Wednesday, December 23, 2009

That Family

Well, it is Wednesday, December 23 and I have a confession. We finished shopping last night at approximately 11:54pm. And, when I say "we", I mean Rich, more specifically. Let me explain....

In Target last night, we were that family. That family that was walking VERY SLOWLY down every isle with their kids saying stuff like, "Wow! Isn't this cool? Would you want something like this???" or "Haven't you wanted one of these in the past? How about now???" We were that family who people pointed at and talked about. That family who was now on the clock because their two DARLING little boys almost refused to let their parents, I mean Santa, know what they wanted for Christmas.

Oh sure, don't think we weren't that family who didn't try shoving a Toys R Us magazine in their faces any chance we could....BECAUSE WE DID AND THEY STILL DIDN'T PICK ANYTHING OUT!! We tried everything. And yet, three nights before you know who was supposed to show up, we were that family walking the isles of Target trying to pass for the parents who actually lived with these two kids and knew what they might enjoy as a gift.

So, last night, after that family left Target with some things on a list, I sent Rich back to Target at 11:30pm and he picked up some things. I think we are good. I don't think we will win "that family" of the year, but I think we are okay.

Merry Christmas to all!!!!

Love The Marini's

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Del Osso Fun!

This past weekend we headed out to Del Osso Farm for some fun in the snow!! This is the first time our family has been to Del Osso and I highly recommend it. The main reason we went there was to go sledding on this man made hill of snow. It was really amazing how well it was set up, everything from wrist bands to appointment times so it wasn't overcrowded. There was plenty of other things to do like zip-lines, petting zoo, train and hay rides, bounce houses, tricycle races and so on. A family could easily spend several hours there and have a blast!!!

Our boys had an absolute blast because their cousins were there too. Mike and Stacy were down for the Marini Christmas weekend and it was their idea to head out to Del Osso and we are glad we went. Matthew and Ryan adore their older cousins and always have so much fun when they are in town.

Here are a bunch of pictures from our fun day.

Mikayla zip-lining

Michael zip-lining

She was so brave!

One of my favorite pictures from the day!

Boys being goofy!


Love it!

Sweet boy!

Here are the sledding pics. Please click on each picture to enlarge...especially on the one with Ryan and Rich to see that he is smiling and we are not torturing him.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Lifeskill Assembly

Here is Matthew getting an award yesterday for the Lifeskill of "Integrity." He looks like a pretty happy camper, don't you think?

Friday, December 11, 2009


Last night was Bingo with Santa at my school. As much as I try and stay away when I am not contractually obligated to be there, having Matt as a student there tends to damper my philosophy because he wants to attend all the fun stuff. As he should! If I weren't a teacher at his school, I would happily show up for everything. It is sometimes difficult taking off my teacher hat and putting on my mommy hat and feeling as if they are two separate beasts. They tend to go hand and hand. At least Ryan can come to these fun things because he HATES the fact he is not in school.

So last night we sat in a cafeteria filled with parents and kids, sipping punch, eating cookies, and playing Bingo. We had our Bingo cards and beans all ready to go. Ryan was eating M & M's out of the dish as if they were....well, M & M's. Matthew found a friend who asked him to come over and sit by him, which he did, and that left Ryan and I playing Bingo by ourselves. And when I say playing Bingo, I mean me trying to keep Ryan from moving the entire table knocking every ones beans off their cards.

As we are into the fourth or fifth game, I hear BINGO! I look up and it's Matthew! They go over and start reading his numbers and the second number he had was wrong. I felt SO BAD! He probably got so excited and then NOTHING. I swear to you....the very next number the man called was the one number he needed to finally, BINGO!!! He picked a free ticket to a Stockton Thunder Hockey game. He was pretty excited.

By this point Ryan is done. He has asked to leave several times, knocked an entire plate of marking beans on the floor and spilled punch once. HE IS DONE. But it is the blackout game and the last game of the night. So we are sitting there, waiting and waiting and all of a sudden..."BINGO!" IT IS MATTHEW AGAIN!!!!!! But this time it is the blackout game, and the prize is an iPod shuffle.

Let me tell you...the mommy hat I was wearing was still on and pulled down tight. So they start calling the numbers and get through all of the B's and I's and my heart starts pounding. I was so worried that he misunderstood a number and it would be a repeat of earlier in the night. So, we get through the N's and G's and now my heart is pounding so hard that it feels as if it is pulsating in my ears. I really could care less if he gets this prize, at this point I am so afraid he is going to get through all these numbers and somehow not have them and be terribly disappointed! Well they got through all the numbers and BAM!!!! HE WON!!!

