go, go goldieblox!

If you are the parent of a young girl, this post is for you.

Today I got an email from Fat Brain Toys – love them – informing me that “the hottest toy this spring is in”! Well my goodness. Far be it from me to miss out on the hottest toy this spring! Plus, if Fat Brain thinks it’s good, well it must be good.

Being the true consumer that I am, I clicked right through to find this: GoldieBlox and the Spinning Machine. From the picture, it’s hard to immediately figure out exactly what’s going on…some sort of pink dolphin in a tutu…ribbon spinning around a board…huh?
The second thing that caught my attention was the price: 30 smackers! Geez. I still didn’t know what GoldieBlox was, but I was feeling pretty certain it wasn’t worth $30.

Immediately, I’m on Amazon searching for “the hottest toy this spring” to see if there are reviews and, of course, to do a price comparison. (Because while I do love Fat Brain Toys, let’s just say that they aren’t always the cheapest store on the online block.) My Amazon findings: It’s the same price and there are no reviews because the product isn’t even quite available yet – due to be launched on April 28 – but conveniently available for pre-order.

Then, I watch this video where GoldieBlox founder Debbie, who is clearly beautiful and smart, tells me about her new toy company. Immediately, I’m hooked. I don’t know if I’ll buy Debbie’s new product yet because it seems it Elena may still be a little young for it – but I love the idea and I hope that she succeeds. Go Debbie and go GoldieBlox!

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spring breakers

Last week we joined the gazillions of families who use their little ones’ spring break as an opportunity for some family togetherness. We feel lucky that we don’t have to venture far for great vacation options. We passed up the ever-popular Sunriver for Brasada Ranch in the Powell Butte area outside of Bend. Despite some bumps during the booking process and pre-arrival, I can’t think of many bad things to say about it once we were on the property. It was great.

After five(ish) days of R&R, we returned to gorgeous weather in Portland over the weekend. Our second Easter in our home with the gift of sunshine and perfect temperatures. It was a lovely week, and very appreciated time as we return to our day jobs, volunteer work for two upcoming schools events, and the start of Little League and swimming again this week. I think it’s going to be a busy spring.

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shame on us

Jeff and I are enjoying some lovely time away from daily life with Elena and Ian this week in central Oregon. I’d like to say that we’ve been totally unplugged, but of course, we haven’t. So, like many others, we’ve both been overwhelmed with red and pink images online, other photos and news accounts of the “controversial” issue before the Supreme Court this week. To say that I’m frustrated – and dare I say, angry – about the time that we as a nation are spending on this issue is an understatement.

My son’s school district lost 300 teachers this year. He no longer has a librarian (who he talked about often) and class sizes continue to grow to absurd levels. He has PE, library, technology and music once every several days. Teachers are instructing classes and subjects in which they have no previous experience because they were needed there after teachers who were qualified in those areas – including areas like sciences, foreign languages and special education – were let go. (Actually, Ian’s former school librarian wasn’t completely let go – she now teaches second grade at his school, speaking of random teacher transfers.) This year, Ian tested into Oregon’s advanced student program, but a lack of funding and resources has made us realize that though his educators have the best of intentions, challenging him to reach his full potential is, understandably, the least of their worries. Without a key state government reform this year and voters approving a local levy to raise property taxes, there will be more bleeding next year.

We are not unique. Nationwide, our entire education system is severely broken from funding to the way we are preparing future generations to keep up with what’s required to succeed in the modern world. And we are spending precious time and money on debating whether or not everyone has the right to equal benefits in marriage? Really? Shame on us.

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am I smarter than a first grader?

I hate Mondays. I know everyone says that, but for me it’s really true. I don’t know why, but I really do believe it’s the crummiest day of the week.

I’m always relieved when Tuesday arrives, and I’m always extra happy and surprised when I do have the occasional awesome Monday.

Today, however, was not one of those days. I mean, it wasn’t horrible; it was my average annoying Monday, I’d say. To demonstrate – my first significant conversation of the morning went something like this…

Elena (eating her breakfast at the counter): Mommy, am I going to the bus stop with you today?

Ian (popping up from playing with something on the floor to immediately chime in): No, Elena, I’m not going to school today but you ARE! (In a “so take that!” friendly brother sort of way.)

Me, trying to get a word in: That’s right…Ian doesn’t have school today so no bus stop. (She loves seeing Ian get on the bus and it about makes her week when he blows kisses and waves goodbye as the bus drives off. It’s pretty cute, I must say.)

Elena: Why doesn’t Ian have school today??

Ian: Because it’s a “Budget Reduction Day.” (Ah yes, my favorite new term since becoming an elementary school parent.)

Me, again, trying to get a word in: Well, Elena, because the school district doesn’t have any money to keep school open. (I’d say it was not presented in a sarcastic tone, but then I’d be lying.)

Ian: It’s not that they don’t have ANY money…it’s that they don’t have ENOUGH money to get through the year. There’s a difference.

Ah, starting off my week being corrected by my first grader. Fabulous.

Of course I walked away with my cup of coffee thinking to myself that in my book, operating with 2% reserves – for starters – DOES qualify as not having ANY money, but I suppose that’s beside the point.

Yes indeed, it was a proper Monday.

it’s official: my neighbor is my enemy

He also happens to be my dentist.

Truth is, he didn’t used to be our neighbor. Rather, he was simply more like our dentist who Jeff and I both saw for cleanings twice a year. I liked it that way. Until about three years when he echoed my dentist from D.C. in telling me that I really needed to get a gum graft. Despite recommendations from two¬† professionals in different cities, I think it was something about mentioning the two teeth eventually falling out that finally caught my attention. So, off I went to a periodontist for oral surgery. That was fun, as you would imagine.

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