Friday, June 22, 2012

La Brea Tar Pits

Remember that part on My Girl 2 (claaassic) where Nick (long-haired hottie) pretends to throw Vada's mood ring into that big pit of tar?

Ever since I watched that movie (which came out in 1994) I have wanted to go see where this scene took place. I didn't find out until later that they were the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles.
When Austin, Jen, and Gianna (my brother and sister-in-law and niece) came to visit from Arizona Jen suggested we go to the Tar Pits!! I was so STOKED!!

Here's the big pit outside of the Museum. You can't see it, but there is a baby Mastodon reaching towards its mother who is stuck in the tar pits. Kind of a morbid replica, don't you think?

Random facts:

(I will not bore you by writing too much, but it's pretty fascinating)

-The tar was covered by a few inches of water so the animals would not know it was a tar pit until they were stuck.
-The tar wasn't hot at all. The animals didn't burn to death, they would get stuck and basically die of thirst and food deprivation.
-Sometimes the animals would start to cry out and predators would come looking for dinner and would get stuck in the tar as well. Hence the hundreds of thousands of bones they have extracted from the tar pits.

I just love my husband. He's a good sport and lets me be paparazzi and take pictures of him constantly.

Austin and Cameron with Gianna on his shoulders

Cameron and Austin. Cameron was so excited to see his brother. I'm so happy we were able to go down to LA to hang out with Austin and Jen. Cameron doesn't get to see his family nearly enough which is sad because Cameron and his brothers are such good friends and have such a good time together.                     
Oh Gianna. Right before I took this picture Gianna had
walked up to Jen and said, "I'm MAD at you." and
walked away. It's oh so cute and charming to us since
she's not ours and we don't have to deal with this face
very often. Who couldn't smile at that face?
I would probably feel differently if she was 15, but
since she's only 2 it's cute.              
Cameron, Gianna, and Austin 


 Hugs from a sloth:

After going through the museum and looking around at the tar pits Austin, Cameron and Gianna ran up and down this big hill by the parking lot. I, on the other hand, sat on the grass. The tar pits really pooped me out.

So, blogs are a place where you can openly state your opinion and I feel like I should tell you that if you're going to go to the tar pits remember three things:

1. Go with people you would enjoy doing anything with.
2. Don't work yourself up too much. The lower your expectations probably the better.
3. There are no dinosaurs.

All in all we had a good time with family :)

Can I have one?

Even if I'm not his favorite anymore I sure do adore this face. I can't wait to have my own little terrors. But until then hanging out with these guys will do :)

Friday, June 15, 2012

Father's Day

I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, and as long as you're living my daddy you'll be...

In honor of Father's Day I would like to give you 15 Random Facts about my father, Larry Dean Griffith, the Man, the Legend, the Fisherman, the Friend, the Father, the Husband, and the #1 Meanest Daddy in the Whole Wide World. 
My dad and I on Easter 2012

Fact #1 My dad sacrifices for his family every day by going to a job that he hates. He has been doing this since before I was born. I am so grateful for his selflessness. 

Fact #2 My dad and his brother, Joe have a special laugh when they talk to each other. We can all tell when my dad is talking to his brother from across the house because of the big, loud, boisterous laugh they both have when they're around each other. My dad and his brother are BFF. Isn't that cool?

Fact #3 My dad has been surrounded by women for the last 15-or-so years. He never once let on that he was bothered by the fact. It seemed so normal that he was the only boy around. But let me tell you a little secret: my dad could not have been more stoked when Cameron became part of the family. He is on cloud 9 when he and Cameron can be "manly" together. I appreciate my dad never made us feel like he missed male company, but I am also super stoked to have been the one to bring another dude around. Go me. 

Fact #4 My dads MO is starting a movie and walking away 10 minutes later, leaving the movie going. I don't know how many times I have come home to a movie going in the living room but my dad is outside weed eating.

Fact #5 My dad met my mom Square dancing when they were about 14-years-old. I wish so badly I had a time machine and could go back and watch my parents Square Dance. The first time my parents met, my mom walked up to the group my dad was in and told them a joke. If you know my mom, it doesn't sound like her, right? But it's the truth. It was one of those jokes where you have to have people with you who know the joke in order to trick the person you're telling the joke to. You and your friends walk up to someone who doesn't know the joke, tell them the joke that is just a nonsense story, tell the punchline, then you and your friends roll with laughter like its the funniest thing ever. My parent's don't remember the joke, but the punchline is "Hello, Radio!" I LOVE THIS STORY. My favorite part is that my dad didn't laugh and pretend he understood the joke. My dad has always been who he is, no excuses. I love that about him.   

