multi-hyphenated-me

the hyphens that define my life

Yogi Love September 17, 2014

Back to school germs have got the best of me this week.  Or maybe it was the filth and grime I breathed in while cleaning out three kids bedrooms and closets this weekend (we’ve only lived here a year, HOW do they accumulate so much dirt?).  Whatever the cause, I have been suffering since Sunday.  It’s only Wednesday, not that long, but too long when you’re me.  Or when you are you.  Ain’t nobody got time to be sick.  Our plates our full, our lives continue whether we are sick or well, and we have to either keep up or check out.

Today I finally “called in” sick.  It is hard to call in sick when you work from home.  Earlier this week, I shuffled along in my sweats and slippers and worked with my head on my desk and used tissues littering the floor.  Pretty.  Today, though, I hit a new low and had to call in to check out and take a midday nap.  I woke refreshed and marginally recovered and went back to work, shuffling back out to my desk in my slippers, kicking tissues out of the way.

There are probably many factors to my recovery upswing, including time, ibuprofen and acetaminophen, and sleep, but I am attributing my overall feeling-betterness to Yogi Tea.  Not just any Yogi Tea, specifically Cold Season, Throat Coat, Echinacea Immune Support and Deep Breathe organic herbal teas.  This collection of teas contains common and atypical ingredients from cinnamon, astragalaus, eucalyptus, yarrow flower, peppermint, mullein, cardamom seed, thyme leaf, wild cherry bark, slippery elm bark and tulsi leaf.  A wild combination  that work.  I don’t promote many products, if any, but these Yogi Teas get my full endorsement.

My throat was sore and raw from lovely postnasal drip.  Once cup of throat comfort tea and the effect was noticeably better.  I rotate through the collection each day, enjoying a good, hot cup of tea with a purpose.  My chest congested, Breathe Deep, to the rescue.

As day 4 of my malady comes to an end, I can breathe, I can hear, my body and head ache less and my cough is sporadic.  My voice is still pretty haggard and my energy is low but, as stated earlier, I’m on the upswing.

Before you find yourself combatting back to school germs or the affects of wild dust bunnies, I highly recommend you stock up on Yogi Teas – Cold Season, Breathe Deep, Echinacea Immune Support and Throat Coat.

This concludes my old lady illness gripes and product promotional tour. [cough] [sneeze] I need a cup o’ Yogi Tea.

Disclaimer:  This is not a paid endorsement, no animals were injured in the writing of this promotion, and my only goal is to be well.

I hope the same for you, be well.

 

 

 

Oh Joy! September 15, 2014

Talking about our problems is our greatest addiction. 

Break the habit.

Talk about your joys. ~ Rita Schiano

Today’s joy in two words:  Beer Bread.

Last week, my husband came home from having lunch out at the local gastropub and reported they are no longer making or serving beer bread with their soup.  He was sad, almost devastated.  He loved that bread.

I make bread occasionally but dismissed his bread mourning because I am working hard to drop 20 pounds and bread is not part of my program.  Using the My Fitness Pal app and website (www.myfitnesspal.com), I log my food intake and cardio exercise with the hope that I’m burning more than I’m taking in.  Also, along with my co-workers, I’ve joined the Whole Life Challenge (www.wholelifechallenge), a team based approach to improving your whole life through a point based system related to diet, exercise, mobilization, water, supplement and lifestyle.  With my co-workers, we are playing with the goal of being the biggest loser at the end of eight weeks.  Motivation enough for me.

On Sunday, I woke up with cold symptoms, that were noticeable but manageable.  Today, I woke up congested with a fiery sore throat.  Must be back to school season.  Great. Chicken vegetable soup to the rescue.  Comfort food that keeps my diet on track.  Since I’m sick, I’m weak.  I opened the fridge and noticed a bottle of an IPA we don’t like, taking up space and I get the idea to make my husband happy and make beer bread.

