Thursday, September 13, 2012

Password Reset

As most of you know, I changed jobs this school year. I moved from an elementary school of approximately 550 kids to a high school with over 2000 kids.  I went from "Mrs. Chun, will you please read to me?" and "Can I hold your hand all the way back to class" to "I don't care that it is a fire drill, I don't want to go outside" and "I need an AP Calculus textbook."  It has been a big change.

I knew moving to a high school things would obviously be different.  I have taught at a high school before; it was just a long time ago. Cell phones were used to call people, textbooks were passed out by the teacher and PowerPoint was the "it" thing for presentations.  Now cell phones are used for anything but calling someone, the textbooks are in a Textbook Depository and there are a million presentation programs online for free.

My friend, Pam, had told me my first few weeks would be all about textbooks. She wasn't joking. I have picked up, moved, taped, scanned, carted, rolled, delivered about 13,289 text books.  Okay, I may be exaggerating. I do have an amazing clerk who probably managed 7,429 of those books. It is a lot of books. Big books. Algebra II, Chemistry, AP Statistics, World History... you know, all the classes you loved in high school. Surprisingly so, textbook checkout goes really smoothly.  The kids are trained well.  They get in a big line, grab a book, get out their ID card, we scan and scan and they go on their way. It is actually kinda fun. Kinda.

The last three days has been an entirely new challenge. Password reset. Our students log in using an ID number and their birthday as a password. They are then prompted to change their passwords. Well, wouldn't you know... they get locked out. Some never get the prompt to change it. Some forget their new password. Either way it is consuming my time as apparently I am not trustworthy enough to be allowed access to reset student passwords on the computer. Not really. They haven't gotten around to installing that feature on my computer. I am hoping it happens tomorrow. Scratch that. Tonight.

Here is the scenario:
I am working at my desk.  I'm creating a presentation for my classes next week (a PowerPoint because I am old school cool), reading e-mail, planning testing coming up and Student A comes up.

Me: "Can I help you?" said the librarian in a cheerful, friendly tone

Student A: "Yes! I need my password reset," said in a nice high school way

Me: "I can't reset it. However, I can send an e-mail to ask for it to be reset," said the librarian in a cheerful, helpful tone

Student A: " Okay! How long will it take?" said Student A in a nice but almost discouraged voice

Me: "It could be five minutes or five hours. It depends on when our tech department can get to it," said the librarian in a cheerful, friendly, "I'm new here" tone

Student A: "Man! Really?? Why? I have stuff to do!! Is there anything you can do??" said the student in an annoyed, eye rolling, hands on hip kinda way.

Me: "Yeah. I am really sorry. I am hoping to have access to reset passwords tomorrow," said the librarian in a hopeful tone.

Student A:  Walks away.

End scene.

This is my life. Times 26. Yes, 27 times today I had to email the tech department. This is not an exaggeration. Some of those e-mails included three or four student names/numbers.  It is exhausting. Almost all the kids are great and understanding but I am hoping the password reset fairy visits my computer soon and installs whatever I need so I can just happily click and keep my patrons happy. I am new here and this glitch is not helping me make friends.

It really has been a great move. The students are really fun and nice. I think I will love it at Skyview even if the kids don't ask to hold my hand. And I'll really love it once I can click "Password Reset."

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Fishin', Shootin' and Chet-Ba

My grandpa just turned 83 and recently retired (yes, retired from owning/running a restaurant full time at the age of 82). We usually head to my grandpa's house once a year for a large Verstrate family get together in September but we decided to head over this summer for some one on one time with Grandpa Chet (or as Cooper calls him, Chet-Ba).  My mom and I loaded a ton of snacks in the car, some toys, and strapped the kids in for our six hour drive to Joseph, Oregon.

After a couple of potty stops, a lunch stop, several "baby is crying and we can't reach the bottle or binkie" stops we finally rolled into Enterprise, OR to our hotel. After some dinner in the park with Chet-Ba and Linda, we headed back to the hotel to get a good night's sleep. We were tired from our trip and knew we needed sleep for our adventures the following day.

Our day started with breakfast at the Cheyenne Cafe in Joseph.  Then we headed to grandpa's house for some farm work. Grandpa had some BIG plans for the day.  Cooper first helped Linda get some eggs out of the chicken coop...

Then they needed to chop some wood. They live so high in the mountains in Eastern Oregon they usually have a fire going to heat their home 11 months of the year. Let's put it this way, they had snow flakes on June 9th.

We couldn't come to their house and not drive the tractor.  They drove the tractor down to the pasture by the horses and the garden to dig for worms. 

Carter even got to sit on the tractor.

After digging up some dirt with the tractor, it was time to get some worms. We had to go fishing... 
Now, anyone who knows me should know that at this point I was ready for an inside activity. I hate being outside for any length of time. I admit it.  I am an inside girl. Unless I am by a pool or on a beach... and even then I only last about 12 minutes. But, this trip wasn't about me. It was about having some quality time with my grandpa... so fishing we went.