Fact #6 My dad LOVES babies. And babies love my dad. I can think of nothing that would make my dad happier than to have 100 grandchildren. But for now, going around the ward and stealing other peoples babies will have to do.  

Fact #7 My dad loves my mom. He is the most loyal, sweet, understanding, patient husband. The older I get the more I appreciate my Father's patience (this is mostly because the older I get the more I admit to myself that my mother and I are very similar). One example of his love is this: my dad HATES Pride and Prejudice. He talks about how boring it is ALL THE TIME. But, on Mother's Day, my dad watched Pride and Prejudice with my mom. What a trooper.

Fact #8 My dad is an avid reader. He goes through books like nobody's business. Seeing him reading is pretty much the only time I ever see my dad NOT moving. Most of the time he gets bored when he doesn't have a project. But he loves reading. 

Fact #9 My dad loves paint balling.   

Fact #10 My dad was a Marine. He's so hardcore. My parents spent their first 2 years of marriage stationed in Japan.

Fact #11 My dad has aged amazingly. He is barely gray, has amazing skin, and is in great physical health for his age. I hope to age as gracefully as he has.

Fact #12 My dad has amazing teeth. No cavities, no caps, no root canals, nada. He has seriously been to the dentist like twice since my parents have been married and the man's teeth are perfect.

Fact #13 What do I remember about my dad during my childhood?

  1.  Him making my hair look like a unicorn, Tina Turner, or a puppy while he washed it
  2.  "Dirtbag Time." This is where he made us clean up all of our toys because we were       all dirtbags
  3. Him "getting my bellybutton" which consisted of him trying to eat my belly
  4. Whisker burns...I will let you use your imagination on that one

Fact #14 I absolutely love hearing the story about when my dad was a kid and would spend the summer with his grandparents in Idaho. His grandma would feed him so much all summer that he would get super chubby. My grandpa and grandma always chuckle when they tell the story of picking him up at the bus stop when he came home and they would barely recognize him because he had gotten so chubby. I love picturing my dad as a chubby little boy at the bus stop.

Fact #15 My dad lives to serve. I have never met someone who does more for other people. I am so grateful for his example of service.

So, my dad's cool. Don't be jealous. Happy Father's Day, Dad! I love you! 

The 2011-2012 School Year Comes to a Close

There are three good reasons to be a teacher - June, July, and August. -Author unknown

This year my position was at Santa Rosa Academic Academy in Atascadero. Our mascot is the Road Runner.
Cameron went to Santa Rosa as an Elementary School child. I loved picturing him as a little boy as I walked
through the halls this school year. Who would have known that all of these years later that little boys wife
would be working at the school he attended!? :)  

Whew. I can't believe I made it.
The 2011-2012 school year is officially over. What a crazy year! As I look back to August 2011 and all that has happened to me since, both personally and professionally, I am blown away. It feels like years ago. But it feels like yesterday at the same time. 
I decided to make a few bullet-point lists to share with you the happenings this school year. People are always asking me to tell them things about my kids and usually I can't think of anything funny or interesting to say, but with some time and thought I wrote down some sweet/interesting/funny things about my kids and school.
This school year has really stretched me. My position has helped me grow into a stronger, more patient, kind, and capable person. Although in a lot of ways I am grateful that the school year has come to an end....I'm going to miss it. There, I said it.

Facts about Kindergarten:

-This year I only had ONE girl. The rest of my Kinders were boys, and let me tell you, this girl could DEFINITELY hold her own. I think that this year was to prepare me for the brood of boys Cameron plans on having. ;)

-I could seriously wallpaper a mansion with the amount of drawings, paintings, and pictures I have been given this year.
-Kindergarten is not about drawing, napping, and singing as it used to be. Now it's about reading, writing, and math. Intense expectations for a 5 year old, no?
-The Pee Pee Dance should be taken very seriously. I learned that very quickly.

Facts about Kindergartners:

-Kids who have dads who are gamers know words like "nuclear missiles", "SOB's," "GI's" and "Marines" They also know important facts like the fact that all "bad guys" come from Russia or Cuba (who knew?)

