Thursday, November 26, 2015

More From This Week

  Not only are the kids home this week, Brian also took the week off. I asked if he wanted to plan anything, or if I should keep the week free. He said keep it free. So, we've been taking each day as it comes, and snuggling in come evening time. We are enjoying our cold evenings, and had our first real fire in the fireplace last night.
 These two pictures could be filed under "a few of my favorite things" in my house. Just thought I'd share : ) I do love lighting and lanterns, and oddly the shadows they make. So cozy.
 I got this beauty in the mail this week. Someone knows I love chickens, and deviled eggs! The perfect gift!
 Sophie and Brian gave me a run for my money last night playing Farkel by the fire.
 Brian's, not mine, I so hate beer and the smell of beer.
 I love that there's no tv in this room, and we can still get all 3 kids to hang out in here with us.
  Emma's waiting for papa to get the fire going. BTW, by far my favorite purchase so far this winter is these thick, fuzzy blankets we got at Lucky's. Emma is under hers in the picture below, hers has a big buck on it, mine has 2 bucks, and Sophie's has a horse.

 Kona makes me wish google would make a "good hair day" photo edit. Poor guy.
 Below, what a difference a day makes. We had this beautiful tree full of leaves one day.......
 And the next day we had this scrawny thing left out front.  One good windy night and the leaves were gone.

 These are from this morning.  Myles, Sophie and I are home watching the parade, while Emma and Brian got up early to go fish in the delta.

 Ok, so we had one day of rain this week. I let it rain for about an hour and then rounded up the family to go find some mud to let the truck play in. We headed out toward Byron.....but alas...this CA ground just soaks up the water. Not much mud to be found, but I did get to spin around enough that the kids had fun, and Brian got really car sick. He came home and slept for hours.
 That, sadly, is as muddy as I could get it.

This was his muddin outfit. 
And because this blog is supposed to have some sort of outdoor activity on's a few from a Saturday hike Brian and I did just a few weeks back (when comp was down). It was super, super hot.
 Sitting in the dirt, in the shade.
 I love this guy. He got a call on this hike, he was supposed to be at a meeting that he forgot about. He said, sorry, not gonna make it....he didn't try to hurry and get back to the truck and get where he was supposed to be. Love him.  (yeah, I realize that's a terrible picture....but that's us on a Sat when we roll outta bed, don't get pretty-fied, and go for a hike)
I leave you with....a headless buck under a tree.  He wouldn't cooperate and lift his head, so he'll forever be known as the headless buck.  Have a great day!

Monday, November 23, 2015

CA Dog, Friends, and a Cute Dude

"Mom, it's 50 degrees out there. I'm not moving."
 Yesterday we went out for late lunch/early dinner with about 20 friends, and it was just really nice. That's all, no big story or anything. Just a nice lunch and good conversation.
Look at this cute kid!

Brian has this week off, we have no plans other than relaxing and spontaneity! We hope you all enjoy your week, too!

Friday Night Lights!

 One of the things I'm looking forward to most about the kids starting high school is the sporting events. My mom and I went to a lot of football, basketball, and even some water polo events together and always had a blast.  The Clayton Valley  Eagles (our local school) are #1 in their division, and had their quarter final game Friday night, so we decided to head down to the school and enjoy some good ole Friday night football. They won, 54-6.  It was a lot of fun!
 This was at half time when the team re-takes the field, they run out of the Eagle head, break the paper banner, and run through the smokey stuff.
  They have so many cheerleaders, enough to stretch the length of the field.
 And...a massive band. This was them walking out to the bleachers before the game.
We had a blast and are looking forward to going to more games!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

High School??

Clayton Valley Charter HS Web Store
Emma is soon to be....get ready for UGLY Eagle! Yes, that's really the mascot. The UGLY Eagle.
 Ugly logo.jpg

Seriously, guys. It can't possibly be time already!!!  It's hard to believe that we are already to the point of applying, going to high school meetings, thinking about 4 year paths to graduation and beyond.....

It was in a bit of daze that we walked into the gym of our future high school home last night. Info night was indeed filled with info.

Our local high school, that we would normally just feed right into automatically, became a charter school 5 years ago.  It's numbers are staggering as far as improvements in test scores, as well as in the amount of money coming into the school.

While these numbers have been steadily going up over the past 5 years, as of last year, they had a 98% graduation rate.  For CA, that is high. Locally, we have some schools in the 78% - 85% range, which is about the state average.  Also mind blowing for us was to learn that 97% of last years graduates went on to some form of college. That is very high.  Senior year seems to be built totally around making sure every student is on top of the whole college application process, whether that be a vocational college, 2 year or 4 year college.  The goal is that every student have a plan, path, and direction, and it's in action well before graduation.