My mom got to visit with her dad as they found the perfect spot...

Cooper was unsuccessful but Chet-Ba caught one trout! It wasn't big enough to feed all of us for dinner but Linda was sweet enough to clean it and cook it for us all to try!

After fishing, we headed to downtown Joseph for an ice cream cone and a stop at my favorite store, Mad Mary & Company.  The slogan of the store is "Everything fun and fattening" - I mean, how can anyone not like that?!  It has toys and candy and crazy gag gifts. I could spend hours in there. Yes, hours.  After our brief shopping trip (and I mean only long enough to get candy cigarettes and a cap gun) we were off again...

At this point my mom had asked my grandpa if we needed to stop and take a rest (he is 83, you know). He laughed and said he was fine and that he usually didn't take a mid-day rest.  My mom looked at me and smiled - not because she was pleased her dad has so much energy - but I think she was asking about a rest for me (the 36 year old)! I was pooped!

We headed to Wallowa Lake, which is about 6 miles down the road from Joseph. It is a gorgeous lake with amazing views of the mountains. There is wildlife everywhere - chipmunks, squirrels, and deer. Everywhere.  Here is just one we saw near the lodge at the park.  They get so close!  

We had to do one "tourist" activity while on our trip to the lake; Cooper wasn't old enough for the go-karts, the mini-golf wasn't open, so bumper boats it was. I used Carter as an excuse to not go on a boat but my mom didn't have any excuse so onto a boat she went! Luckily Cooper has a cool grandma!

We headed back to Chet-Ba and Linda's house for some dinner and to end our day. Linda grilled some hot dogs (Cooper and Chet-Ba had a hot dog eating contest; Chet-Ba won), she cleaned, de-boned and cooked the trout caught that morning (which Carter loved), and we had fresh berries from the garden.  While eating dinner, Cooper and Chet-Ba came up with a plan to shoot some BB guns. I honestly don't know who was more excited, Cooper or my grandpa.  They made a target, hung it on a stump, loaded up the gun... then reminded me to move my car (which I moved as far away as I could)... and FIRE away!  We all had a turn on the BB gun with my mom winning the shootout. She is her father's child.  

It was a wonderful day.  Cooper made so many memories with my grandpa and Linda that he couldn't even put it into words.  He couldn't pick his favorite thing - he said "EVERYTHING!" He loved spending time with his "Chet-Ba" and Linda.  He has already made plans to go back this winter when they have snow taller than him. He will have a whole new set of activities to try then.  I told him I don't think I can keep up...and if we go, we better schedule a nap for me.  I was so tired on our drive back to the hotel, I even let Cooper drive for a bit.  True story.  Don't believe me? Ask my mom. :-)

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Caught Up

It is June. I haven't posted since April.  I am just a little behind...

June has already had huge milestones and it is only June 2nd.  Cooper got to pitch his first baseball game today. He was so excited to pitch and only got a little nervous.  Not bad for a kid who has never even practiced pitching. He did great. The only bad thing about the experience is he is now obsessed with pitching and I see a bullpen being set up in my living room tomorrow.

Carter also hit a milestone in June!  No, not walking. No, not sleeping through the night. No, he hasn't said "Mama" yet. But his ninth tooth definitely poked through.  He has a mouthful of teeth and has developed a love of grilled cheese sandwiches. He has also developed a love of biting others. His newest tooth is coming in very handy for both.

My niece, Cloe, had her first day of work at Burgerville!  She was a little nervous but I am sure she was fabulous!! She was the cashier at Counter #1 and was ready to go with a smile on her face. She's just a doll. I am so proud of her.

June is also the month when I am going to get caught up at work, caught up on housework and most importantly, get caught up on sleep.  Carter is not a sleeper. He is a great napper but a horrible night time sleeper. Well, that isn't entirely true. He is a horrible night time CRIB sleeper. If he is snuggled in between David and I, he seems to sleep just fine but in the crib he wakes up multiple times. My happy boy ends up looking like this...

Which causes me to look like this....

Scary, huh?  You see why I need him to sleep through the night in his crib???!!!

I am hoping June holds many more milestones including Carter sleeping in his own room through the night and Cooper passing 2nd grade. If I were a betting woman, I would lay all my money on my oldest child. He only has 13 days to go to pass 2nd grade; Carter may not sleep on his own until he moves out.

I hope your June is full of happy milestones and getting caught up!

Sunday, April 29, 2012


Sometimes you just need a little girl time.  Especially when you live in a house of boys.  This weekend was kinda crazy with Carter's first birthday on Saturday and a huge list of things to do, but I managed two girl dates.  Whenever I have some quality time with my girlfriends, it reminds me of how important it is to take a little "me" time every now and then.  I always come home feeling refreshed and ready to take on my crazy life. If I spent time with these women on a daily basis I would have abs of steel; we laugh the entire time we are together.

