Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Pet Friendly Family

We were brave.  Very brave.  We were so brave to even THINK about taking a vacation with Teddy.  It was something we had been thinking about for a while because we love Carmel and it is the pet friendliest place on the planet, so it was the ideal place to start.  Only the citizens there would understand all of Teddy's shortcomings...because there are many.  We love him to death, however we get that other people don't find him as charming as we do. We get it...honest.

The whole process leading up to this weekend was hysterical.  Last I was hard at work closing a school year, I started making a Teddy Packing List.  This list was at one point equivalent to the first time we took Matthew as a baby somewhere (which I think was Carmel).  I remember loading the back of our Jeep with half the nursery and thinking...we can survive the two days...we can survive the two days.  And we did,  hardly touching half of the stuff we packed.  The Teddy Packing List became very similar to the Matthew Packing List of long ago.  Because again, the rationale of there being a Babies R Us or Target nearby in case we forgot something was gone.  That same rationale of there not being a Petco or any other pet store in the area caused me to pack fifteen different items for a two day stay.

When we got to Carmel, the first place we went was to the beach.  Our thought process was that we would take him down and run him around and exhaust him so he would be mild and calm all the other places we took him.  This was not the case.  First of all, the weather was GORGEOUS!!!!!!!!!  It was mid-60's and sunny.  Because I knew the weather forecast I only packed long sleeves and pants for the boys...because mid-60's does not say swim in the ocean to me.  Within the first five minutes of us being there Ryan was drenched from his neck down and Matthew's jeans were soaking wet.  This was not the plan...I only had one change of clothes.  Teddy ran right into the water because he is part fish (he LOVES water) and he looked like a drowned rat.  So, I was on the beach only four minutes before I was heading right back up the car for towels and clothes for wardrobe changes for everyone.

I managed to snap a couple of pics...

Everybody heading down, still dry and looking like they will casually walk in the sand and not go in the water.

That lasted 30 seconds.  The ol' game of "it can't get me" is so tempting and the waves ALWAYS win!!!

You can almost hear the voices inside of Ryan's head saying...GO!  GO!  GO!

Yep....they just couldn't stand it.

This game is SO MUCH FUN!!!!!

Ted's turn.  He was not hesitant at all.  He was so ready to go all in...

Do you love that Rich lost his sandal on the way in??? 

Drowned rat.

It's not cold....I promise.  It feels nice...  Soaking wet jeans NEVER feel nice!!!

One last trip in.

After the beach we headed to lunch.  Lunch was a bit of a turning point for the trip because it was during the forty-five minute wait for lunch that I realized...we need backup.  And by backup, I mean a muzzle.  GASP!!!  Yeah, I said it and yeah, we bought one!!!  We really got to the point that we realized that he was scared sh%$less and he was barking at everything and everyone.  It made sense that we brought him to this new place with all of these people and while he is walking, they must look like giants and there were so many of them, it was just too much for him.  So, we got the muzzle. 

We called it the "Silence of the Teddy".  So, he looked a little like Hannibal Lecter, so least he was quiet! :)  As pathetic as he looked, it was a life saver. 

That night we went to a pet friendly restaurant called Bahama Billy's Steakhouse.  It was pet friendly and we could eat outside on the patio with Teddy if we wanted, but we decided he could sleep in the car during dinner.

Now...let me just say that this was the BEST place to bring the boys for dinner.  It was not really a kid friendly place because it seemed a little nicer than the places we usually take the kids, but this place by far had the best children's menu.  Let me vent for a second...we have been to places where prices for kids meals have ranged from $5.00 to $8.00 and we have ordered food that was never touched and just wasted or we have ordered and it was a half of sandwich and two carrots sticks, which was not enough.  Matthew can eat everything on his plate, no problem.  However, Ryan does not and so often we hesitate getting him anything because it's usually a waste.  When I saw that dinner prices at this place were $7.95, I thought about Matthew and Ryan splitting dinner because it would just be cheaper.  And then when we saw the layout of their menu, we let them both order.  It was as if they put all of their favorites in a bento box just for them.  Each meal came with a side of pineapple and carrots and celery with ranch.  Then the other two spots they got to choose a meat and then a side.  Matt chose chicken strips and mac n' cheese, while Ryan chose bbq ribs and mashed potatoes.  They ate every...single...bite!!!  And it was a lot of food.  I don't care paying for an $8 meal if there is a lot of food, but most of the time it isn't (ESPN Zone---I'm talking about you!). 