Beer bread is so easy – why haven’t I made this before?  Here’s the recipe I used:

3 cups self-rising flour

1/3 c. sugar

12 oz bottle of beer

Grease pan.  350 degree oven. Mix all ingredients together.  Put dough into pan.  I let the dough sit for 30 minutes to double in size for a lighter loaf.   Bake for 45 minutes.  Crust is crunchy, chewy inside.  Serve warm.

My house smelled fantastic while the bread was baking.

Chicken soup is always good, paired with beer bread it is a belly full.  Not what I needed but my man and boys loved it.  I did too.

My five Whole Life Challenge nutrition points were sacrificed today for the sake of beer bread (and butter and strawberry jam).  However, my overall caloric intake and 2.5 mile walk kept me where I need to be so I’m happy with the sacrifice.  Somebody had to eat it.

While we’re talking about the joys in our lives, let’s talk about making jam. I love making jam, eating jam and giving jam as gifts. Recently, word has gotten out and my top secret jam recipe has been unveiled – I follow the recipe on the box of pectin.  Shocker!  I do make some wild variations, but, when it comes to basic jam, I keep it simple and follow directions.

Find joy in your life – make some bread, make some jam, eat some jam and bread. Your family will love you. Then be sure to get out, get your body moving and exercise.

 

 

 

 

Be Still My Heart September 12, 2014

My heart has had a rough week.

Learning of my friend’s cancer diagnosis and 9/11 memorials would be enough for most, but no, God knows I’m capable of carrying big, heavy crosses.  That’s why I have so many children, they keep my heart pounding.

Early in the week, I stood outside of our temporary elementary school (our actual school is under complete renovation) waiting for our fourth and fifth graders release.  Our 10 year old fifth grader reached me first with a warning that his younger brother got in big trouble today.  I throw my head back, looking at the sky, and moan FUUUUUUU—-

I’m interrupted.  A fellow 4th grade classmate is telling his mom how my son and another boy (oh good, we’re not in this alone) got in big trouble.  Great, we’re gossip fodder.

Wait, I thought to myself, why, if he’s in so much trouble, didn’t I get a phone call report or summons to the office?

I asked my son to tell me what happened quick before his brother reached us.  Something, something something, he kicked a ball and hit a window.

Cha-ching.  Now I see dollar signs.  Grrrrreat.

Our youngest catches up with us and is calm and cool.  No concerns, no issues, hurray school’s out.  I’m strung out enough at this point to not wait for him to get around to the confession.  I said, “So I hear you got in trouble today.” Shrugs his shoulders, “No, no trouble.”

His brother looks at me, raises his eyebrows and shakes his head no.

“Really,” I asked, “You didn’t get in trouble for kicking a ball at the window.”

“What?!”  he shouts “[my friend] kicked the ball at the window while he was trying to hit me. I was climbing up on the fire escape and was almost on the roof!”

“What were you doing on the fire escape?”

“[My teacher] gave me permission to go out on the fire escape to get a ball, she didn’t know I would climb so high.”  He disclaimed that he didn’t get in trouble for climbing on the fire escape, just for climbing to the top.  Brilliant.  His friend didn’t get in trouble for hitting the window either.

“Just get in the car.”

I really thought that would be the heart-stopper of the week.  No such luck.

My oldest son came home today and said the kid he typically walks home with wasn’t at school today.  “Oh,” I said, “did you walk home alone?” He asks if he can talk to me in the other room and we walk from the kitchen to the living room.  “Remember that strawberry-blond girl you pointed out to me last year,” he questioned looking sheepish.  “She lives down the street and we walked home together.  I got her Kik.”   “Cool,” I played it off like I meant it.

I am not ready for this.  Everybody just slow down.

My collegiate daughter texted me that she saw a video of a woman giving birth today.  She wrote, “You will not be getting grandkids from me.”

Fine, no surprise there.  School is your bae (before anything else), let’s keep it that way.

My 10 year old is the only one that didn’t tread heavily on my heart this week.  Gold star.

 

 

 

 

 

 

13 Years Ago, Today September 11, 2014

Filed under: Life — multihyphenatedme @ 8:39 pm
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Today, 9/11.