Saturday night we went out to celebrate Jamie & Zara's birthday at Darcelle's.  If you have never been to Darcelle's in Portland, you need to make a special trip.  It is an institution. It is fantastic. Darcelle is an 81 year old drag queen who looks better in a spandex suit than most 30 year old women.  We had three rows of laughing, dancing, singing girls watching men who not only dance better than we can (okay, maybe not better than Jamie) but also dress better too.  It is part comedy show, part musical theater, part craziness.  It is completely inappropriate and completely fabulous.

Tonight we had our monthly book club meeting. This month we happened to read a new, extremely popular title which is based partly in Vancouver and Portland.  If you haven't heard of Fifty Shades of Grey you probably don't watch TV, or listen to the radio, or go on Facebook, or read magazines, or talk to anyone.  It is everywhere.  Everyone is talking about it - Ellen did a bit last week on her show that was hilarious. It is the NAUGHTIEST book I have ever read. I am not joking. And, as a librarian, I have read A LOT of books. I can blush just thinking about it. I dare you to google it if you haven't heard of it; you will blush too.

Needless to say, tonight's book club was awesome!!  Like Darcelle's, it was completely inappropriate and yet completely fabulous. I laughed and laughed and laughed and then laughed some more.  I love these girls. They inspire me, love me, support me, and let me just be me.  I look forward to our girl dates. I am thankful for them and our time together; it is ALWAYS fabulous (and possibly always a little bit inappropriate).  

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Cheat day

This is just a quick update. Today was my anniversary and "cheat" day.  Wait a minute... that sounds so wrong.  It was my "cheat day" for my diet.  Yes, I did eat a lot of food. I did consume onion rings and half of a loaf of bread. White bread with butter and garlic.  And it was good. I think I gained about 5 pounds back.  Oh well.  It was worth it.

As for my "improver" job, my sister-in-law may have beaten me to the position.  This is what we came home to after our anniversary dinner...

I loved it! David, Cooper and I giggled about it before bed. A great way to end a great day.  What will tomorrow bring?  I'm back on the wagon but with a new hairdo.  My hair is now short, red and sassy. I am hoping it will give me enough attitude to survive the next 11 days on Medifast. Let's go! Bring on Wednesday!

Sunday, April 22, 2012


In my next life, I plan on being an inventor. Okay, maybe not an inventor but an "improver"... someone who takes existing products and just makes them better.  I also plan on being an actress and singer but those aren't as exciting as an "improver."  And I can't really act or sing but I do have some "improver" ideas.

Case in point. Diapers. The people at Pampers and every other diaper company think it is cute to put Big Bird and Cookie Monster on diapers. All diapers have some kind of kid-friendly design with a cartoon.  Carter doesn't look at his diapers... I do.  I don't care to see Elmo smiling at me at 5 in the morning.  I would love a diaper to appeal to the adult in charge of changing it.  For example, instead of Elmo put a picture of John Belushi on the diaper with his famous quote, "I owe it all to little chocolate donuts." Wouldn't that be awesome? Think of the possibilities:  famous quotes, a comic strip for parents, funny sayings.  I think it would be a win-win situation. Diapers would be changed more frequently because parents would want to check out the next diaper in the pack... Pampers would sell more diapers....and kids wouldn't know the difference. 

Maybe I will just buy a box of generic white diapers and attack with my Sharpies. Or possibly just add some fun stuff to Carter's Pampers. Anything to make diaper changing a bit more entertaining... and less of a job. I also have ideas about toddler potty training toilet paper as well as adult diapers (thanks to a friend). See a trend? When you see me modeling diapers on the Today Show you will know I have hit the big time. Until then, I'll keep practicing my singing in the car. 


Wednesday, April 18, 2012


I'm hungry. Seriously. I am obsessed with food. I am on Day 9 of my "24 Days of Hell" (otherwise known as Medifast) and it is consuming my life. I only think about food. You know the saying, "Eat to live... don't live to eat?"  It was a naturally skinny person who said that.  Or someone getting paid to say it. Trust me.

In terms of weight loss, I can't really complain.  I have lost 6 pounds in those 9 days. Everyone says, "Wow! That is great!"  And it is... except.... anyone would lose that much if they were starving like I am.
If you only ate about 1000 calories a day with very few carbs and hardly any sugar, you too would lose weight. And probably be as grouchy as I am.  I am sure my co-workers are ready to try and sneak some bacon into my Medifast shakes or sign me up for an involuntary transfer.

This coming Tuesday is my 13th wedding anniversary so I have "allowed" myself a cheat meal so David and I can go to dinner. Just the two of us. Exciting, right?!  I love my husband and love hanging out with him but to be perfectly honest.... I am more excited about eating a real meal.  I already know exactly what I am going to eat.  And I am telling you right now it doesn't include a "lean protein" nor a "green vegetable." It will include onion rings (no matter the restaurant...even if I have to pack my own) and I might just try to get bread instead of a salad as my starter. I'm not kidding.