-Kindergartners confused and upset when their normal routine is thrown off. When the janitor moved the trashcan to the opposite side of the sink it was like the end of the world. END OF THE WORLD.
-To a Kindergartner "cuz" is a perfectly good reason for almost anything.
-If you are a Kindergartner, raising your hand while on the carpet to tell the teacher that your tongue is blue is perfectly acceptable.
-Kindergartners are very logical.
 Kinder #: I want to marry ham so I can eat it!!
 Kinder #2: If you eat what you marry than you wont have a wife!
Makes sense, no?

-Kindergartners can be very empathetic. One day after school one of the second graders pooped his pants and was really upset about it. One of my Kinders walked up to him, cocked his head to the side and gave him a knowing look and said, "I peed my pants."

Things I have learned from my Kinders:

-Too much about their parents' personal lives :/

-Anger issues freak me out. I think that it mostly freaks me out because I am afraid that my children will have them. Cameron shouldn't have told me he was a terrible child. He told me that he went through a  faze where he threw huge fits all the time. Every time one of my Kinders would get angry I would imagine my own child acting like that at home.
-Bribes work 99.98 % of the time.

Other Random Facts:

-Highlighter does not come off of whiteboards without considerable effort and cleaner

-I have Kindergartner-like facial expressions when I get upset or overwhelmed now (this one I didn't know. Cameron told me.)
-Poop smells way worse when it's hot outside. Don't ask me why. It just does.
-For some reason both speech impediments and  accents make kids cuter.

Things I will miss about this year at Santa Rosa:

-The little girl in Transitional Kindergarten who tells me I look pretty every day
-The parents. We have some rockstar parents at our school. I am so grateful for parents who are appreciative of what we are trying to do. You don't know how far a "Thank You" can go until you've said it to an educator who is feeling unappreciated.
-My kids

-The tutors I supervised (well...I'm going to miss most of them ;))

-The staff at Santa Rosa. They are amazing.

I could write a whole other blog post about my 1st-6th graders, but for now I will leave you with these stories of my littles. 

Now on to other things. This is the end of a road for me. I have never been a big fan of change, and like all other changes in my life (besides going from engaged to married...that was not a hard change) this one is going to be a challenge. Pray for me that I will find a good job in San Diego so I can bring home the bacon while my husband works his tail off getting his education so we can start having us some babies! :)

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Virginia Woolf wrote, "One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well." Smart lady.
I love food. I love cooking it, eating it, talking about it, and Cameron and I love a good cookbook "walk through." I am so grateful that I married a natural born foodie. I thought that when I got married I would magically have the energy and desire to cook a gourmet meal each night when I came home. News flash: I am still just as tired when I get home as I was when I was single. Shocker. 
Confession: I have cooked roughly 4 delicious meals for Cameron since we got married. 
Let me explain: Cameron and I both get off at 6:30-ish. By the time I get home I am STARVING. I'm talking borderline crazy person status (depending on the day.) So we usually are in a hurry to get food on the table, whatever that may look like. Cameron gets major brownie points though because until last week he was getting home before I was and he was cooking dinner every night (Ps Cameron is a very good cook...I am not complaining. But I do wish I could be a cute wifey and have dinner on the table for him every night.)
Last weekend I decided to put my culinary skills to the test. I am absolutely in love with Cafe Rio. I wish we had one in San Luis. Actually, it's probably a good thing we DONT have one. I would probably be 6000 pounds. Anyway...there is a Pork Salad at Cafe Rio that is to DIE for. I decided to look up a copycat recipe online and try it out. After looking at the recipe I realized that it was going to be pretty involved and I would need to have plenty of time to prepare. So, we invited my besties Rachel, Mary, and Shayla (and Derek) over for dinner on Sunday dinner. 

We did this thing the right way, even down to the little tortilla strips you put on the top of the salad. Here is Cameron getting ready to fry up some tortilla strips. He was a super big trooper and spent Saturday and Sunday helping me cook so I didn't get bored or overwhelmed.

Here's the sweet pork. YUM. It was pretty involved but really delicious and totally worth it. We ended up having it for dinner Sunday-Wednesday and both Cameron and I agreed we could have eaten it the next night and not been upset. So yummy.  

Here they are!! Shayla, Rachel, Mary, Derek, and Cameron. It was such a fun night. I'm so grateful to have such wonderful friends. It was so nice to catch up with everyone. Like I always tell these girls...they keep me young ;)
Ps I hope our children have their father's beautiful smile :)

Only Shayla can be making a funny face and eating and still look like a model
If anyone wants to try out the recipe here it is: