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You Can Make A Difference!

February 12, 2016

Unless you haveastronaut been living under a rock, you know that it is Girl Scout cookie season! I know that you are probably feeling inundated with requests from cute little girls asking you to buy some Thin Mints or Savannah Smiles. We all appreciate your support of Girl Scouts nationwide. If you have not yet indulged and purchased you freezer stash of cookies or donated cash to send cookies to troops overseas, we’d like to ask for your support.
This year, the Big One is trying to sell 650 boxes. Her typical goal is 525 to earn a free week of camp (something she has achieved for the last three years!). This year she upped her goal for the opportunity to spend the night at the San Diego Air and Space Museum. Now y’all know the Big One is going to be the first person to step foot on Mars. She will gladly share her plan with anyone who will listen! She wants to attend the Air Force Academy, earn her pilots’ wings and then apply to NASA, get accepted and trained, and then blast off to Mars when the Orion spacecraft is ready! She’s got it all worked out!


If you’d like to help my future astronaut earn the opportunity to sleep overnight among some of the coolest aircraft around, please help us out! If you need cookies, we will gladly deliver in San Diego. If you are out of town, we have digital cookies, where you can order cookies online or make an online donation to Operation Thin Mint. Don’t know what Operation Thin Mint is? Well watch this video and the Big One will tell you all about it.

We will also gladly accept any donations locally. Any questions, let us know!


We have these eight varieties this year. Each box is $5 each. For Operation Thin Mint, we take cash donations of any amount!

LBB_SHARE_Cookie Nutrition Flyer_6.12.15_v17_Consumer

HELP, Someone Smarter Than Me!

January 22, 2016

Y’all know that I am not a huge Common Core fan. I think the concept is good, however the implementation has been awful. The teachers have not been adequately equipped to succeed and as such, the kids are struggling.

One of the techniques that my girls’ school uses to help enhance reading skills is called Achieve 3000. The school pays a hefty amount for a subscription. In turn each student is given a unique user name and password to get them into the system. The kids read an online article based on their reading lexile level and then they have to answer a series of questions to gauge their understanding of the text. The questions are a mix of comprehension and fact retention. I don’t know the exact process for evaluating them but it seems that after they achieve a high enough score on a certain number of articles, they move up a level.

The Little One has struggled with reading from the get go. She is so busy that the last thing she wants to do it sit down with a paper book in her hand. She would rather be playing with her dolls, riding her scooter or playing games online. So I do think that Achieve 3000 can be good for her. It’s online, which is fun for her. The article are quick and there are a million topics that she can choose to read about.

It’s a good concept but again, the execution is the challenge. The articles are often boring. The questions are often confusing. And often there are typos in the article and/or questions.

For example this morning, the Little One was struggling with the following:

Here’s the article she read: (click the picture and it will get bigger)



And then this was one of the questions: (click the picture and it will get bigger)


How would you answer the question, based on the article?
For a child who is struggling with her reading to begin with to then be faced with a vague question she gets extremely frustrated daily. There has to be someone way smarter than me who can come up with a better program or system to help kids achieve. I am certain that I could write more interesting stuff. I think I can write better questions to gauge her comprehension of the article. And I can proofread to avoid some of the typos. So who’s got the golden ticket, so to speak, to create a better way to teach kids like mine to love reading?


Just for fun….One of many typos that I read daily when trying to help! (I know typos happen to the best of us, but it’s a program to help kids become better readers. The irony is funny! Click the picture and it will get bigger)


Technology FAIL!

December 22, 2015

IMG_9827All parents know that as the kids get older, hiding the Christmas gifts can get harder and harder and harder. So in addition to having to search for random things on the computer in an attempt to “fool” the Amazon and Google algorithms I now know that I need to hide my phone!


So we listen mainly to Christian music in our household. AIR1 is our radio station of choice. As a result my kids love to listen to artists that many of you have probably never heard of. They like For King and Country, Lauren Daigle, Newsboys, Audio Adrenaline and their most favorite is Toby Mac.