I read several articles, saw many photographs and watched a few videos related to the terrorist attacks thirteen years ago.

Many things affected me then, and affected me today.

Six moments of silence were observed this morning in New York City:

8:46 when the North Tower was hit

9:03 when the South Tower was hit

9:37 when the Pentagon was hit

9:59 when the South Tower collapsed

10:03 when the hijacked plane crashed in Pennsylvania

10:28 when the North Tower collapsed.

In total, 2,977 victims from 90 countries.  Not included in the number of casualties are the 6,294 that were treated for injuries.

3 additional people died from exposure to dust.

1,140 responders have been diagnosed with cancer.

1,400 9/11 rescue workers have died since the attacks, responding to the scene months after the attacks.

11 unborn babies died on 9/11. The numerical relationship is not lost on me.

Nor do these numbers include the deaths of the 17 hijacking terrorists.  [insert scream] [insert multiple expletives] [insert tears]

Horrific.  Tragic.  Senseless.

My words fall short.

Tonight at dinner, our family observed a moment of silence for those lost, those suffering and their families.

One hundred and ninety words in, I too will be silent.

 

 

 

Family Meal September 10, 2014

Filed under: Family — multihyphenatedme @ 9:39 pm
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A friend recently commented that our family focuses on meals, instead of just getting something to eat.  A true statement, I’m a three square kinda gal.  I love when my family gathers around the table to share a meal. We’re a good combination, I love to cook, the kids are growing and are eating machines and my husband just loves food. Family meals, at any meal, are my favorite time of day.

Thanks to the internet, I found these family meal facts interesting –

Family dinners are more important than play, story time and other family events in the development of vocabulary of younger children. (Harvard Research, 1996)

Frequent family meals are associated with a lower risk of smoking, drinking and using drugs; with a lower incidence of depressive symptoms and suicidal thoughts; and with better grades in 11 to 18 year olds. (Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 2004)

Adolescent girls who have frequent family meals, and a positive atmosphere during those meals, are less likely to have eating disorders. (University of Minnesota, 2004)

Kids who eat most often with their parents are 40% more likely to say they get mainly A’s and B’s in school than kids who have two or fewer family dinners a week. (National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University)

Well….

Though three to four family meals per week is recommend, we have family meals five to seven nights a week and there have been some grade issues with the teenagers in our house.  Dang it!  A good meal isn’t the be all end all to good grades? Apparently kids still have to study, want to learn, pay attention and do their homework.

I am convinced the boys have bottomless pits for stomachs, my husband claims their before bedtime snacks are a growing boy thing.  My husband will reminisce about the amount of food he remembers eating while growing up – whole roast chicken or a whole pizza, eat boxes of cereal and gallons of milk, and on and on.  Not an eating disorder but enormous amounts of food….times 3.

Our youngest happens to be the chattiest of the bunch.  I wonder if the correlation between vocabulary development and family dinner also has anything to do with birth order.  We had a full table by the time he joined the party!

Our family meals are always fun and happy.  That’s a bold-faced lie.  We are a family with lots of moods and personalities and likes and dislikes with places to be and people to see.  Sometimes are meals are rushed, fast and furious.  Sometimes somebody is mad at someone or just mad at the world. We all have our favorite foods and foods we would rather not eat.  Schedules make it tough, but meal planning helps. Manners are learned at our table. No TV, no phones, no games, just an opportunity to sit down and eat, talk and connect.

We try.  We gather.  We talk.  We eat. We clean up together.  Our ritual works for us.  Our tradition, our practice, of eating meals together is engrained in who we are as a family.

In honor of National Bacon Day, we had BLTA’s (A for Avocado) for dinner tonight.  Not fancy, but the homegrown tomatoes were delicious (except the boys wouldn’t know, they don’t like tomatoes).

 

Be well my friend September 9, 2014

At the northwest corner, where the road met the state route, stood a four bedroom, two bathroom bluish-grayish farmhouse and a big, old white barn. In the house lived a family, the parents with a son, the oldest, and two daughters.  The youngest daughter was a mischievous child with brown hair, brown eyes and a strong willed spirit that took her on many adventures  and got her into plenty of trouble.

