Thursday, December 23, 2010

Since I Last Posted...

...we celebrated Thanksgiving with Ted's family,

Our great nephew Michael, sitting next to his mom, our niece Kelly.

Our other niece Holly, her mom (Aunt Patty), and Joe, who was taking the opportunity to catch a few winks.

Our brother-in-law Mac, and Alex, who is giving me a "look" about who knows what.

Joe, my other brother-in-law (aka Uncle Tim) and my other sister-in-law Aunt Peg buttering another roll.

After dinner Alex passed out various copies of his college newspaper so that we could all read some of the articles he has written. What a way to entertain guests! Fortunately, he's a good writer, so it was okay.

...celebrated Thanksgiving with my family,

My Aunt Dolores, cousin Davene, and her husband Rick, getting everything ready on the table.

My cousin Damon, his fiancee Cathy, and Davene, watching my mom take another drink of her wine.

Davene, Rick, and Alex...we're all too STUFFED to move!

My dad, my mom (telling another story), and Damon.

put up the tree and decorated it (but now the lights don't work and I'm in the midst of a Plan B, but wish I had a little more time to implement it),

made some holiday candy,

went to our school Christmas program (which was held at our high school gym and there were LOTS of people there!),

finished Christmas shopping,

Gift bags for my Reading Mastery students, in front of the pink tree they decorated AND the static cling they put up.

did a snowman craft with my Reading Mastery students,

Believe me, this was a "fly by the seat of your pants" type project. Even though I had it all thought out in my head, I'd never done it before and learned a LOT if I ever do it again!

attended Ted's work Christmas party (and had a very nice time),

This Turtle Cheesecake dessert was nothing less than absolutely FABULOUS!

got our annual Christmas letter written, cards addressed, and sent,

began baking,

and wrapped almost all of the gifts (just about 5 things to go!).


Later today I'll finish baking and wrapping, then maybe even clean the house a little. I've been letting that go, as I just haven't had the time to take care of it. Joe and Alex are both home from college and although I just LOVE having them home, I've gone from cleaning the kitchen a couple times a week, to cleaning it about twice a day.

I understand that Christmas is coming in two days, whether I'm ready or not.

I'm really looking forward to spending time with the family....that's all I need to make Christmas special.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

It's Been a While

Yes, I'm still around.

Life has sort of gotten a little busy at times, and I've not been blogging. I hope to get back to it soon, and be much more consistent about my posts.

School is going okay. It could be better, but I'm trying not to get all stressed out about things I have no control over. I've been trying to leave work "stuff" at work and enjoy my time at home. I'm also not staying after school nearly as much this year. Those days of staying until 6 or 7 pm, are OVER. It's not that I don't love what I do, because I DO! It's just that the more of myself that I give to my job, the more that's expected of me. I don't mind giving 150% all the time, but it gets discouraging when it's not noticed or appreciated, and then expected.

Like I said, I absolutely love what I's so rewarding to see the sparkle in a child's eye, and a huge smile when they "get" something. It's like they've just discovered a new world! I work with some second graders on a computer program called "Math Facts in a Flash." It breaks basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts into levels, and a student needs to complete 40 facts correctly in 2 minutes or less in order to go on to the next level. Even though I work with them on their facts, their regular classroom teacher also schedules time for them to work independently on this computer program. When I see these kids in the cafeteria when I have duty, they just love to tell me that they passed a certain level. I try to make them feel like they've won the lottery, because many of them don't get much recognition at home. I love seeing their reactions when I gush over them passing levels. That's what makes my job so great.

So anyway, it's not the kids that make me frustrated, it's the other factors.

Alex turned 20 last weekend, so we told him that we would take him and a couple of his friends to dinner in a city near his college.

Megan, Tino, and Alex...The guys decided to wear ties. Something about watching "Breakfast at Tiffany's" a few days earlier. Yes, I realize his hair is VERY long. I'm trying to pick my battles. And for the record, he's scheduled for a TRIM the day before Thanksgiving.