I know I shouldn't "live to eat" or whatever... but right now... it is the only thing that keeps me going. I have 17 more days (minus one anniversary dinner).  I will make it. I have to finish what I started. I may have fewer friends and my family dislike me...but I will make it.  It will be hard...I know the next 17 days will be all about dreaming of food and obsessing about what I would eat if I could. 

I don't know what I will do on Cheese Zombie lunch day at school. I may have to call in sick. What can I say? I'm hungry.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

24 days

I can do anything for 24 days, right? 24 days. Less than a month. Just over 3 weeks. No big deal.  Well, today was Day 2 and I am not sure if I will make it to Day 3.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am usually on some kind of diet. My genetic code prefers french fries to broccoli and I seem to be allergic to exercise. I may have an addiction to bread. I have been on a ton of diets, "lifestyles" and programs. Slim Fast? Yes. Alli? Own it but too afraid to try it. Special K? Of course. Weight Watchers? They know me by name.  The latest weight loss adventure? Medifast.

I bought a bunch of Medifast "meals" (I put meals in quotes since they are far from a meal) last fall with the full intention of losing "Weight Gain 2011" (also known as Carter). I tried it for a few weeks, had success, but gave up for the holidays. Who knew the holidays went from November through March?  First it was a Vegas trip, then Thanksgiving, then Christmas, then New Year's..... then my Kansas trip, then President's Day, another Vegas trip, you get the idea.  After looking at boxes of expensive food filling up my counters and a closet full of jeans that don't get past my knees, I decided to give it another go.  Here I am at Day 2.

It sucks. No other way to put it. 5 packaged "meals" and one regular meal a day. The problem is the "regular meal" is a lean protein and a green veggie. Um...that is NEVER a "regular meal" in my world. Bring on the potatoes, the rice, and the BREAD.  I can live without chocolate, candy, cake...but the no bread rule might just make me need to be medicated. More than I already am.

My friend Jody had a great plan to help me out. Put all my Medifast food into lunch bags with 5 meals in each bag. That way each day I just grab a bag and go. Plus, as a bonus, I would have a way of "counting" down how many days I have left. That is where the number 24 comes in. 24 bags of food = 24 days of misery Medifast. I told myself to just get through the 24 days and then I can move on to the next fad diet.

My bags all lined up
I can do it, right? My jeans health depends on it. I figure if I blog about it... I can't quit.  
Here is to Day 3. And broccoli.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

From Clueless to Fan to Fanatic

Cooper has played baseball since he was 5 only because we signed him up and never really asked him. He loved it but only wanted to play baseball during baseball time.  He wasn't interested in watching it on TV, playing catch outside or watching other teams play. He didn't show any interest in watching any kinds of sports on TV until about 8 months ago. My "sometime" baseball player suddenly turned into a sports fan and a three sport athlete.  All at age 7.

I think it started with football in the fall or maybe with basketball this winter.  He had played different sports and now had an idea of how they all were played. This seemed to ignite a spark. All I know is that my child who didn't have a clue what ESPN or Sports Illustrated was started asking to watch sports on television and was even setting the DVR to record SportsCenter. He started watching football then basketball, on to hockey, soccer, you name it. Professional, college, amateur, men's, women's... he isn't picky. If it has jerseys and some kind of referee, he is watching. 

I love that he loves sports. What I don't love is that he now plays them every waking minute of the day. Did you know that a pair of socks can become a hockey puck? And that a pair of your dad's socks inside a stocking cap works great as a football? A pair of socks tightly rolled can be a baseball or a basketball. It drives me crazy. He is constantly shooting an imaginary ball, catching an invisible pass or tackling an imaginary opponent. I am not kidding. It. is. Constant.

He loves the Kentucky Wildcats, the Baylor Bears, the Portland Trailblazers, the Portland Winterhawks, anything WSU, the Seahawks, the Mariners, and just about any other team he can find a connection to. We have wonderful family members and friends (who are like family) who constantly buy him all kinds of cool gear. He was so proud to wear his "Bow to Da Brow" t-shirt (Anthony Davis from U of K shirt) the day of the National Championships and strutted his Baylor shirt the day Britteny Griner led the Lady Bears to victory.  It cracks me up.

One year ago, I had a kid who didn't know what a touchdown was or a three point shot or a penalty kick. Now we have a fanatic on our hands who dreams of being a professional athlete.  Baseball just started again and I think he loves it. Maybe it is the glimmer in his eye when he gets suited up... maybe it is the smile on his face when he has a great game....maybe it is just the love of the game. Apparently he has a love of ALL the games.  It's all good. As long as we can find a pair of clean socks.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Birthdays are special. They celebrate the day we came into this world.  Whether we live just one day or 36,000 days, a birthday should be a day to celebrate. 

Today was Cooper's 8th birthday and my brother's 39th. I remember when my water broke on my brother's birthday (5 weeks before my due date) I couldn't believe it. I felt kind of guilty that I was having my baby on my brother's big day. Luckily my brother thought it was cool that Cooper and him could share the day. 

My family has an odd thing with birthdays. I was born on my grandmother's birthday. Cooper was born on my brother's birthday. Then came Avery, my brother's daughter, who was born on my and my grandma's birthday. It seems we only have a few select days to have children in our family.  Once Avery came into the world and then quickly left it, I realized just how special sharing a birthday can be.  Sharing a birthday is like being in a secret club. Me, my grandma Norma and Avery have our own day. Just to celebrate us. Even though Avery and Norma aren't here to celebrate, I think of them every birthday (even when it isn't my birthday).  Like today.

Cooper was a tiny baby - only 6 pounds at birth - and wasn't very healthy at first.   I know, I know, you would never guess that by looking at him today.  He was scrawny and gray and didn't cry for the longest time. When he finally cried and I saw his little warped head, I sobbed. He was here.  He was healthy. He was mine. I have never loved anything more in my life. And I was so proud that he shared the same birthday with my one and only brother. It was fun. It was special. 

I thought of Avery today and wondered what she would have thought of her dad and cousin sharing a birthday. I wonder what she would have thought about sharing her birthday with me.  I know that by sharing my birthday with her, I am forever joined to her.  I have some of my grandma's traits... I wonder if Avery would have had any of mine.  I love that my birthday will always be "our" day.  I am thankful for that. I wonder if Cooper thinks that about his Uncle Mike.  I hope so.
Today we celebrated Cooper and Mike. A little basketball, a little baseball, some pizza, and cake. It is hard to believe that my tiny, 6 pound baby is now over 60 pounds and 8 years old. He can read anything, is incredibly fast on math facts, can ride a bike, tie shoes, play a mean game of Horse, and play the piano. He amazes me. And he has a terrific sense of humor... he has that in common (and much more) with his uncle.  Must be the birthday. I am honored to be Cooper's mom and Mike's sister. 

Celebrate birthdays. Even if the birthday boy or girl isn't with us anymore. Have fun. It will put a smile on your face and in your heart. A birthday reminds us that time passes quickly and to enjoy each other.  Be thankful for each and every birthday you are given.  Even if it is your 40th.  Heads up, Mike. It's coming...

Friday, March 16, 2012

How often do you clean out your refrigerator? Odds are it is more often than I do. My wonderful friend, Lindsey, suggested last week (or maybe two weeks ago) that I really should clean out my fridge. I don't know if she told me because she was grossed out or if she was worried I was going to make her children ill if they ate at my house. Anyway, I put it on my to-do list and today it actually happened. 

I sat Carter in his high chair, sent Cooper outside to shoot some hoops, got out a big garbage bag and got to work.  I had the usual stuff to clean out...old salad dressing, expired yogurts, and moldy cheese.  Or at least that is usual for my fridge.  It was pretty full of all kinds of stuff. I continued cleaning it out...and was surprised at some of the stuff I found.  I mean, I do get in the fridge EVERY day (usually several times). It isn't like this is some closet or drawer that things are crammed into. Yet, I had no clue some of the stuff that was lurking in it.

Two bottles of mustard (both half full), three jars of pickles (all full), and a bottle of tartar sauce with a 2010 expiration date. What happened to 2011? Apparently I went all year without cleaning the fridge.  There was evidence of Cooper's Italian meat phase (salami and pepperoni) from the fall, cake from two weekends ago, and at least four bags of cheese. Chili sauce, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce. Three jars of cherry jam (one empty).  Seriously? Who has all this stuff in their fridge?  Please say it isn't only me.

An hour later I am the proud owner of a clean refrigerator. However, it is now a clean but empty refrigerator. I have eggs, some condiments and milk. It felt great to cross one thing off my to-do list. But it looks like a trip to Winco has been added to tomorrow's to-do list.

It is now safe to eat at the Chun House

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

It's all fun and games...until someone gets a black eye

Three days a week Carter is raised by his Auntie Susan. I use the term "raised" because saying "babysat" or "watched" doesn't begin to describe what Susan does.  She truly helps us parent both of our boys. I don't know what we would ever do without her.  I know my boys are as wonderful as they are in part to her.  She has helped teach ABC's, snuggled to sleep, changed too many diapers to count, taught how to share, and loved on them more than anyone. Carter is also a social bug because of his auntie.

Two of the days Susan has Carter she also has our friend's son, Brody.  Brody is exactly 34 days older than Carter and is Carter's best friend. They play together, they laugh at each other and they love to "help" each other. Brody likes to "help" Carter not use his pacifier by taking it from him; Carter likes to "help" Brody learn to share by biting him whenever he has a toy he wants. They love each other.

Over the past weekend, Brody figured out how to walk around things and push things. This was perfect timing as Carter is loving to ride on the little fire truck toy! Carter could ride...Brody would push.  Susan sent darling pictures of proud Brody pushing giggling Carter around on the truck. Check out these boys rolling at our friend Pam's house.

It was great fun. They loved it. Susan and Pam thought they were adorable. Until the crash.