The summers of her elementary school years were spent playing jump rope, football with the few neighborhood boys and girls, and playing school (as nutty as that sounds, so many girls spend their summers playing school, when they couldn’t wait for the school year to end).  The kids drank Kool-Aid by the gallon and ate popsicles wear cut-offs while swinging on either the tire swing or rope swing that hung from the Black Walnut and Northern Catalpa trees in the neighbor’s yard.

When life was moving by too slowly, the girl and her friends would smash large Catalpa worms, spraying green caterpillar goo on each other.  Or, without permission, the kids would swim in the ponds located in the quarry behind the neighborhood, taking care to pull the leaches off of one another after a quick dip in the cool water.  Or, if trapped in the house, reading her older sister’s diary was always thrilling. The kids felt like they owned the world, that is, until the older siblings got involved.

The girl’s brother once turned the farm rooster loose in the yard.  He chased the rooster and the rooster, wings spread, standing tall, chased the girl and her friend.  The girl and her friend ended up cowering on top of the picnic table as her brother, close to ten years older, kept the rooster near as he mimicked an old Ritz Cracker commercial starring Andy Griffith (of the Andy Griffith Show, you know, with Don Knotts and Opie and Aunt Bee). In the commercial, Andy Griffith said, “Everything tastes better on a Ritz Cracker.”  In real life, the crazed brother and that frightening rooster ran around the table chanting in a wicked witch voice “You girls would taste GREAT on a burnt Ritz Cracker.”  The girl and her friend paid back the brother when he was stuck babysitting during a sleepover.  The girls were rummaging through the bathroom looking for makeup to try on and accidently broke the mercurial thermometer.  The brother was convinced he was going to die from mercury poisoning.

The girl grew into a teenager, into a woman, a wife, a mom and a grandmother.  The girl and her friend separated near the end of their elementary years as the friend moved away. By the Power of Facebook, the friends reunited in the past few years.

The girl is my oldest friend. The above story was conjured up from pasted together fragments of my memory and may or may not be true.  What is sadly true is that I learned yesterday that my friend has breast cancer.  She spent today being tested to see if the cancer had metastasized anywhere else in her body.  Thoughts of her filled my mind today.  Be well my friend.

 

Thought of the Week: Attitude September 8, 2014

Eleven years ago, I joined a company by pitching the idea to hire me in order to meet their growth goals.  They, to my shock and surprise, agreed.  When hired, because the position was new to everyone, we couldn’t decide on a title, so we opted for a three part title divided by backslashes until the dust settled.  One of the backslash titles was “Special Projects,” a catch-all role that tasked me with some diverse, some wacky, some fun and some effective projects.  The backslash titles and most of the projects have gone to the wayside as my primary function and responsibility have grown with the company.  The lone Special Project task that has carried on all these years is sending out a weekly companywide email, known as the “Thought of the Week.”

The weekly “Thought of the Week” emails are motivational or inspirational quotes said  by anyone, from Dr. Seuss to Mahatma Ghandi.  I choose the quotes at random yet they typically reflect a current event, holiday or whatever strikes my mood.  This week to honor my kids first full week back to school, this thought email was sent:

Coincidence

Though I say this photo circulated through Facebook, I was inspired to send this thought email out after it was forwarded to me from a co-worker and friend.  I’m fairly certain he sent this to me as a “hey, check this out” email, and was not telling me to check my attitude.  No, not me.

My kids thought this was awesome.  From the responses received from co-workers thanking me for this message for getting their brains thinking on this Monday, I can tell they liked it too.  They tallied up other words too, inspiration, inspirational, persevere, but none reach one hundred percent. I find this fascinating (fascinating = 103, in case you’re wondering).