The next morning we went to the Village Corner, another pet friendly place we had read about.  This time we were brave and took Teddy with us.  We sat out on the patio with all of the other people who had their dogs.  Teddy was a little freaked out at first and then he calmed down.  We do have a little confession to make...we don't ever give Teddy table scraps.  EVER!  Yes, he may get them at both of his Nana's houses, but he knows we don't give them to him so he never really begs.   So, you can imagine his surprise when I kept feeding him under the table to keep him calm and happy.  He got bread, french fries, chicken, ham, potatoes, eggs, name it, he probably got a sampling of it at some point during the trip.  We felt bad...we were over-compensating for the trauma he was going through of not only being out of his house, but in a place that had thousands of people and most of them had dogs too!!!

Our stroll Sunday morning it was great because he didn't bark at anyone or other dogs.  He was finally comfortable with just being out and about walking in stores and such.  How do you not love a place where most signs say, "Strollers not welcome, dogs on leashes...come on in!!!" (He was only in the bag for a short time---don't bother calling Peta)

Scenic drive Saturday night.  I am dead serious when I say I will retire here.  I don't care if we live in a 1000 sq. ft. condo blocks from the beach that we had to pay for with our life savings!!!  This is my favorite place on the planet. 

He survived his first vacation.  We'll definitely be back!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Awards and Baseball

On Monday Matthew received an award in Language Arts.  We're super proud of him and all his hard work this year.  He has the best stories about tornadoes...they are incredibly detailed and quite frankly, very accurate.  I guess we could expect that because instead of playing games on computers he watches every tornado video on that he can get his hands on.  In all of his work from open house there is one consistent theme to all of it....tornadoes and storm chasers.  I told him that a career in something less life threatening would be appreciated.  His response was...."No it's not life threatening.  It saves lives."  But I'm just a mom, what do I know?

One proud boy!

One last shot taken by Dad on his way back to class.

And...I finally got around to taking some baseball pictures!!  He didn't pitch this week, but he played third base and made a great play chasing the runner WAY out of the baseline for a tag out. 

And this boy....he gets a big fat A+  for being VERY patient at his brother's games.  He has made it VERY clear on NUMEROUS occasions that he doesn't want to be there....but he finds ways to make the time go by...

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Coolest Birthday Party!

A couple of weeks ago Matthew got an invitation to Elle's, a friend from basketball and school, birthday party.  Matthew and Elle have been friends for several years, but their friendship first start in basketball when he realized that she could actually play.  He gravitates towards kids who can play well and Elle plays well, so they hit if off quick.  The birthday party was at this place called Pipework in Sacramento.  Coolest place ever!!! 

There were 12 kids there and they had a blast.  It was so much fun watching them and cheering for them.  All of the kids were totally into doing it and no one was scared at all.

Getting strapped up.

Matthew and Elle

Look at Elle go!  Can you tell she's done this before???  She set the pace and the rest of the kids stepped up!

Starting on the small wall.'s still a long way up!

Spiderman he may not be...but, he's was slowly getting the hang of it.

This side was only about 30 feet up.

He had to try where Elle went.  This one was much harder and he almost quit several times.

He made it finally...but he was tired after! :)

This turned out to be the hit of the party.  The girl who works there would raise them up the rope and then drop them and catch them right before the bottom.  It was very cool and the looks on their faces were priceless.  All of us parents were not only holding our breaths, but we were laughing the hardest too!


I love this picture because this will be fabulous to have when this group is leaving Reese to bring this back out at promotion to share!

And this one too! :)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Shock and Awe!

