Thursday, February 19, 2009

Life as usual


Just wanted to give a little update. Life is carrying on as usual. I work here and there with a few snow days thrown in. I really don't mind. I have started to "homeschool" Jack in preschool studies. He has been begging to learn, so how could I deny him? Funny thing is, Joshie is right there with him and is picking it up too. I have to videotape Joshie singing the ABC's. too cute. Joe's business fell off the face of the planet, but so have other businesses up here, so we don't feel so bad. He has worked for ReddyIce a few days here and there. Mostly, he stays home with the boys and is Mr. Mom (I don't mind that either).

Joshie turns 2 next week so we will be heading up to Flagstaff tomorrow to have a little party for him with my mom. Nothing fancy, but at 2, does it matter? Honestly, his idea of the happiest place on earth is McDonald's. So, Playland, here we come!

Monday, February 16, 2009

48 things

1. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE?
My father had a good friend named Kathleen Susan. So, I am Susan Kathleen.

2. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED?
Reading a chapter book with my class. Darn it, why am I so sensitive?

3. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING?
No. I like my printing better, especially since I am an example to my students.

4. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT?
Honey baked ham, if I'm lucky enough to get it. Or just turkey.

5. DO YOU HAVE KIDS?
2 boys, who are my little men.

6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON, WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU?
Yes. I'm awesome!

7. DO YOU USE SARCASM?
Yes.

8.DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS?
yes

9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE?
Not again. I have once. I am terribly afraid of heights and I thought bungee jumping would cure me. Not.

10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL?
Frosted mini spooners.


11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF?
Almost always.

12. How do you wear a ball cap?
I don't.

13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM?
Peanut butter and chocolate. If that's not available, anything chocolate

14. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE?
The way they hold themself. Are they slumped over or do they stand up straight.

15. RED OR PINK?
Red

16. WHAT IS YOUR LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF?
My teeth.

17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST?
My mom and sister.

18. DO YOU WANT EVERYONE TO COMPLETE THIS LIST?
Of course.

19. WHAT COLOR PANTS AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING?
Light pink pants and socks, I'm still in my PJ's

21. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOw?
My cat purring as she tries to get me to pet her while I'm typing. Everyone else is asleep, so the house is pretty peaceful.

22. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE?
Green.

23. FAVORITE SMELLS?
Rain in the summer. Pumpkin pie in the oven (or cookies in the oven). Fresh brewed coffee. Worksheets, fresh off the copier (silly, I know).

24. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE?
My sister who is coming to visit. yeah, I can't wait.

25. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON WHO SENT THIS TO YOU?
Yes. We were never close growing up, but I feel closer now that we are both moms, even though we live about 10 hours away from each other.

26. FAVORITE SPORTS TO WATCH?
BASEBALL!

27. HAIR COLOR?
Natural: blondish/brown. Just highlighted it recently, myself.

28. EYE COLOR?
Hazel. changes with my mood and the weather.

29. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS?
yes, but my eyesight is getting so bad I may not be able to wear them much longer. Sad story.

30. FAVORITE FOOD?
My homemade albondigas. I crave that stuff. I have to always have some in the freezer for emergencies.

31. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS?
happy endings, I hate scary movies but love suspense.

32. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED?
Valkerie (sp?). Joe and I were able to go out on a date at Christmas time. The movie was actually pretty good.

33. WHAT COLOR SHIRT ARE YOU WEARING?
pink, again, I'm still in my PJ's

34. SUMMER OR WINTER?
Summer in the mountains. Winter in the desert. But Autumn and Spring are my all time favorites.

35. HUGS OR KISSES?
Hugs

37. MOST LIKELY TO RESPOND?
?

38. LEAST LIKELY TO RESPOND?
Don't know

39. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW?
The Island of the Blue Dolphins

40. WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD?
Don't have a mouse pad, just a touch pad, so I guess the answer is: my fingers.

41. WHAT DID YOU WATCH ON TV LAST NIGHT?
the Amazing Race. We are big fans of Survivor too.

42. FAVORITE SOUND(S).
Wind in the pine trees. My children giggling. Gentle waterfalls or waves gently lapping the lakeshore

43. ROLLING STONES OR BEATLES?
Neither

44. WHAT IS THE FARTHEST YOU HAVE BEEN FROM HOME?
Kansas City. random, I know.

45. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT?
Being me. As far as I know, I'm the best at it. I also think my special gift is "words of encouragement".