I love receiving feedback from co-workers on the weekly quotes I send out.  Sometimes I just hear that they love to receive the quotes, others comment on how the quote resonates with where they are in life.  Sometimes the quotes fall flat and I hear from no one, and that’s ok.  I’m not sending them for a response, I send them to our creative bunch to inspire, motivate and as a reminder that we are all in this boat, in stormy seas or still water, together.

The message in this week’s quote is a good, simple reminder that attitude is everything. My kid’s attitude toward school is good and positive as of this morning, but I know this could change at any minute, any day and continue to flip flop through the year.  Employee attitude, my attitude, equally waffles.  Workload stress, work/life balance stress, control, appreciation, encouragement, and attitudes of others play part in the health of our attitudes.

I am a glass half full, optimistic, positive person (with an affinity for f-bombs) yet a piss poor attitude plagues me more often than I care to share.  A good attitude one hundred percent of the time is difficult! With these 500+ words, I promise to TRY 100% of the time to have a good attitude, or maybe just LOOK like I’m trying.

In the words of Tupac Shakur, “You gotta be able to smile through all this bullshit.”

 

Walk the Talk September 6, 2014

Filed under: Life — multihyphenatedme @ 10:12 pm
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Whether we’re discussing parenting, leadership or every day life, walking the talk is essential to your credibility.  Parents, leaders and everyone should be accountable to their words and do what they say they are going to do.  Sounds simple, yet daily we stumble.  We’re human.  Shit happens.  I get it, though it is important that you learn from your mistakes.

As the result of my husband’s detention hall experience, known as J.U.G, Justice Under God, in Jesuit high school where he had to write essays with an ever changing assigned number of words, in our house, if our kids “forget” to do a homework assignment, bring something to school or home, or choose not to do extra credit assignments (our rule is to always do extra credit for the practice or the extra points, mandatory, no exceptions), or the like, they must answer to J.U.G.  I think I’m being lenient assigning 10 behavior altering sentences instead of, say, a 500 word essay.  They are tortured at the mere thought of writing sentences.  J.U.G. is a powerful three letter word in our home.

These are not easy, “I will not forget my saxophone” sentences.  We like to focus on the positive habit forming sentence “To be a better person takes practice; moreover, you need to have all resources available with which to practice, including my saxophone.”  Ten times, please.  Effective?  You betcha.  Each kid will write sentences at least once during the school year, rarely but occasionally twice, never three times.

Before anyone goes crazy on me for being a mean mom (I already have a badge, fyi), they know all about J.U.G. before the big day arrives.  My kids also get one freebie, one warning that J.U.G. is next and BAM!  Third times the charm, start writing.  All is fair in love, school and war.

Unfortunately, I have smart children.  They turned on me this year and asked what I would do if I forgot to put lunch money in their accounts, washed their clothes, bought what they needed or, you know, the occasional forgot to pick you up from school.  Damn it, they’re on to me!  Of course I thought “Hurray my kids are brilliant!”  But yo’ momma is one step wiser. Silly kids forgot that I love to write!  If they accepted their fate with J.U.G. (without fits or fights), I would agree to write 500 words per school day to show them that it can be done.  Done deal.

For you, dear reader, this means, after a sporadic blogging year, my blog is back in full force.  Monday through Friday, I will post 500 words each day on a wide variety of topics, but my usual favorites, me, my kids, gardening, cooking and books and then back to me.  As much as I love to write, this could be a challenge.  Thankfully their are plenty of school holidays!

This post is a warm-up run, to get me back in the game.  Muscles stiff, brain slow, and what is it about sentence structure I’m supposed to know?

505.  That’s how you walk the talk. J.U.G, what?

 

Summer Breeze August 19, 2014

Seals and Croft got it right, “Summer breeze, makes me feel fine, blowing through the jasmine in my mind.”

I love summer and all of it’s glory, the water, the sun, the smell of coconut sunblock, beach towels and vacations. Salt water, fresh water, or chlorinated pool water, it doesn’t matter, each spell a variation of summer.