The Husband and I have seen Toby Mac in concert a few times. Each time we go, the girls beg to go with us. We know he puts on a great show but it is crazy loud and action packed. So we wanted to wait until they got a bit older. Back in September the Hits Deep Tour was announced. Toby Mac is the headliner. The kids have heard the ads for this concert on the radio for months. And each and every time they hear the ads they ask if Toby Mac is coming to San Diego and every time they ask, I …. hedge a bit.
I put them off.
We are usually in the car and I tell them to “remind me when we get home.”


I pretend to not hear their question and quickly change the subject.


Okay, I lie. I admit it. I lie to my children.


You see the day the tickets went on sale, I was online purchasing them. Toby Mac is indeed coming to San Diego on February 28.


The Husband and I decided we would get the tickets as part of the girls’ Christmas gifts, so we needed to keep it a secret until Christmas. Did I mention we decided this back in SEPTEMBER??? So I have hedged, lied, redirected and stalled all this time. And then my stupid smart phone failed me.


We were in the car over the weekend and the ad again came on the radio. The Big One asked, “MOM! Have you checked yet to see if TOBY MAC is coming to San Diego??”


Hmmmm,” I said. “I’m not sure I’ll check when we get home, if you remind me.



And then the darn Little One pipes up…. “HE IS COMING! It’s in FEBRUARY!!!!”


How do you know?” I asked trying to act surprised that she knows this information.


MOM! I saw it on your phone. It’s on the calendar,” she says smugly.


DAMNIT! Stupid phone. Forget hiding presents in the closet or under the bed, now I have to hide my darn phone too.

You Can’t Fix Stupid

December 15, 2015

Click for larger image and my fabulous commentary!

We live in a jacked up world. People are dumb. People are selfish. People are rude. People are disrespectful. And that’s just what I saw today while picking up the girls from school.

It is really is beyond fathomable most days. The girls’ school does not have buses for the general population of kids. The kids either walk from the neighborhood or parents drop them off. The school is in a residential neighborhood. The school is on one side of the street (taking up a whole block) and there are houses across the street.

The street in front of the school is marked “3-minute Loading Zone” with some room at one end for the buses that pick up the medically fragile kids who attend. Then there are two small lots marked for faculty/staff. Parents are supposed to park across the street from the school or on one of the side streets surrounding the school. Sounds simple enough, huh?

Yeah, well not so much. The Big One has been at the school for going on six years now (kinder- 5th grade) and I am still shocked most days by what I see each morning at drop off and each afternoon at pick-up. It really is hard to believe that people can be so plain stupid.

Click for my commentary!

Click for my commentary!

They make U-turns wherever they feel like it along the block. They park in the loading zone. They park all over the faculty-staff lot (often blocking in other cars). They park in the red zone. They block the residents’ driveways. They park in the two handicapped spots without handicap placards. They stop in the middle of the street and holler for their kids to run across the traffic to where they are blocking traffic in the other direction. If it wasn’t so dangerous it would be comical.

So today, a woman whose child is wheelchair bound couldn’t park in the handicap spots because they were both full. One car had a placard, the other did not. So the woman parked in the fire lane to get her wheelchair-bound child and then went into the office to complain. The principal came out and stood by the illegally parked car waiting for the parent to return.

Once the parent returned, the principal was respectful, yet firm while educating the woman about who can use handicap parking spaces. The woman, instead of swallowing her pride and admitting her mistake (or laziness) instead used some choice words to basically tell the principal that she could park wherever the heck she wanted. At this point, the poor kid was horrified and said, “MOM! That’s the principal!” Then the mom continued her 4-letter word tirade as she drove off with her 6 or 7 year old planted in the front seat of the car! What the actual hell is wrong with people?

I should have taken a picture to add to my collection of stupidity, but I was just shocked by what I had witnessed.

Click for larger image and my commentary!

Click for larger image and my commentary!

So for their Bronze Award, my 5th grade Girl Scouts have decided that they are going to try to fix some of this mess. We have a traffic engineer coming to talk to the girls at our next meeting. And we’ve made friends with a police officer who has been trying to come by and educate folks individually (both verbally and in the form of tickets) about what a “3-minute Loading Zone” actually means. But I am getting worried that no amount of education, enforcement, or signage can fix the problem of stupid people. Heaven help us all!

Anyone had any luck fixing the traffic problems at their kids’ schools?