46. WHERE WERE YOU BORN?
Southern California

47. WHOSE ANSWERS ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO GETTING BACK?
Everybody

48. HOW DID YOU MEET YOUR SPOUSE/SIGNIFICANT OTHER?
when we worked in Yosemite National Park.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The BEST Neighbors



As you know, we have been hit by a big snowstorm. In fact, we had our 4th Snow Day on Tuesday. I think the snow brings out the true character of people. Let me tell you about our most awesome, amazing neighbors.

First, Joe went over to our neighbors, Lou and Cheryl. They have a plow attachment to their riding lawnmower. Joe plowed their driveway and they said that he could borrow it for our house. See the pic of him riding the plow.




While he was plowing the driveway, Harvey walked up and started to snow blow the driveway, without even a word spoken. Harvey will walk down the street in a snow storm and blow the neighbors driveways. Never asking for anything in return. See the pic of Harvey blowing our walkway.



When the driveway was done, Randy walked up and asked Joe if we needed more wood. I posted earlier in the season that we had downed some trees and collected our own wood (saved us a TON of money and was FUN too!). But, Joe started to get sick in October and wasn't able to get quite enough for the entire winter. Randy noticed our dwindling wood pile and invited Joe over to his land to collect what he needed a few weeks ago. Joe didn't want to take advantage, so he only took 3/4 cord. We did run out last week to the point where Joe was cannibalizing his workbench and we were burning 2x4's. Randy noticed this too and was offering more wood to us. So sweet.

I don't have a picture of Deborah, but she is such a sweet neighbor too. When I had the flu last weekend, she brought over homemade chicken soup. I love our neighbors and will be sad if and when we move.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Public Schooling

My audience for this post is wide, yet it is an issue that will affect all of us, even if you don't live in my county or my state.

Public Schooling is getting stomped on even more than it usually does. Everyone is going through this recession and is being hit. Most budgeters are trying to make more cutbacks instead of increase revenue. I don't want to get into a political debate, but this is how it is affecting us.

Our local school (Blue Ridge for those of you readers who are local) is "asking" the staff to take an 8% pay cut effective immediately. By saying "asking", I mean that they have been told that if they don't start this cut, the school may shut it's doors on May 1st (instead of May 30th). Teachers will not be getting their paychecks for the summer months. Some teachers will not have jobs next year. Teachers may have to pay ALL of their health insurance premiums! There is no money for subs, so if a teacher is out, the kids get doubled up with another teacher for the day. There may be no janitors next year, so the teachers and students will be responsible for cleaning their rooms (who knows about the restrooms). The brand new school that was built may be shut down. Class sizes may double because they are on a hiring freeze. I don't even know how to translate this into good for the students.

At my school (on the reservation) things are a little different. A little better and a little worse. For the worse, we already have a 75% unemployment rate. There is one industry, timber. With the recession, no one is buying wood. Therefore the lumber mill is closing. There goes 300 jobs. Now the only employment is the school district for classified positions (aides, secretaries), the grocery store, and the casino. If we thought our kids were poor before this, we are in for a world of hurt. Alcohol and drug abuse are going to skyrocket, higher than they already are. There will be nothing for these 300 people to do all day, except get into trouble. We will see a baby boom next year, no doubt. My students aren't going to have food at home because no one is working. They already suffer the effects of neglect, but now they might suffer the effects of abuse if unhappy adults are at home all day. But why should my students come to school anyway? It's not like they see themselves graduating and getting Wall Street jobs. There ARE no jobs!

For the better, the school district is in a better financial situation. We don't rely on the sales tax to fund us, like most other schools do. So, we won't take that big hit. Also, since our kids are so underpriviledged, we get more federal aid. We are not slashing programs and threatening to close our doors. We are cutting additional spending and we are trying to conserve on utilities. Also, we never went into debt to fund the schools, so we don't have to pay anybody back.

In these times, it's easy and natural to think "how does this affect me?" And I do think that. Joe and I are barely making ends meet monthly only by the grace of God. But, I also think about the kids. The kids who are growing up in this. The kids who are seeing their mom and dad laid off at work. The kids who are feeling the crunch and maybe taking the brunt end of the stick. I pray for our nation and our children. They are our legacy. Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."