A few days after we told him this, he said that he invited EIGHT of his friends!

John, Dan, and Emily...they agree that Alex needs a haircut!

Alex has made some excellent choices with friends. These young people are all very ambitious and I was impressed with their selections of majors and minors.

Apparently I didn't make it clear what was meant by a couple. Alex wanted to go to Olive Garden, and as it turned out, only five were able to make it, but we had a very nice time. Joe was able to join us too.

Joe returned to college for an additional Bachelors Degree (this time in Journalism), and it's going quite well for him. This has been a whole new experience for him, as he got his first degree (in Business) while living at home. Now he's living in a dorm on the campus of the second largest university in Ohio. He's actually adjusting quite well.

When they both come home for the same weekend, it's really entertaining. I've walked in from school on a Friday and have seen them both at the kitchen table, with their laptops open, sitting across from each other, discussing music and radio. They both have weekly radio shows at their perspective campuses. Joe has his own 2 hour show on Monday mornings, and Alex co-hosts a 2 hour show on Tuesday evenings. It's as though they can finally have actual discussions about things and not get into a big altercation. is going okay right now. I'm going to try to be more diligent about updating here. That's my personal goal for the rest of 2010!

Sunday, September 19, 2010


My cousin Damon (and his fiancee Cathy) hosted a family gathering yesterday. It was absolutely WONDERFUL to get together with everyone, including the extended family!

Dean, Davene, Aunt Sandie, and Damon

It also gave us the opportunity to talk about my Uncle Medie's passing last spring. Uncle Medie is my mom's brother, and he and his wife, my Aunt Sandie, moved to California in the 90s. Their older son, Dean, moved there even earlier than that. They are definitely transplanted Ohioans! Dean and his wife Mara, along with Aunt Sandie are visiting Ohio. They even brought a friend of Dean's with them.

My mom, Aunt Dolores (my mom's sister), and Cousin Patty

Dean and Cathy (Damon's fiancee) looking at old photo albums

The day was gorgeous! Sunny, but not too hot. The food was excellent! Would you expect anything less from a bunch of italians?

This is just a part of all the wonderful goodies we had!

The beverages flowed,

There was plenty of water, pop, wine, and beer to go around!

games were played, pictures were taken,

Cousin Damon, Ted, me, Cousin Matt

a birthday celebrated (my mom),

and we all got caught up on each other's lives,

Patty is trying to tell a story, and being italian, she has a glass of wine in one hand, while using her other hand to convey her thoughts.

She's still working the story, the wine, and the hand.

As the story winds down, it's important to note that not a single drop of wine spilled. She doesn't like to waste important things like that.

in addition to talking about Uncle Medie.

Damon has a plaque in his backyard, in memory of his dad. Uncle Medie was a very special man. He's missed and thought of every day.

It was such a great day...we don't get together often, but when we do, it's like we haven't missed a beat!

Me, my mom, and my dad

It's all about the family.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Well, it's Just About Over

Summer break.

As of next Monday morning, it will be over.

Let's see....what have I done all summer?

Read a few good books? Check

Spent time in the pool? Check

Stayed up late? Check

Slept in? Check

Spent WAY too much time on Facebook? Double Check

Cooked dinner every night? Um....not EVERY night, but most some nights

Thoroughly cleaned the house once a week? I thought about it. Does that count?

Organized all the photographs around the house and categorized them by when they were taken? I'm about 5% finished

Worked on all the school things I brought home for the summer? Hmmm...where did I put that stuff?

Sorted through all the Christmas decorations and got rid of the things we don't use? Are you kidding?

Had a great time when a group of teachers and our coordinator came over for lunch yesterday? Check

This is only some of the food that everyone brought to share. Everything was SOOOOOOOO good!

Our wonderful coordinator, lovingly referred to as King Richard. Check out those baby blue eyes! (Yes ladies, he's single, and quite a catch!)

Diane and Ashlee are discussing the future of education in Ohio...or was it the latest Kohl's ad they were talking about?