I was so pleased for him. Kathy this morning said the look on his face was priceless. She said he just looked so happy. Now he is obsessed with putting music on it and he has no idea what songs he wants. He told me, "Can I hear all the songs and then pick the ones I like?" I said, "What do you mean all the songs?" He says, "You know, you can go through all the songs that play on the radio and we can buy the ones I like." I started laughing and said...."There are millions of songs out there, you are going to have to be a little more specific." And what came next out of his mouth??? "What does specific mean?" I said, "Never mind. Just tell me when you hear one you like and we'll look it up."

This is going to be fun.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Basketball Season

I am a little late posting some pics from basketball. Of course, this is Matthew's favorite sport and he is enjoying it every Saturday. What is really cool is that most of the kids on the team are from Reese, so he gets to play with friendly faces.

Last Saturday, the world stood still. Did you notice? Yes, the Earth stopped spinning on its axis because Matthew's teacher, Mrs. Schatz, came to his game. He really could have cared less who else came to see him, she was the star.

If I haven't said this before....Matthew LOVES his teacher. Like stalker, loves his teacher. He loves to go and help her in the morning before school and waits with baited breath until she asks him to help. If her car is in the parking lot before us when we get to school in the morning, every day he says, "Mrs. Schatz is working early today." And it is the same at the end of the day if she is still there when we leave, "Mrs. Schatz is working late again today." Seriously....EVERY DAY!

When she came this Saturday, she was there to see Matt, but also three of the girls in her class play on the same team and they had a game at the same time, so she got to see them. If her presence wasn't enough, she brought each child a sprinkled donut from the donut shop as a treat for after. Clearly her and I have different teaching styles. :)

Here is Matthew and Mrs. Schatz.

Here are the girls (Tabitha, Elle, and Katelin)

Couple shots from the game.

And of course, the shoes. The shoes make everything cool.


How much do I love that it snowed in Lodi this morning????? TRIPLE LOVE IT! This morning, about 7:15 it snowed in Lodi. This video was shot at school when the only people at school are teachers and office executive assistants (hi ladies)...and poor Matthew because he has to come with me and I go so early. Turn up the volume...that is Matthew's teacher saying "This is SO COOL" tons of times and I agree!

Here is Matthew trying to catch a snowflake!

Friday, December 4, 2009

STAR of the week!!!

This week Matthew was STAR of the week. He was SO excited! I mean he set out all of his things to take for show and share, filled out his questionnaire the minute he got it, and drew his self portrait in full color. He had been waiting for such a long time to be picked and it was finally his week!!

Monday morning he wakes up early, gets dressed, comes into the bathroom to bush his teeth and that is when I see it. PINK EYE! Now, I have been a teacher for seven years now and I know pink eye when I see it. I immediately tell Rich to look at his eye because I now know he cannot go to school and he needs to see a doctor to start eye drops right away. Rich, being the retail guy, actually has no experience at all with pink eye and informs me that he is fine, and take him to school. I simply said, "YOU ARE KIDDING ME, RIGHT????" Because I know how it is going to play out...he will get to school, his teacher will see it, send him to the office and make him come home immediately. But, Rich wasn't having it. So, Matthew goes to school. And by 9:30 that morning, we are calling my mom to come and get him because he cannot be at school.

You understand how devastating this was. The STAR gets to do everything during the week. He gets to get the lunch cards in the cafeteria. He gets to run errands with the friend of his choice. All of these things are incredibly important in the life of a first grader...and this first grader is now banned from campus until he has had 24 hours of antibiotics in his eye! He was heartbroken.

Here is where I will praise his teacher to no end. There are certain teachers who are perfect for a grade level and Matthew's teacher is exactly where she should be. She made up the two days he missed in the three days he attended school this week. He adores her and I am so grateful for that because she understood what he needed out of this week and was so willing to make it up to him.

The best part of the week was when Rich and I went into the class. We went in to share pictures and favorite stories. I read his favorite book to the class. He had brought his little dog to share, his Whitehorse snow globe, his photo album, and a snowman. So what started out to be a disaster, turned out to be a success.

I am growing to love all of the kids in his class. And now Rich can put faces to names.