Today I gave my class their end of the year gift.  Each year at the end of the school year, right before Open House I give my students a DVD of our entire year.  It a labor of love because even though it is getting easier to do, coordinating music and the time editing does take a while to do....but I know from past experience they love it, so it's worth it.

So today I quietly walked over and turned off the lights, then walked over to the TV and hit play.  It took only a few minutes for them to start cheering and giggling.  A couple of days ago as I was passing out papers one of my boys said..."So, when do we get our video?"  I turned, looked at him and said..."Times are tough.  We have no all went to Alcatraz.  Sorry dude!"  I thought...that stinker!!!!  So when the movie was playing today....ALL 33 MINUTES OF IT...I saw him smile and say..."I knew she was doing this.  She is ALWAYS taking pictures."

However, that isn't the "shock and awe" part of the story.  About fifteen minutes into the movie, another boy turned, with a dead serious look on his face and said...."YOU DID THIS....FOR US?"  It was priceless, and not for the reason you may think of...he was shocked that I, Meanie Marini (that's how I am know at school--you're welcome) made something for them as a gift.  It was as if they realized that the heart that was located in my chest---was actually beating.  I was a real live human with feelings and compassion. 

So tonight is open house and I can't wait to celebrate all that they have done this year.  And I can't wait for the celebration that will follow at the restaurant when we toast them off to their next years teacher!!!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Actual Mother's Day!

So, I may have woken up with a sangria hangover. I'm not exactly committing to it being a fact, but it might be the reason I woke up feeling a little off.  Again, it really could have been a number of things, but I was back in bed by 11:00am...just saying.

Sunday morning I woke up to a note on my alarm clock. It said, "Mom, look under both of your pillows for a surprise!" I reached under and pulled out this card....

So cute, right???  After I read my card, I reached under the pillow for part two of my surprise.  I couldn't find it, so in came Rich, Matt, Ryan and Teddy, trying to find the part two gift.  I wish I had a camera, because at one point all four of their heads...yes, all four, were looking down by the headboard for the gift.  Finally, they found it!  Here it is.  I wear it with pride and a smile.  I believe the feet are my favorite part. :)

So, as this whole thing is going down and everyone is on the bed, it occurs to Ryan that he doesn't have a card or a hanging thingy.  So, he goes up to Rich and whispers, "Dad, can I have some paper and marker?"  Five minutes later, here is Ryan's card. 

And as sweet as that is, he then went to get he treasured Mickey stickers and set them all out and asked me which one I wanted to wear for the day.  I picked Chip and Dale, knowing that one was his least favorite.  

Me and my boys....

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Pre-Mother's Day, Mother's Day

Well...I've been waiting for this day for a while.  It's been booked since February and I was ready for all of it to finally go down.

#1--Spa Day at Wine and Roses...I told Lynn this morning as we walked into the nest..."It's good to be home."  It's like our little sanctuary that happens to be right down the street.  Massage followed by laying around in a robe sipping tea and talking to friends--life is good.  Usually we make this a full day abuse of privilege, but today we had other plans too.  Lunch and then "The movie".

#2--Lunch at Angelo's with friends.  Julie joined Kelly, myself and Lynn for lunch and then the show.  I love Angelo's, so I could eat there whenever.  And the day would not be complete without a little sangria that I MAY or may not have slipped into the movie theater.  Sangria makes everything better.

#3--Something Borrowed..."The Movie."  About five years ago my girlfriend Emilie ( Happy Mother's Day Em) gave me this book to read saying it was so good and that I would love it.  And I did.  Not only did I love it, I loved it's sequel even more, "Something Blue".  These are total chick books....there's no other way around it.  No guy has this sitting on their coffee table or in their bookcase.  Unless, maybe, he's trying to hook up.  But, seriously...these are just girl books that are fun and take you into "la-la" land for three hundred plus pages.  So when word broke that they were making this book into a movie...we booked our date knowing that we would all go and see it.  I have read all of Emily Giffin books and I love her writing.  I have RARELY been to a movie that I have read the book.  The books I read are usually about serial killers,Navy Seal operations, or cold cases (that of course have romance---DUH!!!), but that could be every television show or movie out there.  This was different, these were characters that we talked about, situations we talked about, and outcomes we talked about.  And the hardest part was accepting who played these people from the story that we already had in our minds...I am not a Kate Hudson fan, but I was willing to take a chance anyway.  We were ready for this movie!