There are also 4 academies, with limited space, and an application/interview process. Engineering, medical, performing arts, and community service.  We have a separate night to go learn about the academies, so I don't know much about those yet.

If you know anything about CA schools, it's most likely that we have no money.  Charter schools are not bound by the same financial rules as other schools within the district. Without getting too technical, they can go after their own money (via grants and those sorts of things), and it stays at the school, it does not go to the district. Also, they school decides how it will be spent at the school, the district does not have a say.  That said....this high school, I believe it's been 2 years ago, but not positive, received a 6.7 million dollar grant.  Just this one school, because it's a charter and could go after a grant that was out there without jumping through the hoops, or dividing it among other schools in the school....6.7 million. Gasp.  They've already built a new foot ball field and are working still on the stadium. They spent 1 million on technology last year alone.

Now, of course.....not being governed by the district, having that much money, it's not without its problems.  The school is governed by it's own board....and man o man, following the drama and fighting, hiring and firing (which also can happen w/o going through the district, the board can vote you in or out), corruption with football recruiting, violating sanctions, drastically raising  salaries (also not through the district), having your executive director fire everyone and fill the board with his buddies, which means he ultimately controls every vote and can potentially do whatever he wants.....that is the down side to a charter.  They've had a very public, ugly two years.  Yet....academically, the school continues to excel.

So, the time has arrived. The application process opened yesterday morning. By the time of the meeting last night, they had received 403 freshman applications. Emma's was one of them!  We live in what used to be the boundary for the school (now there is no boundary because they accept applications from everywhere), and because of where we live, we are first in line. So far, each of the past 5 years, they have accepted 100% of applications from kids living in the old boundary we should be in. They expect to have 200-300 kids on the wait list this year, with 100 from the wait list getting in. There's a lottery to determine your place on the wait list.

It is with both excitement, and disbelief that I have begun filling in my planner with high school meeting dates, deadlines, freshman week, and the first day of the 2016 school year.  Did I mention they set their own school year schedule, and start the first week of August?? I feel like life just fast forwarded somehow!  

Monday, November 16, 2015

Color Run, San Fran, 2015 - Part 2 we go!! Into color shoot number one, blue. The color is in squirt bottles and they squirt you with the powder as you go by. The water on the road has nothing to do with the race, it was from a storm that came through the morning of the run and let up right before the run.
 We got a good look at the yellow station we would hit after we turned around and ran back to it.

 I'm about to get yellowed!
 This happy wall was brought to you by post it....I did not stop to write what makes me happy.
 There was quite a cloud of color at each station, this blue cloud was blowing over to some buildings and a parking lot of

 Pink was quite intense....I had glasses on so I could keep my eyes open...I could not see Sophie in the cloud at all as we went through.

 After pink we got a surprise. We made a left turn back into the stadium!! The web site said we got to run around the bottom of the said nothing about going into the stadium again, running the ramps up to the top layer, and running all the way around the stadium!! It was so, so cool!! I'm the only one in our family that had never been inside the stadium, and I gotta say it's really, really nice!

 We were on all the little tv monitors!
 There were still waves starting, so there were still runners down running around the field.
 This is upper level, on the bay side. There were employees along the hall ways happy to give out high fives.

 Above, as soon as you exited down the ramps by the main entrance to the ball park, there was an orange station! Orange and black are Giants colors for my WA people who don't know : )
 And then we can see there are still hundreds of people waiting to start their run.

 The last station was this really small, fine, silvery glitter powder.
 Packets included headbands, shirts, glitter, and a medal at the finish.
 Then it was time to dance, get free stuff they threw into the crowd, and enjoy the clouds of color from the color throws.

 The dude got his monies worth!! A few tears (look close) just due to the crowd and yelling/screaming, but as soon as we got out of the crowd he was stoked again and happy!

 You better believe I made everyone change clothes and bag everything up before getting near my truck!!
leftover from the mornings storm.

This was after the turn around point. It is such a pretty course, even with out the color I'd do this course again!

Emma ran alone, thus the lack of pictures. Myles ran with Brian, so Brian has most those pictures. Sophie and I stuck together.

As for the actual Color Run as a run...we registered very early, at the team price, so it was pretty cheap as far as runs go.  We had the issue with conformation emails, totally my computers fault, but they were very helpful and quick to return emails. It ended up being a non issue. The race offers great swag. There was one aid station, although it's really not needed.  It is a great, fun run. The only negative-ish thing I'd say is that you better know it's a fun run when you register because the majority of people are walking, it is not timed, and if you show up in competitive mode, your going to look like a jerk, and your going to be super frustrated. (Shockingly, we did see a few people taking this race very seriously).