The Happiest Place on Earth (not Disneyland)

Happy New Year!

I had the itch to write yesterday but the day got away from me… in a good way!! A New Year’s Eve miracle occurred at Casa Haugen. I got all four of my boys in the car and heading to the beach by 10am. Miracle, you wonder? Yep.

Happy New Year's Eve!

Happy New Year’s Eve!

Jeff grew up in North Dakota which I hear is pretty windy. The beach, as a result, is one of his least favorite places. My boys (Josh, 12 & Jacob, 10) absolutely love the beach when they get there but dread the whopping 30 minutes drive out there. Go figure. So through guilt, bribery, begging… whatever, I got my munchkins motivated and dressed. I think we made a deal resembling, “We drive out, walk up and down the beach and then return.  That’s it, mom.”  Assuming hubby would say, “Have a good time!” and return to coffee drinking and the news, I said, “We’re headed to the beach.” His response? “I think I’ll come. Do I have time for a shower?” “Sure. Make it quick.”

I should add here that December 30th brought a practical hurricane to the northern bay area. Three Eucalyptus fell across the street. As I parked my car at the grocery store, it swayed back and forth in the horrendous wind. But the next day, 9:30am, I am ready, motivated for a trip to the beach. Yep! Crazy. Lori Deen warned me via text,” Wow. Bring extra coats. #crazy”

I LOVE the beach. It’s my Disneyland. The happiest place on earth. Even when the wind is sandblasting the beach goers. Even when I misread the waves and tide and our entire picnic gets drenched. Even when my soggy, sandy boys needs to get in my clean car after an afternoon of digging. I LOVE the beach.

So out we drove. Not a whisper of wind. Sun shining. I kept my fingers crossed the entire drive.

Here’s a weird thing. I like games in the car. There are many standard games involving signs and license plates, got it. But on the drive to Doran Beach, neither of those is prevalent. What do we play? Count the roadkill. Very Petaluma. Our record is 11. Yesterday we got to 7. Add that to the list of things you wouldn’t have expected to read today. Happy to help out with that list.

Wow! It was amazing! We parked at the end of the jetty and walked back along the beach.  Doran is a nice cove of a beach, normally more protected from the wind than the westward beaches.  We walked and the boys gave each other the usual business (Josh is constantly embarrassed by us, Jacob likes to touch all the beach treasures, Jeff walks silently, thankful for no wind).  But slowly, as we walked, everyone began investigating beach treasures, alternating walking with a different family member, running to catch up, hollering out a find, writing in the sand… no mention of Are we done yet? When can we go home?  It was perfect.

photo 4

Who doesn’t love writing in the sand?!?

Oops… just hit Publish.  Rookie.  But wait!  There’s more!

People are generally happy at the beach.  Way less crying than I’ve ever experienced at Disneyland.  It’s Northern California so wind and cold are the norm.  When the weather cooperates, it’s such a gift! How can you not smile and breathe it in?!

We hung out long enough to turn our thoughts to lunch.  My favorite meal to eat out (the day just keeps getting better)!  We like walk-up-window, eat-off-paper-plates type beach fare.  Sure enough, Fishetarian is right down the road to feed us!  Jacob went for the Crab Sandwich.

Wait to see the other half!

Wait to see the other half!

Oh ya!  My little Foodie!

I think he likes it.

I think he likes it.

Jeff & Josh shared Fish & Chips.  While I went for Oysters & Chips… love a good oyster!  And these did not disappoint!  Warning: another food pic coming.  Couldn’t help it.  Hubby was just mortified, “Really?  You’re taking pictures of our lunch?!”

photo 2

Oysters aren’t very photogenic.

Could a morning at the beach really go on this long?  Yes it can.  Because the drive home was fantastic too.  I swear the fields were glowing florescent.  I took a few pics but it just doesn’t work.  Yellow and green florescent, happy grassy fields… if everyone wasn’t completely ready to go home and lounge some more, I would have pulled over again and again to try to capture the color.  Here’s an attempt…

Can you see the florescence?

Can you see the florescence?

The drive to Bodega Bay using Waterlogue (my new fav app).

The drive to Bodega Bay using Waterlogue (my new fav app)

So we got home.  Back to lounging.  It was a great way to end 2014 and look forward to 2015.

Happy New Year!

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Inspirational Colleagues… I just can’t choose!

This post is just a great, big love fest.  You’ve been warned.

My colleagues are amazing.  The Blog Challenge is about my most inspirational colleague.  That just isn’t reality for our elementary admin team.  So let me share some of our #petk12 goodness and why I love working with these folks.

Matthew Harris.  Earnest, thoughtful, 100% heart for kids.  Matt and his staff have built a robust community around his small, 4th-6th grade school (plus TK).  Matt is our always-in-a-tie, gentle giant.  I value Matt because he listens more than he talks (not true for all of us <sheepish look>).  And when he speaks, I’m listening closely.  #babyontheway

Sheila Garvey.  Unflappable.  Don’t you just love that word?  Sheila is one calm lady.  And I just love being around her.  She’s new to administration (like most of our team) and is always working to improve her leadership and practice.  She doesn’t let her emotions get the best of her which is a trait I aspire to and admire.  #3responseoptions

Amy Fadeji.  Energy, energy, energy.  She’s a total go-getter and looking to honor the work of teachers at every turn.  You know people who never seem to sleep?  I think Amy’s one of those.  When we’re all down, taking ourselves way too seriously, Amy is the colleague to elevate our spirits and get us back on track.  #divein

Fran Hansell.  Welcome to #petk12 Fran!  I admire Fran for her positive outlook in a challenging situation.  She’s joined a campus which has gone through some leadership turnover in the last three years.  That’s got to be hard.  And on top of that it’s a K-8 year-round charter with a rich and weighty history.  How to get up to speed with so much recent change, a large age span of learners and a pedagogy steeped in history and unique vision? #doctoralstudent

Maureen Rudder.  My rock.  Maureen and I have the longest tenure in our district and she’s done just about every job there is (certificated, classified and admin).  And she’s got a GREAT memory.  So when it comes to perspective and background, everyone needs a Maureen!  And I worry every time she mentions retirement.  Oh no, Maureen, you love it here, remember? #henrysgrandma

Emily Kleinholz.  Now this is going to sound silly, but Emily has an amazing vocabulary.  There are many other traits to highlight but I’m such a word-geek that I can’t think beyond it when I consider this colleague.  She uses AWESOME words in her everyday speech.  It rocks!  Do you ever talk with someone where you’d like to jot most of what they say?  I work with this person.  She makes me feel stupid, and I love it.  #weird

So when I’m asked, Who was or is your most inspirational colleague and why?  I just can’t go there.  We, as a team, balance each other, bring varied skills and knowledge to our work and never shy away from lending a hand.  So my most inspirational colleague is our TEAM.  Cheesy?  Sure.  True?  Yep.

*My apologies if I’ve left out other amazing things you bring to our team.  I’m not writing a novel here folks.