Angels and Messages

December 3, 2015

faithThere is so much yuckiness in the world especially today in the aftermath as we all try to comprehend what happened in San Bernardino yesterday. I struggled to sleep last night. I just kept thinking about those left behind, those whose lives are forever changed because of some kind of evil. It just rocked me to the core.

So this morning I am happy to share a little sliver of hope that there is definitely good in the world. That there are angels and messages around us each day if we can find a way to hear them.

The Little One was eating breakfast before school when out of the blue she asks me about a friend of hers who is also in our Girl Scout troop.

“Is Nyah okay, Mom?” she asked.

“What?” I responded. It was such a random question, I thought.

“Nyah, is she okay? I didn’t see her at school. Is she sick or something?”

Now I had seen this kiddo at school on Tuesday, so I assumed all was well and told the Little One as much.

“I think she is okay,” I said. “I talked to her Tuesday after school. Was she not at school yesterday (Wednesday)?” I asked.

“I didn’t see her, that’s why I wondered if she was okay,” the Little One responded.

I told her I didn’t know but that what we would make a special effort to look for her friend once we got to school.

We were, of course, running late. The Little One couldn’t find her science journal. The Big One forgot her trumpet. We were a mess, racing to school. We got to school after the bell rang so we didn’t have time to look for Nyah to check on her.

So as usual, after the kids are safely in their classrooms, a couple mom friends and I chat about life right outside the school gate. Today as we were chatting, Nyah and her mom arrived at school. Nyah was walking a little funny we noticed, so we asked if she was alright. Turns out she broke her ankle and that is why she was not at school yesterday.

The Little One adores Nyah, but she is not a friend that we talk about daily. They play well together and have lots of fun at Girl Scouts, but they don’t typically play together daily at recess or anything like that. But something told the Little One that Nyah was hurting. Someone prompted the Little One to ask me about her friend. Someone IS watching out for our little ones. And someone is getting through to them.

In these difficult times, we need to have faith like a child. We need to know that Someone is out there. Someone is in control and Someone will assure that we are all somehow, someway going to be okay.

Perspective is Something Beautiful

December 2, 2015

As I was standing around with several others at Einstein Bros this morning waiting for my bagel, I noticed a woman standing in line waiting to order. She was fairly nondescript. Truth be told when she first walked past me to get to the line I assumed she was a young man. She was fairly small statured wearing black pants and a black hoodie with the hood up covering her hair and part of her face. I only saw her from the back initially.

The longer I stood there waiting, I noticed others who ordered after me were getting impatient. I heard sighs, feet tapping, weight shifting, more sighs. It seemed to be taking longer than normal, but I had my coffee. It was warm inside. I was okay waiting. And I then I saw the woman waiting to order. She was looking around the restaurant just smiling. She looked up at the ceiling and smiled. She looked at other tables and smiled. She looked at the people working and just kept smiling.

Initially my cynical side thought maybe she was homeless and suffering from some mental health issues. How sad is that? The woman was looking around smiling and I automatically assumed something was wrong with her. Man, talk about eye opening. I watched her order. The workers seemed to recognize her. They were all pleasant to her.

She paid for her bagels and then came over near where I was standing still waiting. She had a McDonald’s coffee cup that she was refilling with Einstein Bros coffee. A small child, probably about three years old, ran past us following her mom. I smiled at the enthusiasm of the pajama-clad little one who was rocking her pink pajamas with brown polka dots and cowboy boots. The smiling woman in black caught my eye and said, “Such a cutie!”

I agreed that the little girl was adorable and at a really fun age as far as little people go. The woman in black agreed and told me she had 13 grandkids ranging in age from 9 months to 19 years old. I asked if she saw them often and she said yes. We talked about how blessed she was with family.

Then she went on to show me her bandaged arm. She told me she was has been on dialysis for 7 years. I must have had a sympathetic look on my face, for she immediately said, “Don’t feel sorry for me, it’s keeping me alive!”

We talked some more about her dialysis and she shared that she was “at the top of the list” for a kidney transplant. That twice she had received “the call,” and twice there was something wrong that prevented her surgery. Again she said, “It’s okay! I’m still alive!”