The fire truck took a turn and went down. Carter took a header off the side and crashed to the floor.  He landed on the side of his head on a plastic toy. He started to cry which made Brody cry. Carter crying because he was hurt... Brody crying (we like to think) because he is such a good friend. With a bleeding baby and both babies crying, Susan started to cry.  Okay, not really (I may be exaggerating) but from the sound of it she was a little panicked. Auntie doesn't like it when kids get hurt on her watch.
The scratched eye and nose

I am sure this is only the beginning of injuries for Carter.  The odds are stacked against him; he is a boy, he loves to play, and he is the youngest.  Susan was far more upset about his scratched nose and eye than I was and Carter was over it the minute the bottle hit his mouth.  The marks will be gone by next week.

I can't wait to watch Brody & Carter grow and continue to hurt... I mean... love each other. I know there will be scrapes, bruises and maybe a few stitches or casts along the way. And for Susan? I can't wait for her to continue to help us raise "our" boys... with or without black eyes and scratched noses.

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Roll-X Weekend

My favorite driver of the weekend, my dad
When we left for Pacific Raceways on Saturday afternoon, we were excited for the Roll-X Enduro race. We knew we would come home on Sunday with at least one more thing broken on the motorhome, a race car that would need some new parts and exhausted drivers and children. What we didn't expect to come home with was.... strep throat.

The Roll-X race was a blast. Going in to the event with a new car, a team of 4 drivers (with 2 rookies), and a lot of unknown variables... we didn't even know if we would be able to finish the 16 hours of racing. The car held up (minus some brake pads and a tire), the drivers were talented and the car only received a few tire marks on the driver door (courtesy of another driver trying to pass and Nascar John refusing to let them :).  The team finished in 4th place (only 2 laps out of 3rd). It was awesome! Cooper didn't fare as well.

Cooper didn't leave the motorhome all weekend. He slept. He didn't eat or get dressed or even play with his cousins or friends.  After sleeping all day Sunday and then all night Sunday, I took him into the doctor on Monday morning. Strep throat.  Here we are. 10 days of yucky medicine and hopefully some rest. 

We are gearing up for the next race - a Chump Car event - buying new parts, resting up, and as always, repairing the motorhome. I am sure the next event will be even better, hopefully without the rain, hail and snow during the race!  The drivers are excited - the kids are excited - the crew is ready to go.  Maybe next time we can come home with a trophy instead of an infection. 

Sean rolling in the hail

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Snap, Crackle, Pop

A few weeks ago, I woke up with a sore shoulder. As the day went on, it only got worse. By lunch I could hardly use my right arm because it hurt so bad. My friend, Paula, told me I HAD to go see her chiropractor. In fact, she called him for me right then and there.  This led up to my first ever Chiropractic experience.  I was excited. A little nervous but truly looking forward to my appointment.

You see, I kinda like weird and gross things. I should have been a dermatologist. I love to peel, pick, poke and the oozier it is... the better.  Things most people think are disgusting, I actually find joy in.  For example, using the bulb syringe on Carter's green, goopy nose. Hearing the snot get sucked up into the syringe and then shooting it out onto a rag bring me such enjoyment.  Seriously. When my friend Michelle had nasal surgery years ago and I got to pull out the 6 feet of packing.... it was as if I had won the lottery. Going to the chiropractor, I figured I would feel better and I knew I would hear my joints pop and snap so I couldn't wait.

My chiropractor, Dr. Seale, didn't disappoint.  He was friendly and funny.  He actually used to be a teacher. I was in his office for an hour. My body let out some LOUD pops. I am sure he thinks I am a freak.

Here is a synopsis of my appointment:
Talk with Dr. about symptoms and health history, Dr. talks about what he can do to help alleviate my symptoms, move to the table for an adjustment.  Enter the freak show, also known as Traci Chun.

I couldn't stop laughing or clapping. Anyone who knows me knows that if I laugh or get excited, I clap. Like a seal. It is the cheerleader in me, I guess.  Dr. Seale does the first adjustment and I hear a loud "pop". I instantly start clapping and shout out, (I mean it, I did shout out) "WOW! That was loud!  Will the other joints be even louder??"  Luckily, Dr. Seale has a great sense of humor and egged me on. Each and every time a joint would pop or snap, I would laugh maniacally and clap. No joke.  Hearing the snap, crackle and pop was PURE joy.

After my visit, my shoulder felt better... my hips and upper back felt better.... but the snaps and pops were the best.  I mean it.  I go again next week.  I start clapping and laughing just thinking about it.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

My life revolves around cars. My husband owns an automotive repair business and has several race cars.  I knew going into this life years ago that my life would include motor oil stains and countless trips to the race track. When Cooper came into our world, almost 8 years ago, I figured he would have a love affair with cars too. I knew that one day he would want a race car and would want to go fast. After all, my water broke at Woodburn Dragstrip, he traveled to a race in Boise at only 5 weeks old, and has spent every summer watching or listening to the races.  It is just in his genetic code. Now we are just weeks away from his race car debut.
Cooper will be driving this Junior Dragster this spring and summer. He may even get to race on his actual birthday. I knew this was coming. I am coming to terms with it.

