Saturday, November 28, 2009


Our good friends from Florida flew in for Thanksgiving this week. It was so nice having them here. They used to live right below us and seeing them again, it's nearly like they never left. Plus, company is always a great excuse to eat out at nicer restaurants.

I didn't think I'd write over the holiday, but the whole point of the holiday was begging for an entry. Here goes. Thanks to the Cassidy building owners for taking a chance on us when we sat down 2 years ago with stars in our eyes. Thanks to our investor for having the confidence to bankroll Cassidy without ever seeing much more than a hopeful budget. Thanks to Brentwood for pushing Crystal to become an amazing school psych. and standing behind her while we started Cassidy. Thanks to all of you private and public schools who opened your doors in the early days... and thanks for your good words and support now. Thanks to all of you early childhood education professionals for your continuing advice through researching and creating Cassidy. Thanks to our contractor who fought tooth and nail with inspectors and the city to keep us on track for a September opening. Thanks to all of you vendors who worked day and night, weekdays and weekends to finish on time. Thanks to the City of Santa Monica (most of you) for your encouragement and speedy plan-check process. Thanks to our architect for his patience while we figured out how to build what we wanted... yes, there might have been a few changes. Strangely enough, thanks to all of you people who didn't believe in us. You only made us better, stronger, and more aware of our goals. Thanks to our teachers (some of which left other stable teaching jobs) for having the confidence in Crystal and our program from the get-go. Thanks to our friends who helped stuff promotional folders over wine back in January. Thanks to our family, who without question (well, there were a few) jumped on the Cassidy Train. Thanks for your love and support way back from the beginning.

Finally, thank you to all of you parents who trusted in the concept of Cassidy enough to enroll without ever seeing the building, much less meeting the teachers. You guys are an integral part of what is making all of this a success. When Crystal first had the idea of Cassidy, we never really anticipated how quickly it would snowball. It's so amazing to hear how people hear about us and how confident you all are with the school. It's been a labor of love for both of us and we couldn't be more proud to have the families we have. Here's to a great 2009. Thank you so much.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Mandolins On Fire

Apparently some fire trucks came by the other day. Sorry I missed it. I heard the eyes and ears were full of information and a good day was had. Thanks to the local fire station for coming out.

Today was a fun day. Our good friend Nick came by and played Mandolin for all the kids during play time outside. It was neat seeing some of the kids gravitate toward him. Some danced, some sang, and some couldn't have cared less. It was a great touch to the day. Kinda thinking about hiring him to just hang out and play music the whole time.

A few days ago, one of our little ones came into the office with a suggestion. He wanted to have a pajama day where everyone would come to school, including the teachers, in their sleepies. Today was the day and it was amazing. Thanks Ryder.

The Strawberries had a potluck feast of turkey and fixins. I snuck in a few bites of mashed potatoes and gravy.

Happy Thanksgiving. Have a great weekend. Be gluttonous.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Green Thumbs

Thanks to a few of the Blueberry moms, we now have 2 flower beds outside. Well, I guess we always had the beds, but no green thumbs (or time) to do anything about it. Now they're stocked with colorful flowers, herbs, and smell goodies. Thanks so much for doing that.

I found out today that we're going to need fountain maintenance a few more times than first thought... like maybe even once a day. After much siphoning again, we're back to barely cloudy water... which is much nicer than I-can't-see-my-toys-below-the-surface water. I've pretty much given up on the shot of having a sparkly blue oasis.

I'm pretty sure "Cashy" is coming to school tomorrow. I'll be at home finally rebuilding my engine... which I'm imagining will trump date night... sorry Crys.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Cassius and the Korean Couch

Cassius is becoming quite the staple at Cassidy. If you haven't actually met him, you might be hearing his name at home. It's cute when this kids are asking for him, or making Ms. Crystal promise to bring him the next day. She's even gotten the suggestion to write herself a note and check it before bed and first thing in the morning so she doesn't forget.

Under the new label of "learning opportunity," the fountains made it through the day. We also moved what the kids call a bucket of dirt (known to adults as a potted plant) away from the small fountain. I think that helped.

I made it to the El Faro fundraiser tonight in Koreatown... and had authentic Korean BBQ for the first time... amazing. Hardly any English on the menu or spoken, so we pretty much said "whatever is good." I think it might be my new favorite.

This weekend, Crys and I ordered a new couch with two very scary words included... "custom made." So, 7 hours later we (and by we I mean she) had chosen the perfect color, the perfect fabric, the perfect frame, and the perfect pillows. This morning I got a call that our fabric had been discontinued... the only one out of at least 1700 swatches. So, tonight Crys spent another 7 hours picking out the second most perfect color/fabric/frame/pillow combination. I might just do a special 3-part blog on this couch when it's done.

Keep filling up the Food Drive bins. Keep checking out the Party Book website.


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Life Truths

There are a few key lessons in life... Treat others with respect. Learn to accept the things you can't control. You can't make someone love you. Do or do not, there is no try. The freezer deserves a light, too. The Jamocha shake at Arby's is untouchable. Etc, etc. Dare I introduce another? Never underestimate the imagination and tenacity of a 3 year old. My granddad used to say I could break anything with a couple of cotton balls. Within hours on Friday, the "imaginations" broke both fountains in the playground. We've decided to now make them "learning opportunities." You know what though? Now I know how to disassemble and repair a fountain pump... and it's been years since I've siphoned anything. Gas... I think I stole gas one time back in my teens... to make my teacher think his new truck had horrible gas mileage. Plus, how could you ever be mad at these kids? I actually respect the junior engineers for pushing the limits... just like I did.