Now I am a faithful person. I am a praying person, but I admit that one of my struggles is often sharing my faith. The Husband and kids will shout their faith from the mountain tops, but I am much more reserved. I prefer to be the behind the scenes person. I make sure that things get done without sharing too much. Yes, I know that this is disobedience to God. It’s something I need to work on daily.

So I guess I was channeling my family when I grabbed her hand and asked if I could pray for her. She got a little teary-eyed and smiled an even bigger smile and said, “Yes, thank you!” Then she grabbed me and hugged me.

She said that she never feels sorry for herself and likes to share her story with people to give them some perspective. She said that often no matter what people are feeling sorry for themselves about, she can show them it could be worse. Not that she really has it that bad, she explained. “Besides,” she added, “Anyone of us could walk out the door and that could be it. We could be gone!” With that she gave me another hug and walked out.

Because we just never know when our time is up, please hug someone today. Share a smile. Tell someone you love them. And say a prayer for my new friend Chandra and anyone else that you know is struggling with something. Pray for peace. Pray for grace. Pray for joy no matter the circumstances.


When I got in the car this song was on, it seemed fitting for the encounter.

{Steven Curtis Chapman is one of my all-time favorites!}


Earning Respect

November 23, 2015

So a few weeks ago, I was pretty ticked at the robo-dads for their lack of respect for the girls IMG_9505and their time with the robot at the girls’ robotics team practice. Yesterday the dads finally started to get it just a little bit.

Now I am not one to toot my kid’s own horn. I watch and observe all the kids on the team and I know which kid is the best at screwing around. Which kid has the better mechanical skills. Which kid is the creative one who could not care less about programming or building a robot. And which kid is the best programmer on the team (yes, that one is mine). Now again I don’t like to brag, but the kid is smart.

All the other kids on the team recognize it and in fact are very good at encouraging the Big One when she gets frustrated. They know that if the Big One cannot figure out the problem, there are pretty much toast. At least once at every practice at least one of the other kids on the team tells her to keep going because she is the best programmer on the team.

The dads pretty much know this as well. When there is a problem on the robot course, they always call the Big One over and ask her opinion on how to fix whatever is going wonky.

So a little background to get to yesterday’s practice. Last weekend the kids competed in the FLL Qualifying Tournament at High Tech High. There were 23 teams competing. Eight of the top teams were invited to compete in the upcoming Southern California Regional competition at LEGOLand in two weeks. Our team’s robot performance was middle of the pack, but they rocked it in the “Core Values” section of the competition. For this section, the kids are basically in a room with a panel of judges. The judges give the kids a random task to complete. They are given a short amount of time to do whatever they can to complete the task. It is basically a team building-type exercise where the judges are observing how the kids work together, not necessarily how successful they are at completing the challenge. The kids did awesome and ended up taking second place in this section. Their Core Values score combined with their research project score, their robot design and the robot performance was high enough to get them invited to the regional tournament.

So now we have TWO WEEKS to prepare for this next level. The kids were working yesterday on some modifications to improve the robot’s design and performance. The mechanical kid was asked to work on a new arm piece to improve the reliability of a couple programs, while the Big One was working on some other programming challenges. She was at a point where she needed a robot to test something, but the two robots were in use by other kids.

At this point the mechanical kid had gotten bored with his assigned task and was off building some flying machine with LEGOs, so the Big One began working on the modified arm.

Robo-dad #1 comes over and looks at the piece in front of the Big One and says, “Did ‘mechanical kid’ build that for you?”

The Big One didn’t even look up, she just kept her head down and replied, “No, I built it.”

Robo-dad #1 looks at me (I was on the floor sorting 5 million LEGO pieces because I have OCD issues) and then looks back at the Big One and says, “Hmmmmmmm that’s pretty good.”

At this point Robo-dad #2 joined the conversation. He asked the Big One if he could see what she was working on. She, of course, obliged and handed him the piece. He gets this huge grin on his face and says, “HMMMMMMM, that’s REAAALLLLLLLYYYY good!”

In Robo-dad#2’s defense he knows how smart the Big One is and he is the one that is always asking for her input on the other kids’ programs. I don’t think he was all that shocked at her skills, but he was definitely impressed with her problem solving and the way she just quietly went over to the table and did what needed to be done.

What can I say, the kid is a rock-star!



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