Jill is quietly wondering to herself, "when can I get out of here and get back home to my wonderful husband?" (Jill's still a newlywed!)

Shannon is shooting Diane a look because Diane asked me if I was taking yet ANOTHER picture! (Shannon's good at giving looks. Her 5 year old daughter has taught her well.)

Ashlee will probably never forgive me, as I took a photo of her back. But hey, I was just trying to share an example of wonderful posture! (King Richard looks happy, as usual. I think he was talking about his dog or some other exciting subject.)

Jill, Staci, and Lexy, hanging onto every word that's being said. It must not all have been good, because Staci is looking a little concerned. Lexy was attempting to look interested, but she just got ENGAGED, so her thoughts may be drifting to wedding plans. (Hey Lexy, do you watch "Say Yes to the Dress?" How about a roadtrip to NYC????)

Staci's feeling a little better, but King Richard is saying, "Are you about done taking pictures Cindi??"

Kris is thinking about the baklava that Shannon brought (it was absolutely DELICIOUS). Kris and I have shared a classroom for the last 15 years!! Fortunately we get along extremely well, and I've learned so much from her. She has the patience of a saint, and the kindest heart.

Shannon is trying to tell King Richard how things are going to work this year, and he's having none of it. He's telling her that she WILL be doing after-school tutoring 3 days a week, ALL YEAR LONG. She's plotting her revenge at this very minute.

I know it's only August, but I hope all of you have had a wonderful summer!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Trip To Remember

The summer after I graduated from high school, I was fortunate enough to go on a trip to southern California. My parents gave me the trip as a graduation gift, and I would be staying with my mom's sister, my Aunt D.

I've mentioned Aunt D here before. She is quite the traveler of the family, having been to almost every continent (except Antarctica) several times, and since she lived in the Long Beach, CA area, was an EXCELLENT hostess!

My friend Mary, who has also been a subject here a few times and was pictured in my last blog entry, also lived in southern California by this time and I was able to spend some time with her on the trip.

Aunt D made sure I had the WHOLE SoCal experience! Our days were filled with activities from early morning until late at night, and it was SO much fun!

We started off with a trip up the coast. We stopped at the Santa Barbara Mission and it was really something. There are a fair amount of missions up and down the coast, and throughout my stay, we also went to the Mission de San Luis Obispo.

Santa Barbara Mission

Santa Barbara Mission

We went on to spend the night in Morro Bay, where the fog was rolling in and left the Morro Rock looking quite interesting.

The next day we went on to San Simeon, where we visited the Hearst Castle. That was amazing! At that time the 3rd floor of the castle was private and still used by the family occasionally. We all kept looking at the windows, hoping for a glimpse of "someone" but saw nothing.

This was one of the outdoor pools at the Hearst Castle. It was GORGEOUS!

Aunt D was taking a little break while touring the Hearst Castle.

We also stopped in a small Dutch town called Solvang. It was so sweet and quaint.
Over the next few weeks, we toured the Queen Mary (a famous ocean liner),

stopped by Grauman's Chinese Theatre,

I don't even remember whose hand print I put my hand in!

shopped on Olvera Street (the birthplace of Los Angeles and home of many Mexican shops),

went to the Hollywood Bowl (over 100 steps to the top...yes, I counted them),

rode bikes along the Long Beach Marina,

Aunt D wanted me to tell people that this was the boat she was buying!

Can't you just hear the theme of Gilligan's Island?

attended a taping of One Day at a Time (with Valerie Bertinelli)

went to Knott's Berry Farm (an amusement park),

took Mary along as we went to San Diego and visited Sea World

and the San Diego Zoo.

We went to the Hollywood Wax Museum,

Universal Studios,

This is Bruce, the mechanical shark, who starred in the movie Jaws.

and of course....


*Cue music: It's a Small World

We did a lot of other things, went to a lot more places, and had loads of fun! It was a fantastic graduation gift and I had a blast!

It was quite a trip...but as Dorothy said, "There's no place like home!"