Rich sharing his favorite stories.

Here is Matthew passing off the STAR folder to Logan for next week.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Our Weekend

Our weekend first started off with basketball. Matthew is a couple weeks into his basketball season and loving every bit of it. They have practices once a week and he has just as much fun at those as the actual games. After the game last weekend, we were gathering up everything and getting ready to go and he and some of his team mates just kept shooting baskets and would have probably stayed there forever if we had let them. I would love it if there was an open gym somewhere that I could just take him and a couple of friends and let them shoot baskets for hours. They would love it.

This picture below is of Ryan and Lily. Lily is five days younger than Ryan. They pretty much keep us entertained during the game. The snack together, play ball together, play mommy and daddy together...yes, that's right, and get into trouble together. She is adorable. Please notice the grins on BOTH faces and the hand holding.

After basketball on Saturday, Rich and I headed to Vegas for a sports show. It was incredibly relaxing. I read all four of the books I took (yeah me!) and got in a nice long nap. Rich came back to the hotel room after he was meeting with reps, ready for dinner, and I was apparently snoring. That is success in my book!!! Yeah me, again!

Since we stayed at the Mandalay, we decided to only walk the strip one of the nights due to the chilly weather and my forgetfulness to pack a jacket. I needed make-up, so we walked down to the Forum Shops at Caesars. I guess we have never really walked that much, for that long, outside on the strip and it really opens your eyes as to how FILTHY Vegas is. The streets were horribly gross. I now understand why we cut through billion dollar casinos to walk on their plush carpets. I felt I needed a tetanus shot when we got back. If I come down with Hepatitis, it was due to the streets of Vegas.

We stopped at the Bellagio and took these horribly tacky, tourist pictures with our phone camera. We looked like those people I usually make fun of. KARMA!! Inside the Bellagio Botanical Gardens, they had a fall theme with scare crows and cornucopias. They had this huge tree, with a face on one side. It moved, spoke, and smiled for cameras. The eyes even moved, which was a little to creepy for my taste, but I took a picture anyway!

Inside the Botanical Gardens in the Bellagio.

Us in front of some watering trees.

One of the trees in the gardens.

This would be the "freaky" tree. Seriously...a little creepy.

Us in front of the reservation counter at the Bellagio. Those are huge cornucopias behind us.

This is a picture of a display at the Four Seasons. This was right outside where we had out sports meetings and when we walked by each day, there was this overwhelming smell of sugar. The entire display is edible. Amazing!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Look-A-Like Day!

Today was Look-A-Like Day at school and Matthew and his little friend Ryan S. wanted to dress up together. When Ryan's mom came up to me and said they wanted to dress together, I immediately thought of the jerseys that Matt and my Ryan have for the Kings. And I thought it would be sooooo cute, because it says each of their names on the back of the jerseys. All in all, perfect!

Quick side note about Ryan S. This is how small Lodi is. When I had Matthew in the hospital, the last day I was there, right before I was checked out, they brought a mom in who had just had a c-section. I happened to recognize her because I had worked with her husband a few years earlier. Anyway, here we are, six years later and from sharing a hospital room to the boys being in the same class and friends. LOVE IT!!!!

Monday, November 9, 2009


Well, I have a six year old. How freaky is that? Yes, this was the big birthday weekend and we made the best of it.

This is the last time I will post about Disneyland for a while. One, because frankly I think you are done reading about it and seeing the kids on the same rides over and over. And two, our season passes are done and we won't be purchasing them again due to the cost of having to pay for Ryan now. The happiest place on earth is also the most expensive place on earth.

We loaded up the car on Friday night and headed to Anaheim. Both the boys slept from Lodi to Fresno, woke up to eat dinner, and then went back to sleep. The end of the week must have caught up with them. When we arrived at DL at 11:15pm, everyone was WIDE AWAKE, so we headed across the street and decided to ride some rides. The park closed at 12:00am, so we were successful getting on some rides. It was nice to let the boys out and run around after being in the car all night. The best part of that night was the guys face at the entrance who scanned our passes and realized that it was our first entry of the 11:30pm. I think that officially puts us in the crazy family of the year category.

Saturday was officially Matthew's birthday, so he proudly wore his Happy Birthday button for everyone to see. All the cast members said Happy Birthday to him and he had a hard time saying thank you. I told him if someone wishes you Happy Birthday, SAY THANK YOU! It later occurred to me that my children have been programmed to not talk to, he was really following the rules.

