Sunday, May 31, 2015

Mariners Game

Every year we have the opportunity to get $12 tickets to a Mariners game through the school. Gareth expressed interest in going last year and had a great time, so I took him again this year. We went with a couple of his friends.

The seats are usually up pretty high. Last year we were just to the right of home plate (up at the very top of the stadium). This year we had a great view of home plate and the pitcher, and weren't up quite so high. We also had a great view of the Space Needle a little bit off in the distance (to the right of the Safeco Field sign).

The kids have a great time, but not because they're paying attention to the game. They seem to view it as a wonderful opportunity to eat junk food, find a trinket to buy at the gift shop, and goof off with their friends. It's a good thing the tickets are discounted because the food is insanely expensive - $5 for water, $7 for a hot dog. Anyway, here they are stuffing gum in their mouths. 

In all honesty, I don't blame them for not paying much attention to the game this year. It was a pretty slow-moving game. Pitchers were taking forever between pitches, they changed the pitcher just about every inning, and not a whole lot was happening. We left after the 9th inning - they were tied 3-3 and had to go 12 innings before the Mariners lost by allowing another 3 runs. I saw a tweet later that mentioned how people complain about soccer being slow but the Sounders started after the Mariners and left with a 2-1 win before the Mariners were done. 

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day Ride

In my hometown Memorial Day means a parade followed by bike races. So it seemed fitting to go on a family ride today. Ryan loves riding for practical reasons (so, to work), but hasn't caught the riding for fun bug yet. So I told him we were going on a ride and that it's one Gareth can do and that's it. Last night before he started asking questions about it - where are we going, how far away is that, etc. I'm not sure he liked me very much anymore once I gave him the answers.

We put together ham and cheese sandwiches, grapes, and carrots that morning and were on our way with our friends, the Redpaths, by 10 am. We rode to the Locks, braving the crowds there (the trailer fits through the Locks, but just barely) and then rode up a short, steep hill to head to the Elliot Bay Trail. We stopped for a bit to look at the grain elevator that loads grain onto ships.

We rode through the waterfront area then took the West Seattle Trail across the bridge and over to Alki beach area. We ate lunch at Blue Moon Burgers.

Ordered some onion rings, since Gareth has never had them before. Mal wanted to try them as well. He liked the breading part, but not the onion part so much. Mal enjoyed feeding me carrots, but didn't want Ryan to have any. When Ryan and I tried to tell him that it was okay for Ryan to have some also, he turned to me and gave me a big pouty lip. He turned his head before I could get a picture, so here's his pout from the side:

I tried to get a picture of Mal and myself as well. I never take selfies though, so hence the look of concentration while trying to get what I want in the picture and balance the camera.

The kids played on the beach for a while before the grown ups started to get cold and decided it was time to head home.

The ride home was uneventful. Gareth did awesome. The ride was 32 miles round trip, and he kept a straight line the whole way, even when he was getting tired. The biggest hill is the hill after the Locks on the way home, and he got up it faster than I did (in my defense, I was pulling the trailer). He was unfazed in the sections where we rode on the street. The Locks were even more crowded on the way home. This is the big lock - so many boats out today that it looked like they were just using the big one and not bothering with the little one.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Evening Classes

Starting in January I took an evening class, a new experience for me. I'd hoped to take this class at 8 am, but the section was cancelled due to low enrollment, so opted for the evening class when we did the math and realized we'd save several hundred dollars in childcare each month by doing so. None of us were looking forward to it because it would mean I'd be gone Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings for six months.

We'd anticipated some of the problems before the class even started. Through my couple of years back in school, after the kids are in bed has been my go-to time for studying. Taking an evening class meant eliminating two days of studying, on either side of an evening rehearsal. This made tests falling on Thursdays difficult due to a lack of study time in the days immediately preceding the test. We also figured dinner would be more difficult and knew it would mean Ryan would have to go to the gym late at night, which isn't always ideal.

In the end, it wasn't as bad as I'd anticipated. I was concerned about being in class for 3.5 hours in the evening, already tired from the day. I took an evening art history class my first semester of undergrad - Friday night for 3 hours - and that was absolutely miserable. Not that the content wasn't interesting, but by Friday evening I very much didn't want to be in class anymore! Thankfully this class was one with lots of lab work, which helps to keep you awake.

One benefit of the class is that we've spent less money on take-out dinner. At the beginning of both quarters I sat down and planned out dinner for my busy days (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday), so that at the very least those were taken care of and so those days would get priority for quick and easy meals. Usually I spend some time Friday or Saturday determining the other meals for next week, then go shopping for the coming week. This worked out surprisingly well. On my busy days I put dinner together during lunchtime/early afternoon so that we can be eating by 5 so I can head to class at 5:30. Ideally, Ryan would clean the kitchen while I was gone so that I wouldn't have to worry about cleaning a kitchen the next afternoon. We were both excellent about keeping the kitchen clean the first quarter, but things have been a bit lax this quarter. I wish I could say I'd keep prepping dinner during lunch time when I no longer have to, but despite knowing how nice it can be, I doubt I will do that.

Obviously, the savings on childcare costs have been especially welcome. It's also nice not to worry about how much time is being taken away from the kids. They were at home with Ryan, in bed for most of my class. And to know that when I got home I didn't have to pick anyone up and could just study or go to bed was rather nice as well.

The evening class hasn't seemed to impede my test-taking ability, so I've been doing well in the classes still. I've still got a month to go before the quarter is over, so that could change I suppose. It is quite stressful though when both my classes have tests on the same day and that day happens to be Thursday.

While it's worked out okay, I don't know if I'd go the evening class route again. I really do enjoy having my evenings free to study. I could opt to do microbiology in the evening in the fall (and be done with my prereq classes after just two more quarters rather than three). It's tempting, but I doubt I'll do it. I'm hoping to shadow a dietitian and maybe volunteer at the clinic she works at during the fall, plus will have Mal in co-op and have things I need to do for that. So I'm thinking in those circumstances it'll be best to spread my last classes out over the year and take them all during the day.