I felt like I was really exploring in the jungle.

4) Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin: I've been to a few trips to Wisconsin Dells, and the things that stand out to me are Rick Wilcox magic show, Wizard Quest, and all of the waterparks.

 3) Fort De Soto State Park in Florida: It was absolutely clear! The sand was white. My brother and I stayed in there forever, and I wasn't even afraid of sharks - because you could see everything!  My mom and Rico finally made us leave, but this is a great memory that sticks in my head.

2) The City Museum, St. Louis, Missouri: Not only is this place GREAT to explore, but it's made of entirely recycled materials. (and it doesn't smell bad). My favorite part was all of the little tunnels and coves and caves.

1) Disney World, Orlando, Florida: Every child should go to Disney World in their lifetime.  It doesn't matter if it's for an hour, a day, a week, a YEAR (hint hint), but it's so magical - even if you are 99 years old, you are still going to love this place!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Title 1

New iPad apps for blogger sort of wreck my mojo.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

top ten places every kid should see - by punk

As we begin our annual road trip planning, I thought it might be a good idea to ask Punk and Kooka about their favorite travel memories.  Granted, they haven't yet seen the world - or even all of the U.S.A., but they each have a list of favorites.

In his own words, here is Punk's top ten:

10) The Badlands of South Dakota:  I liked how much there was to explore - tons of little crevices and cliffs and adventure.

9) The Smithsonian Museums in Washington DC:  I loved all of the museums, but really remember the astronaut exhibit and the art museum. I liked it all so much that it's hard to pick just a few special  things.


8) Cajun Adventures New Orleans Swamp Tour:  It was so cool to just see real, wild alligators jumping through the air to catch marshmallows. The swamp atmosphere looked like Yoda's home in Star Wars.

7) Fort DeSoto State Park in Tierra Verde, Florida: This gulf coast beach is gorgeous.  It was insane how crystal clear the water was.  I have not been to any other beach where you could see the sunlight hitting the ocean floor.  Not to mention that the sand was as white as salt.  If God has a swimming pool, it looks like this.

6)Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin: I love how many different things there are to see and do.  You will never get bored here (if you have enough money to go around).  My favorite places are Top Secret, Wizard Quest, and the World's Largest Candy Shop.

5) Las Vegas, Nevada: I like all of the lights, everything was just so bright and colorful and alive. I love the sideways elevators in the Luxor, and the street artists.

4)Henry Doorly Zoo, Omaha, Nebraska:  It's amazing how well this zoo is designed - it made me feel like I was really in the jungle.  They made it exciting just walking through the place to the next exhibit.

3)The City Museum in St. Louis, Missouri: It's like the coolest playground you've ever been to, and it's all made of junk and spare parts. I love how they made everything super visually attractive, but still fun to interact with and climb on and play with - and slightly dangerous.

2) Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida: Everything there was fantastic.  I'm a movie buff and you can tell how much work they put into making you feel completely immersed in their movies and their world. My favorite rides were Men In Black, The Mummy, The Simpsons and Spiderman.

1)Disney World in Orlando, Florida: I just think this is something that every kid should see, because it's the place where so many well-loved characters come to life.  It's such a magical feeling, even as an older kid, to be in the place where all of your childhood memories live.