SCAM EMAIL

Ok, I just got another scam email. Beware. This one was from Bank of America and it said that Obama has put $450,000 in my name for the stimulus package. To collect the money, I just need to wire Bank of America $450 to accept the money. Yeah right! And the contact email was at a gmail account. Whatever! Beware. People are out to take advantage of us.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

School Days

The boys are sleeping, the cookies are cooling, and the soup is simmering. As I sit here on my snow day, I am reflecting on the types of school days I have had in my life.

In high school, they were smog days. Do you remember those? It would be too smoggy and they wouldn't let the kids go outside. We also had heat days. CA would have rolling blackouts (no electricity) and if the school knew we would have no electricity, they wouldn't make us come to school because we would have no AC.

Then when I was teaching in Madera (central CA), we had fog days. The fog would be so bad that it wasn't safe to drive. Some days the fog stayed around so long, the kids never came to school. Those were nice days.

Here, we have snow days. We already have about 14 inches (hard to tell because of the drifts) and it just keeps coming.

If we move to Las Cruces/El Paso, what kind of days will I have? Sand days? Hmmm. One thing is for sure, I am enjoying my snow day.

Friday, February 6, 2009

My twins




So, you know how the boys are 14 months apart? Well, they look so alike that EVERYwhere we go, people think they are twins. One woman even accused me of them being twins. Uh, I should know. I was pregnant twice. I went through labor twice. They're not twins. Well, then something like this happens and we think they were destined to be twins.

Joe was in the kitchen and then walked into the back room and saw them sitting like this, on their own. Then they ate exactly the same way. Then they turned around exactly the same way.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Spoon Song



As you know, we love to sing around our house, hence "Rodriguez Rock Stars". Frequently, we will make up new ditties to fit what we are doing at the time. As the boys were setting the table (Yes, my boys (ages three and not-even-two) set the table) Jack asked me to sing the Spoon Song. I racked my brains trying to think of the Spoon Song. Is this a new Wiggles song? After all, they do have a song about Fruit Salad and Cold Spaghetti. Is this a VeggieTales song? I'm so out of the loop now that I go to work everyday and don't see what he is watching.

I tried to make up a new song with the word "spoon" in it. Nope. I asked him to sing it for me. Nope. I asked Joe. He also tried to put the word "spoon" to an old tune. Nope. Arggg! What is this spoon song?

Later, after dinner, we were doing circle time in their room and I found one of their cd's that we had not played in months (maybe even a year). The second song on it.............. Hey Diddle Diddle. The "spoon" song. And the dish ran away with the spoon, the spoon. And the dish ran away with the spoon. That's why he wanted to sing it while they were setting the table. Too funny!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

First Born

Here you go mommies - a different kind of survey for a change - it's all about your first born!