Besides, I have Carter... he looks like me so he must have my genetic code, right?  He won't want to race cars and go fast!  Maybe he just wants to watch the races like his mom?? Carter's first trip to PIR on Sunday included some time in the driver's seat. 
After David took this picture, I realized I have lost both of my boys to the "automotive genetic code."

Looks like I need to start investing in helmets and racing suits now.

 in the "driver's seat

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Beef, it's what's for dinner

Here at A-B-C Weekend, we don't mess around. When we told our crafters they would be eating well this weekend, we weren't lying. When you have a meat packer in the family and you request some steak for the weekend, this is what you get.

Have you ever seen steaks this big before? Maybe on a Flintstone's episode? Maybe one of those eating challenges on the Food Network? They were HUGE.  They were DELICIOUS.  We managed to eat them. I guess we worked hard today. Sewing, crafting, shopping. We were hungry! Thanks to Ashley for getting the slabs of beef past TSA and for barbecuing them to perfection!

After steak and some ruffling, we managed to put away half of the Hummingbird cake too. Ruffling is hard work even with a ruffle foot attachment. Our new motto is "Everyday I'm Ruffling" sung to the tune of Party Rock Anthem.  I will be singing it as I shuffle the piles and piles of stuff out to the car in the morning.  The inaugural A-B-C Weekend comes to a close tomorrow morning at 11. It has been awesome. We are already planning another one!  If you are interested in attending an A-B-C Weekend, click on link, post a comment or send me an email and I will send you information!

Now... to do some dishes and then maybe a little hot tub!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Food & Forgetfulness

Notice the full sink - I ran the dishwasher 3 times today!
Today was all about food for me and crafts for Shannan. It was prep day for A-B-C Weekend (arts, beach & crafts) and this is where I spent my day.  I wanted to make as much of the food for the weekend today so I could help the crafters and not be in the kitchen the whole time.  I made meals for 8 people for the whole weekend... today. Phew.  It would have been much easier if I would have had all of my normal kitchen tools.  I made a cheesecake, a cake, cinnamon rolls, frosting, and whipping cream with a mixer with only one beater. Yup. That was one thing I forgot.

Shannan was in charge of setting up the sewing machines and all the crafts. She started at one end of the table and worked her way around... oiling machines, putting in new needles, loading bobbins.... until she got to my old sewing machine. No bobbin cartridge. How in the heck did I forget that?  Oops. Put it on the list for Joann's.  She moved onto my new Singer machine... power cord.  Seriously?  I brought two machines and both out of commission.  I was up to three things forgotten at home. What else?

Paper for tables. Phone charger. Italian salad dressing. Hair dryer.  I thought I was so organized!

After two trips to Joann's and Safeway, a phone call home for the power cord, and some creativity, I think everything will work out.  Sometimes I think forgetting things forces us to think differently. Even if things don't work perfectly at least I know we have enough food.  Now...a slice of cheesecake.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


Last month, my friend Shannan and I went on a journey to Kansas for Craft Weekend. It was hosted by Meg Deurksen (a blogger who is famous, wonderful, kind, beautiful, etc.) and it was an amazing trip.  We met women from across the country who instantly became our friends. Time to craft and sew, laugh and eat, and just enjoy the company of others.  The best part? No one asked me what was for dinner, I didn't do any dishes and I got to sleep in.  Before our plane even left Wichita, Shannan and I decided we needed to do one closer to home.

Enter... A-B-C Weekend! Art, Beach & Crafts. We are here in Lincoln City in an amazing home setting up for our first weekend.  We have women coming from Idaho, Seattle and Vancouver. We may not be famous bloggers or as talented as Meg but still people wanted to come! :)

We have some fun projects for the ladies to do, some good eats prepared (Hummingbird Cake for one) and maybe an excursion to the Casino or Outlet Mall.  I am excited to meet some new people, bake some cakes and scones, and sleep in.  Can you tell that Carter is still waking up at 2 AM???

The highlight of the trip to the beach has to be the chocolate turnover from Arby's on the way down. Seriously. $1 and it tastes like it came from a high end French bakery. If you haven't indulged, I highly recommend one. Or two.  Shannan doesn't know it yet but she will be stopping on the way home.

The back of Shannan's Denali... 4 sewing machines, 2 coolers, 4 boxes of fabric... you get the idea

I hope to post some pictures between cooking and cleaning and crafting!  We may need a U-Haul to get everything home...

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Kindergarten Pep Talk

Anyone who knows me, knows that my least favorite group to teach at school has to be kindergarten. They are sticky, sometimes smelly, and get lost very easily. They like to sing and skip; two things that I am particularly not good at. On days I teach kindergarten classes I usually give my self a pep-talk.  It goes something like this...

