congratulations, epc youth!

In March, the youth at our church participated in a national video challenge sponsored by the Presbyterian Foundation. The youth (or tweens as I like to call them) had to create their own video based upon the Micah 6:8 scripture verse, “Do justice, love kindness, walk humbly with your God”. Tons of youth groups submitted videos from all over the country, most of them from churches five or six times our size - we literally have maybe 30 members and 5 tweens. Well, our tiny little Belmont Heights church won!!

If you have a few minutes, watch their video entitled, "Coming Home". It's really an awesome video with some pretty rockin' music!



I was surprisingly given a very prestigious award at the end of the school year on behalf of the 6th grade students...

Most Stylish Teacher

Who needs to be Teacher of the Year or Best Teacher when you can be voted Most Stylish? All those years learning to be a teacher really paid off!

Okay, I'll be honest...I was totally excited! My students were really proud of me, it was sweet actually (even the rough-around-the-edges students were excited for me). It was also a great way to end the school year on a celebratory note with my students. I'll have them again next year as 7th graders, so I guess I should be refining "my style" this summer for the '08-'09 school year!


introducing...my juku

I'd love to officially introduce, my juku. Emily and I are legitimate business partners! This tutoring business has been in the works since last summer and we finally lit that little fire under our behinds and did it!

Before I go into the details of what my juku is, I'll explain what my juku means.

Juku, pronounced "joo-koo", comes from Japan circa 1980. In addition to attending regular school, Japanese students often attend a private after school program or "cram school" known as Juku.

my juku is:
- small group learning focused on providing students with tools they need in order to succeed in school
- "cram sessions" for test preparation
- reinforcing standards-based classroom learning for academic enrichment
- cultivating the value of goal-setting and intrinsic motivation

I believe what sets my juku apart from other tutoring businesses, aside from the fact that Emily and I are involved, is our focus on not simply academic achievement but also personal enrichment.

Ashley Gass, a friend and fabulous designer, created our logo, flyer, and business cards. We absolutely adore everything she created!

If you visit our website, you'll see that it is very simple {thank you, Joe & Emily for building it}, however our goal over our summer vacation is to attend some website development juku sessions of our own to make it a bit fancier.

If you know of any tweens in the Long Beach area that would benefit from some juku'ing, please send them our way!



It's been a very long time since I really provided a meaty update. Pictures say 1,000 words, right? I'll let the pictures do most of the sharing for this update:

In early April, we finally got together to celebrate the birthdays of my best girlfriends. We selected the always classy Sharkeez for the event.

Mel loves giraffes, so we adopted her one! We named him Randall.

Also in April, Jenny & Victor came to visit us from Maui. They were in town for a wedding and were really busy with wedding events, but it was such a great treat to spend a lovely evening with them in Long Beach. We of course took them to Sushi Studio and Yogurtland. They brought along some of their visiting friends from Mexico City, who actually didn't speak a word of English. Victor spent the evening translating for all of us.

Kristi joined us for Sushi...she speaks Japanese, so her translating skills didn't help much...
In May, Karen, Jeff, and their daughter Katie came over for an evening of pizza and catching up. I however enjoyed every minute of playing some sort of Disney Princess game where jewels and a crown were the prizes. Katie won most of the gems, but I won the crown! Should I have let the 4-year old win the crown?

I boxed my wedding dress. I wasn't planning on doing this, but the woman at the dry cleaners, Happy Hanger, talked me into it. She assured me that I can still try it on occasionally if I feel the desire and she will re-box it for me. It's at the Tucker's house in San Clemente, so unfortunately I can't lounge around in it this summer.

At one of the middle schools I worked at this past school year, I created a Kids 4 Wish Kids organization on campus. We raised over $2700 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation! Our final fundraising event was a "throw a pie-in-the-face of your favorite teacher". I had about 5 pies thrown in my face that afternoon. Only for sick kids would I do this. Seriously, I smelled of sour milk after a couple hours. It was disgusting, and that puts it lightly!

The mess...

In May, we finally had the opportunity to meet little Nathan Flores, Rick and Julie's son. He's absolutely perfect and so precious! A perfect combination of the his mommy and daddy. We look forward to catching up again with the Flores family!

The drool is too darn cute. And his little smile melts my heart!
Just a couple weeks ago, we headed to my hometown of Encinitas with our friends Lauren and Jeff to see Switchfoot play a free show at Moonlight Beach. The show benefited the youth organiztion StandUp for Kids. I really enjoyed watching Switchfoot play some of my favorite songs in our hometown!

Last weekend we spent the early afternoon celebrating Sarah's 3rd birthday. I can't believe this little thing is already 3! She's definitely the most opinionated 3-year old I've ever known! We ate junk food as the toddlers played in the yard. For someone approaching the era also known as "baby fever", it was heaven!

Sarah's little bro, Daniel. These Malouf babies are gorgeous!
Then my baby fever miracalously disappeared as we headed to the Playboy Jazz Fest at the Hollywood Bowl. I love this venue! It doesn't matter who is performing, so long as there are appetizers and wine, it's the perfect evening! The Playboy Jazz Fest however provided some pretty awesome people watching. Thanks, Brian and Natalie for the great evening!

How romantic, I'm right in the middle of Brian and his GF, Natalie.

Those are the highlights from the last couple of months! We are in town until early Saturday morning when we will head to Boulder for a wedding. We are renting a car in Boulder and will casually make our way back home, stopping wherever our hearts desire, well, we have to be back on July 9th.

Thanks for reading!



Serendipity? Maybe...As our alarm went off this morning, I was simply trying to get my lazy, already on summer vacation self out of bed for my last day of school when Kevin & Bean were promoting the upcoming Jack Johnson shows! I moved quicker than I thought I could this morning to score 2 pre-sale tickets to the UCLA show on August, 31st.

I nearly accepted {sadly} that Jack wasn't going to play any local shows this summer, so whatever it was this morning, fate or serendipity, it's making my heart skip too many beats per minute right now! This will definitely be the perfect way to end my summer vacation!

Thank you, Jack for making my day! Well, of course my husband made my day first {he had the perfect response when I told him about the shows}, Jack second...

Hooray for summer vacation {which also means I'll be back to blogging}!