And it DIDN'T disappoint!!  It was so good!  A little different from the book, but basically true to the story.  The best surprise of all.....Dex.  I kinda have a new crush.  Like, teenage girl at a Justin Bieber concert crush.  Colin Egglesfield is like a little gift.  A Mother's Day gift if you will.  My husband is of course my first crush (wink, wink--), however Colin just bumped himself nicely up to the second spot.  He's got that young Tom Cruise look...the before he was crazy and jumping on furniture Tom Cruise look.  He was yummy---bottom line.

Happy Mother's Day Ladies!!!!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Big Boy Accomplishments

Let me first start off with this post is mostly about Teddy.  Yes, all Marini boys will be mentioned, but this is mostly about the Notorious T.E.D. making strides towards having out of house privileges. 

A couple of weeks ago we were driving around Stockton and came upon a dog park.  We have never taken Teddy to the dog park in Lodi because it is too large a space and there are a lot of large dogs there.  That would not fly with him.  The best way to describe Teddy is to compare him to Donald Trump.  He can dish it out, but can't take it.  Teddy can bark his head off, yet any advance from another dog and he all but leaps into my arms.  He has small dog syndrome...what do you expect?  So, this dog park in Stockton was so great because there was a section set aside for small dogs only.  We thought it could be perfect for him.  Since he had "the procedure", he has been better behavior wise, but basically he still has trouble making friends.

Sunday morning we got up early and DROVE TO STOCKTON...I guess we're "those" type of people now.  Anyway, there the four of us were, anxiously walking in not knowing what he would do, what others would do to him, or how we would react.  He did well, clearly we have the issues, not him.

Ted's new playground...

Where have you brought me???  There are dogs EVERYWHERE!!!!!

This was as close as he got for the first 15 minutes.

The agility course was empty, so the boys wanted him to do "tricks".  The only tricks that accomplished were done by humans.  Matthew and Ryan did great....Ted used this time to SMELL EVERYTHING POSSIBLE!

He has no clue what to do!

So happy to be out of the house though.  We told him that good behavior gets rewarded!  Hope he listens...

FINALLY....a little contact!  Some pugs who wanted to make friends.

Okay, now I'll talk about the actual children of the house.  This weekend at Ryan's soccer game he PLAYED THE ENTIRE GAME!!!  Not only were we proud of him, but he was proud of himself.  He has one more game and then the season is over, so keep your fingers crossed that "green socks" doesn't make an appearance. 

And finally, Matthew.  Last week at Matthew's baseball game he caught the first two innings and then sat out because he got hit in the thigh and got hurt.  These things happen.  So, as he sat out, his friend Victor was put in as catcher.  I heard Victor's mom behind say, "What, he's never caught before!" with a nervous giggle.  I turned around and said, "He'll be fine, he'll do great."  And he did.  The following inning, as we are just sitting there, waiting for either Matt to get another at bat or the game to be over, we see Matthew head out to the pitcher's mound.  I said, "WHAT????  HE'S NEVER PITCHED BEFORE!  HE'S NEVER EVEN PRACTICED!!!!"  I looked at Rich and said, "Oh great, this is going to be ugly.  How many kids do you think he'll hit?"  Up comes the first batter...struck out, gone!  Second batter...struck out, gone.  Third batter...struck out, gone!  So, three up, three down was not what we expected, but we were thrilled for him.  He wants to do it again.  How do we talk him out of it?  I really don't want him to pitch...not my decision, I know, but I was in that position a LONG time ago and it's a lot of pressure.  And I know he's not in high school or anything, but it seems these days that it doesn't even matter...the expectation is to be the best at an earlier age than necessary and I don't want him ruining his arm.  So, my goal is to push a nice safe position like first base or right field.  That's right....Mother of the Year!