"Come on, Traci. It is only 30 minutes. You can do anything for 30 minutes."
"They are small people. You have two small people at your house. You have never lost one of them."
"Just smile, breathe and read."

But every once in awhile the kinders surprise me. Take today for instance. 

Student: "Mrs. Chun, did you know that I am growing new skin?"
Me: "Excuse me?"
Student: "Yes! You heard me! I am growing new skin!"
Me: "Hmm... in a certain spot or just all over?" (Why did I ask this question??)
Student:  "Just here (pointing to elbow). Oh and my foot."

As he tried to pull up his sleeve to show me the "new skin," I politely told him I believed him one hundred percent and he didn't need to show me his elbow or foot or any other "new skin."  I was a little grossed out but it did make me giggle.

Then on the walk back to class, one girl told me I had on a pretty shirt.  When I said, "Thank you" the compliments started flowing.  That is the thing with kindergartners; once one does something, they usually all follow. One has to potty...they all have to potty. One strays from the line... they all stray from the line. You get the picture. Because of this I was told in no less than 2 minutes: I had pretty hair, my shirt was pretty, I was nice, I had pretty earrings, I was a good reader... you get the idea.  It was a fantastic walk back to kindergarten.

Maybe teaching kindergarten isn't so bad??  I have a new pep talk to go over in my head....
"Get one kid to give you a compliment and they all will say something nice about you!"

I did have to wash my hands upon dropping them off but I didn't lose a single student. I may just have to practice my skipping.    

Monday, February 27, 2012

Basketball, Oreos & Fits

It was an exciting weekend here at the Chun house. Cooper played great during his basketball game on Saturday. When I say "played great" this didn't mean he scored or even had an assist. It means he only fell on the floor thirteen times and fouled the other team twice.  His friend Gavin's dad refers to Cooper as the "Charles Barkley of kid basketball."  We lost the game 14 to 0 but my kid didn't get into any on-court fights or push anyone down so I will go ahead and call that a win.

Carter enjoyed his first ever Oreo cookie. He wasn't so sure about it at first but like all of us in the Chun family, he took to the cookies fairly quickly. I will probably be finding black bits of cookie for the next week in my kitchen. Okay, let's be honest.  The crumbs will still be around next month.

Carter meets Oreo.
I even had an exciting moment this weekend. No, it wasn't the trip to Fabric Depot or the Oscars (although they were both pretty great). My exciting moment happened when I demolished the front fender of my car. Have you ever seen someone with a huge dent in their front fender and wondered.. "How would someone possibly get a dent there?"  I will tell you.  You park in a parking spot with a yellow cement post nearby. You start backing up, look over your shoulder as you crank the wheel, and BAM! Yellow post meet Traci's fender. Was it embarrassing? Yes. Did I curse? You know it.  Did I cry? Maybe a little.
"Charles Barkley" rode home with David so I threw a mini-fit the whole way home. Nothing that a package of Oreo cookies and a used fender can't fix. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

3rd grade math

When you work as a librarian at an elementary school and a substitute teacher doesn't show up... they ask you. That is how I ended up teaching 3rd grade math today.  And even though I work in a school and am a certified teacher, I have not a clue how to teach 3rd grade math.

After turning on no less than 4 pieces of technology, reading 3 pages of single spaced notes, and drinking 2 large cups of coffee, I was ready.  Or so I thought.  Math is hard. 3rd graders can be harder.

Now keep in mind, I know these kids! I know each and everyone of them by name. I can tell you what reading level they read at and what books they enjoy. They KNOW I am a teacher.  Or so I thought.

"You are our SUB??"
"Are you sure the office knows you are the teacher?"
"Who asked you to be here?"
"Are you going to teach us or are we just doing library stuff?"
and my favorite...
"Mrs. Chun, have you ever taught like, um, real 3rd grade?"

Um, like, no.

We survived. They maybe even learned a little math.  

And as for my 3rd grade math.... I am still working on my rounding.

Thursday, February 23, 2012 goes...

Welcome to Chuns of Fun. This is a place to check out if you want to see the madness that makes up my life.  It may not be glamorous or sophisticated, but it's my life. It's now or never. (Cue Bon Jovi song).  

As I type my first ever blog post, I have a 10 month old in a high chair wearing about 19 Cheerios and a 7 year old running round the family room in his underwear and mismatched socks.  I just realized that Cooper is wearing the same underwear for the second day in a row. Did I not wash 8 loads of laundry this weekend? Did he run out in 4 days? I thought the bad hygiene didn't kick in until middle school... maybe my boy is an overachiever?? 

Too bad it is 8:06 and already my bedtime. I need to try and get a bag packed for the baby tomorrow, a lunch packed for the big kid and get my kitchen somewhat cleaned up. Is it wrong that sauce from dinner two nights ago is still stuck to my stove?

Maybe tomorrow's post won't have as many questions.... maybe I will figure out how to post pictures.....maybe Cooper will put on clean underwear.... stay tuned.