Taking full advantage of our incredible outdoor surroundings, we have had an indulgent, fantastic summer.  We spent a crazy action-packed week with friends at Hoopfest (the world’s largest 3-on-3 street basketball), Silverwood (the local amusement and waterslide park), rafting the Spokane River, picking fruit in the orchards of Green Bluff, riding the Route of the Hiawatha, boating and tubing on the Spokane River, Lake Coeur D’Alene from multiple perspectives, lots of ice cream, lots of food, and a minor league baseball game (Go Indians!).  Cheers to you, our friends, for making the adventure possible.

Before we caught our breath, we found ourselves on a road trip destined to crash a Mormon Family Reunion.  Top that!  We learned our dear friends would be in Southern Idaho, approximately 8 hours away, so the boys and I  jumped in the Suburban and headed east, then south, destined for Bear Lake.  We ended up in Utah, much further than we planned but who cares!  We saw our friends, our kids got together as if a day hadn’t passed and the whole family reunion welcomed us, and fed us. as if we were there own.  I have always been a Mormon magnet, in the best of ways.  Family values, good food, and lots of laughs, what more do you need?  All families are wacky, we fit right in.

On the return trip home, the boys and I took the scenic route through Yellowstone National Park, one of my all-time favorite national parks.  Our oldest son was 6 months old the last time we ventured through the park, so 12 1/2 years later, Yellowstone was still a sight to behold.  We saw elk and bison and bear, billy goats, and deer.  Yellow stones and thermal ponds, bubbling mud and geysers too.  Lots of ice cream along the route to keep us cool and sane.  We took a photo outside Roosevelt Lodge where their by-gone Grandpa Frankie used to stay.  Grandma appreciated the picture of our wiley mutts.  In the midnight hours, we made it home, driving a delirious 13 hours that day, worth every minute of our Yellowstone detour.

Honey, if you’re tired, our summer is just half way through.

From our Yellowstone road trip, we regrouped and tended to home affairs.  The garden, the animals, oh and yes, work.  We had summer camps of Extreme Sports, Videography, a week long YMCA camp at a pristine lake in the woods and a visit with Grandma in Seattle.

Our final summer vacation took us to the majestic state of Montana. We boated and tubed Flathead Lake, aerial adventured and ziplined Big Mountain at Whitefish Resort and explored Glacier National Park. WOW!  If that isn’t enough, we shared a camp fire and s’mores with a Harley Davidson biker bunch from Chicago and made great friends with some Canadians! Eh?  Yes, you heard me, some good folks from Calgary.

Our daughter transferred to Washington State University this week.  She has worked hard and has transferred in as a Junior, studying Elementary Education.  I am so proud of her, my girl.  She knows school is BAE, before anything else.  My heart surges with pride for her wisdom and strength, and lack of entitlement.  She has worked hard, knows what she wants to do and has earned the privilege of an education. Go girl!

My garden is a vegetable producing machine, resulting in me putting up pints and quarts of vegetables for summer-in-winter deliciousness. I think of my sister with every harvest, every photo of my great nieces and great nephew, every interaction with her sons.  My neighbors stop me every day to tell me how much they enjoy the sight of my garden. My hard work has paid off with my sister in my heart.

The boys refuse to cut their hair and have become wildebeasts of the inland northwest.  Mugs only their mother could love, they are adventurous and brave, fun and crazy. Most days I feel they are trying to kill me, though, in reality, they are just being boys,, wild with spirit in their hearts and daredevil in their souls.  I do my best to woo the savages with cookies and good food to tame their wild weirdness.  My favorite moment of the summer was when the boys declared Dad to be “Scrooge” over me.   Dad was confounded and perplexed at the thought!  The boys said mom gets mad as hornets but does lots of nice things. Dad just gets mad.  You know I love a good victory lap and I took it, laughing the entire way!

As rosey as I paint our summer, it all hasn’t been grand.  There have been factors in my life that have sucked the summer breeze right out of my sail, disheartened and derailed my spirit. Because these factors are still on the active attack, I can’t go into further detail; however, as emotional as these instances may be, I am not beaten, I am still in the fight and I will prevail, one way or another.  For future reference, be accountable to the words you speak to me. don’t lie, don’t mislead.  Be true. Aside from this vague and aggravating issue, that is my expectation of every one in my life – be true, be honorable, be real.  Is this really too much to ask?