1. WAS YOUR FIRST PREGNANCY PLANNED? Yes...but it took 1 1/2 years to finally get pregnant.
2. WERE YOU MARRIED AT THE TIME? Yes
3. WHAT WERE YOUR REACTIONS? Well, that explains a lot!
4. WAS ABORTION AN OPTION FOR YOU? Absolutely not.
5. HOW OLD WERE YOU? 29 conception, 30 birth
6. HOW DID YOU FIND OUT YOU WERE PREGNANT? I had pneumonia (sp?) and I was just so tired. A friend came over to bring me some homemade soup and she hugged me good-bye. It hurt my breasts. Hurt. She said, maybe you're pregnant. No, we have been trying forever. She said that I should take a test before my next chest x-ray for the pneumonia. Sure enough.
7. WHO DID YOU TELL FIRST? My father-in-law. I know, you're thinking, what?! Since I had pneumonia, I couldn't do anything for myself. So my father in law was staying with us to take care of me while Joe worked. I asked him to go buy the test. He didn't realize they had tests for that sort of thing. So old school, but so sweet. I gave him a post it note and $10 and sent him on his way. A lady at Wal-greens had to help him. Bless his heart. What she must have been thinking with this 70 year old man getting a pregnancy test. Needless to say, he was the first to find out. It was the least I could do.
8. DID YOU WANT TO FIND OUT THE SEX? No way! I wanted to be surprised. But Joe wanted to know, so the doctor wrote it on a note, sealed it in an envelope, and gave it to Joe. Joe told everyone, so it leaked back to me.
9. DUE DATE? December 25th (Christmas), exactly one year after my family laid hands on me to get pregnant.
10. DID YOU HAVE MORNING SICKNESS? No, I was spoiled with the first. Just that amazing pregnancy glow.
11. WHAT DID YOU CRAVE? I CRAVED fruit! I dreamt about fruit. I ate fruit morning, noon, and night.
12. WHO/WHAT IRRITATED YOU THE MOST? Having to pee so much. What's up with that?
13. WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST CHILD'S SEX? Boy
14. DID YOU WISH YOU HAD THE OPPOSITE SEX OF WHAT YOU WERE GETTING? No.
15. HOW MANY POUNDS DID YOU GAIN THROUGHOUT THE PREGNANCY? Many. Still have 'em.
16. DID YOU HAVE A BABY SHOWER? Yes, many. My work threw a surprise baby shower and I was blessed beyond measure. So sweet. Joe donated money for my friends to throw me a shower and Sarah put it together. That was probably the best shower I have ever been to. Thanks Sarah. My church threw me a shower. My mom threw me a shower for family and church friends. Huge party! I am still using some of the baby shampoos and baby powders I got then.
17. WAS IT A SURPRISE OR DID YOU KNOW? See above.
18. DID YOU HAVE ANY COMPLICATIONS DURING YOUR PREGNANCY? None! It was a fairy tale pregnancy. Even the birth was beautiful and amazing.
19. WHERE DID YOU GIVE BIRTH? Kaiser Fresno, CA. It was a beautiful room all to myself.
20. HOW MANY HOURS WERE YOU IN LABOR? I woke at 3 am with a strong contraction. I continued to go through the contractions in the living room while everyone slept. Later in the morning I told Joe to pack a bag, to which he replied, "I have to go Christmas shopping today" (Christmas eve). I told Sarah (my doula and bestest friend). Turns out she had been praying quietly in her room for my labor, while I was laboring in the living room, and she didn't even know! Drove to Kaiser. Laborer. Pushed. Born at 5 pm. so, the whole shebang was 14 hours.
21. WHO DROVE YOU TO THE HOSPITAL? Joe. Sarah drove herself as she had to go to work the following day in Yosemite.
22. WHO WAS WITH YOU WHEN YOU GIVE BIRTH? Joe, of course, and Sarah. I couldn't have done it without you, Sarah!
23. WAS IT NATURAL OR C-SECTION? Natural all the way. And soooooooooo awesome!
24. DID YOU TAKE MEDICINE TO EASE THE PAIN? Nope. Just lots of Bradley method preparation.
27. HOW MUCH DID YOUR CHILD WEIGH? 7 lbs. 5 oz.
28. WHEN WAS YOUR CHILD ACTUALLY BORN? December 24th, 7 hours before his due date.
30. WHAT DID YOU NAME HIM/HER? Jack Isaiah Rodriguez. Joe's grandfather's name was Isaiah and Joe loved him very much.
31. HOW OLD IS YOUR FIRST BORN TODAY? 3

Monday, February 2, 2009

Recipe Swap

My neighbor and I had a recipe swap. We had both been getting tired of our same old recipes and felt like we were feeding our families the same old meals. So we brought all our cookbooks and recipe books together and swapped favorites. It was so fun! And now I am jazzed about some new recipes that I would have never tried. Also, I got my hands on some recipes I have been drooling over. Now they are all mine. All mine!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Grocery store organization


I was clicking on a site for free samples (one of my favorite pasttimes) and she was asking for organization tips. I racked my brain for something different than what other people do. All my little tricks are common. I finally put down the idea about my grocery shopping list (that I got from Alicia) and she loved the idea so much I thought I would share it here.

I have made a template of the most common items I buy at the store. I know that some of you have done the same thing. You buy yogurt every week, so why write it down 52 times per year. Create a template and then it's always there. I have it hanging from the frig so I can highlight what we need when I think of it. I have even taught Joe to highlight what we need. For instance, don't you hate getting home from the store to find out that you didn't buy soap because you thought you had soap? But, if your husband highlights it when he uses the last bar, you know to buy soap.

Here's one more trick. I have laid out my shopping list in the order that I shop. Let me explain. When I enter Wal-Mart, I always go to the back first and work my way to the front. So, the first items on my list come from the first aisle I walk down (which is actually the last aisle in the store). Then the next set of items on my list are the second aisle. Yadda, yadda, yadda. This way, I never get to produce and realize I still need dairy (opposite ends of the store). This has saved me time, I would love to say it has saved me money buuuuut, and it has saved me frustration.
I would love to hear your organization tricks as I always have room to improve and am looking for ways to make the most out of my time.

where Glory meets my suffering