Here is the big 6 year old!

Matthew got a camera from us for his birthday. When we went to West Virginia and Washington DC earlier this year, I gave him a camera I had won at school to use, but it really didn't take good pictures. He was so good with it though that we thought he could probably handle having one of his own. My niece Mikayla go a camera last year for Christmas and she loves taking pictures. I also remember my sister-in-law setting some ground rules right away for when it is appropriate to take pictures and when it is not. We did the same right away....thanks Stace!! I think I will let Matthew do his own post in a couple of days and I will let him share with you the pictures he took on his trip.

Here is Matthew trying to take a picture of Goofy and Goofy isn't letting him.

Here are some other fun pics from the trip.

This is Matthew's favorite "ride" in California Adventure. The rope swing.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Homework....The Never Ending Story.

Matthew is screwed. Is that rude? Okay, how do I put it another way...he's toast. He's a goner. His life is over. Done. Finished. Why? Because I am the homework checker. Not because I am "the teacher." It's because he has to do his homework when he gets home and I am the only one here to check it. So, he's screwed. Why? Because I am the teacher. I am mandated to check, correct, and teach. It says so on my diploma. And it should have said so on his birth certificate...but that is another story, for another time, for those parents who believe that a teacher should teach their children everything they need to know in life and think they have a free pass as a homework checker.

Matthew came home with sentences today. Take five spelling words, write five sentences. Simple, right? Totally. And simple is what he delivered.

I have a tent.
I get a pen.
I like the color red.

I looked over them and said. "These are sentences, but they are not good sentences." I told him that I was going to erase them and he was going to do them over again. I told him that my students can't write simple sentences for me, they have to write sentences that have details in them. I told him that it is not okay to do enough work just to get by, that I expect him to put more effort into his work and try harder. This was his response...

"But Mom, I am not one of your students. I am not in the fifth grade. And those were sentences!!!!"

So he wrote new sentences. I helped him think of sentences that had more details in them like, "I went to the pet shop to get a hamster." and "I set up a tent in the backyard to go camping." and "I have a good friend named Jeevan." OF COURSE, I had issues with him starting all of the sentences with "I", but judging by the look on his face and the meltdown that was to come on at any minute, I decided to skip that. There is always next week.

I had someone tell me one time that the reason Matthew is so smart is because I am a teacher. There is absolutely no truth to that. He's learned a lot because we have taught him. Those "teachable moments" that I have some days in my classroom, where I have gone completely away from what is in the text book, to describe and give details to explain to my class what the concept is....that doesn't get turned off when I come home. Some days it does....don't get me wrong. The thought of sitting with Matt and doing homework after I have corrected 90 papers and it's only Monday, is not appealing. But it's simple, his teacher isn't responsible for everything he learns. So yeah...he's screwed. Because teachable moments have no office hours.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


Happy Halloween. The two goblins of the Marini household were in store bought costumes this year (GASP!!!). I know, I know. The last couple of years I have made Matthew's costume and this year I totally gave in. But listen....he wanted to be a tornado. And as cool as that sounds and as cool as it would be with all the ideas going through my head....I still wasn't sure how I was going to do it. So, last week when Kathy and Terry, our fabulous executive assistants for Reese School, offered a M&M costume....I JUMPED ALL OVER IT! And Matthew seemed to be very satisfied being a giant piece of candy. So all were happy.

That brings us to Ryan. He wanted to be a skeleton. Then a spider. Then a skeleton. Then Buzz Lightyear. Then a spider. Then a skeleton. Then a spider. Then Buzz Lightyear. Do you get the idea? Ryan was a pretty much a day to day decision. And as much as I like to support his need to express himself in different was getting down the to the wire, so the $11.99 Buzz Lightyear costume won. Yeah Buzzzzzz!!!

Trick or treating was fun this year because both boys were able to walk up to the door by themselves, say the magic words, receive the candy from strangers, and move on to the next house while Rich and I stood at the end of the driveways yelling..."Don't forget to say THANK YOU!!" That was fabulous.

Yesterday we met the Locke's downtown and did a little Trick or Treating to get us in the mood.

The big boys on their own...

Here is the cat that adopted us for an entire block and walked with the boys to each house.

Ryan wanted to bring the cat home. (I think Daddy did too)

At Nana Sharon's at the end of the night. Ryan is in a sugar coma.