Summer Breeze, makes me feel fine.

Maybe it’s just the fan.

There is no jasmine in the great inland northwest, but there is jasmine in the memories of my mind.

Our summer provided incredible experiences and unforgettable memories.

The best part?  We still have two weeks to go….

 

Our Year in Review – A Series, Part 1 June 13, 2014

Approximately 355 days ago we moved from Placentia, North Orange County, California to Spokane Washington, 10 days shy of any entire year. We chose Spokane for no state income tax, lower cost of living and better quality of life.  Four seasons, smaller student to teacher ratios in classrooms, higher rated schools, where we could go in 4-6-and 8 hour concentric circles from our front door, and why the hell not all played into how we chose Spokane to be our new home. The past year has had more than a fair share of ups and downs.  This post is Part 1 in a series of my family’s experience of living in Spokane.

School’s out for summer. We survived our first year at Spokane Public Schools.  Coming from a Los Angeles Unified Public School alum, this is a false statement.  Spokane Public Schools have lived up to their Schooldigger.com reports, reviews and rating.  My kids didn’t survive, my kids flourished. My kids nervously began, seamlessly transitioned and finished strong.  Cheers and many thanks to Placentia-Yorba Linda School District for building a fantastic foundation from which they could build.

Our school year in review provided many comparisons, from my eyes, and my boys perspective, between the two districts:

Spokane:  Doors locked, campus accessible  Placentia-Yorba Linda:  Doors locked, campus locked

S:  Volunteer registration and badges  PYL:  No registration, badges

S:  Parent Teacher Group (PTG)  PYL:  Parent Teacher Association (PTA)

S:  Elementary School start 9 AM release 3 PM, late start Thursday 9:30 AM; Middle School start 8:45 AM release 3:15 PM, late start 9:10 AM   PYL:  Elementary School Start 7:50 AM, release 2:15;  early release Wednesday 1:15 PM

S:  Elementary Student: Teacher ratio  24:1  PYL:  Elementary Student:Teacher ratio  32-34:1

S: Good school lunch – per my 8 year old, a very critical foodie  PYL:  pack lunch most days

S: Music and Art Classes   PYL:  Band an available option for 5th & 6th graders only

S:  Few to no assemblies         PYL:  Countless assemblies and time out of the classroom

S:  Inconsistent field trips (4th grade went to Symphony; 3rd grade no field trip (WTH direct quote again from my 8 year old)         PYL:  Each class participated in 1-2 off campus field trips per year funded by the PTA

S: One big fundraiser   PYL:  One big fundraiser

S:  No Halloween celebration in classroom, Fall Harvest celebration on selected day; after school Monster Mash  PYL:  Halloween with full costume parade

S:  Book Fair is one week after school for parents and supervised children for books for children [gasp]  PYL:  Book Fair is one week each semester, books for teachers and school library

S:  Elementary school allows children to wear flip flops   PYL:  In Southern California, no flip flops for elementary students

S:  Snow day options (none this year!)   PYL:  Furlough days no matter what

S:  2 blocks away   PYL:  3 doors to schools’ back gate

S:  Common Core Practice School         PYL:  Common Core Practice School this year too

S:  Awesome teachers      PYL:  Awesome teachers

S:  Incredible volunteers     PYL:  Incredible volunteers

S:  My children thrived      PYL:  My children thrived

We moved to a new school district and did not experience anything different than what we knew.  The cafeteria is inside, not outside under an awning.  There is a gymnasium, not a black top playground.  From the list above, though flip flops made my eyebrows raise in surprise, the most important items on the list is that with the awesome teachers and incredible volunteers, my children thrived.  My children learned, grew, made friends, and made memories.  Moreover, mo better, they promoted to their respective grade level.  Whew.  Our research paid off and we chose great schools for our children.

Schools out for summer.  Party on.