Thanksgiving is coming up... sooner than you think. Our Food Drive barrels are hungry, too. If you haven't donated, take 20 minutes across the street at Whole Foods. Every little bit helps. This weekend, my car club had a Food Drive for the MEND Food Bank in the Valley. We collected nearly 2000 pounds of food in 5 hours. Surely Cassidy can fill up 4 barrels... aaaaaand, I have a side bet with my car club buddy. Toddler families, feel free to jump in the party, too.

If you don't have anything to do Monday night, there's a swanky little fundraiser for El Faro (the orphanage we're helping this "Christmas"... again, feel free to insert your holiday and/or PC word between the quotes).

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Proverbial Horn

Well, the fountains are in. I left today to run errands and came back to find them fully installed and running. I got a quick mental flash of the kids completely draining them within 17 seconds. Hey, don't underestimate the creative minds that we ourselves have molded. They've figured out how to transfer nearly 70 pounds of sand to the opposite side of the playground with only tiny little buckets. Egyptian pyramids all make sense now... probably built by 2-5 year olds.

I took my camera today and got some really sweet shots... and by sweet I don't mean cool or good... although without shamelessly patting my own back, and indirectly tooting my own proverbial horn, they were both sweet and good.

Had a little run in with some Cassidy electronics today. Although my logic assures me no good comes from verbal or physical abuse to said electronic device, my laptop nearly ended up in the Food Drive bin... forcefully. Thanks to Apple support, a few deep breaths, and a very snide albeit distracting hug from a little Blueberry, all is well. Honestly, there's not much that compares to a 2 year old hug... runny nose and all.

Parents, the Party Book site is up and running. We've been getting some really good feedback and ticket sales are pretty amazing for only being the first couple of days. If you haven't checked it out yet, please do.

Also, there's a new link on the bottom of the Cassidy homepage for the Parent Blog. It's full of information about what's actually going on... much unlike this blog which is slowly becoming my therapy. If you're not a Cassidy parent, do your best to never ever ever ever ever click on this link.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Brush With the Law

It's a shame we only put aside one day to give thanks to the Veterans. I read a story a while back about the "silent thank you" (sign language) people had been giving others in uniform. I think about it every time I see someone in uniform, but especially today. Whatever your take on politics, government, or the military, not much is greater than a single individual giving up their life fighting for this country. It's easy to dismiss when Veteran's Day comes and goes like any other, but take a second to think about it... it's so much more.

We got the fountains today... well, we got inspired as I mentioned we might, and bought two. They're delivering them tomorrow after school, so the kids will have some cool water-play on Friday.

We had plans to head off to Ontario right after, but were caught up by Crystal's itch for a new couch. Luckily so, because while in one of the stores, we got a call from ADT... the burglar alarm was going off at Cassidy. Ended up being some hanging art in the Raspberry room... ahem. Just when you thought you'd get a day off from work, fate pulls your pigtails. Pretty cool, though. I got to hear one officer call for back up to "sweep" the building. Swept and safe. They made us stay outside for the search. When they were done, they came out smiling and complimenting everything saying how they wished they had something like Cassidy as a kid. It's like they came back out different people... come on, how great is that?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Fountain of Youths

This weekend Crys and I found a water fountain shop in the Valley. We had found (and visited) a few places on the trusty iPhones, but this one came up claiming to be "worth the drive"... all the way out in Reseda. On a side note, I think we as Los Angelesians have lost track of distance due to traffic. Think about it. We don't speak in miles like the rest of the country. We speak in minutes.

Anyway, we found this shop in Reseda that seemed pretty unassuming driving by. It was slated as the largest supply of fountains in Southern California... I might be paraphrasing. We parked around the block and headed in. Within 2 steps of entering, our ears were filled with what could be mistaken as Niagara Falls... or a really heavy rain storm. I wanted to take a nap right in the middle of the floor. There had to be thousands (probably not) of them. We had hit the jackpot. Sure enough, we found one that's gonna be perfect in the Cassidy playground right next to the sandbox. We're going tomorrow (Happy Veteran's Day) to buy it. Should be on site within a week or so... I must say, a much needed addition to the yard, because kids have been filling up their water pails with the drinking water. We might even get all inspired and grab two.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Hey Mama, I'm On TV

All ramped up for firetrucks today... turns out there was a fire... and not at Cassidy. Luckily no one told the kids a firetruck was coming. Soon enough, soon enough.

Our Party Book site went live today with the help of a few amazing moms and their input. Cassidy families, you'll be getting an email soon regarding the new website and parties.

I totally forgot to mention that we were on the news a couple of weeks back. Guerrilla Gardening came to our school and taught a few of the Strawberries how to plant and water around in our flowerbeds. ABC's local news channel was along for the ride. You can see the video here. Pretty neato... yeah, I said it.

We're doing a Thanksgiving Food Drive right now to support a local food bank. Even if you're not with Cassidy, we'd be more than happy to take your donations. If you're a Cassidy parent, the bins are right outside each classroom. It's the usual items... canned stuff, beans, rice, gift cards for turkeys, etc.

We're also throwing around the idea of doing a toy/clothes drive for Christmas (or whatever PC name going around these days) to benefit El Faro, an orphanage in Tijuana, Mexico. More info to come as we figure out things. It might very well end up being a big Cassidy group going down to deliver the goods. We'll see.

Our new afternoon class started today. I think we must have some of the cutest kids in LA.


Friday, November 6, 2009

No Itchy Legs

Cassius came to school today and played with the Strawberries. Strawberry parents, check your blog... some cute pics. I played the evil character in their movie who stole cake. There was lots of "cake" to steal... lots of running around... lots of out-of-breath Jesse. Having to come in to work on the website may very well have saved my life. It does mark the first time I've rolled around on our fake grass. I must say, it was kinda nice... no itchy legs either. Kipi didn't make the cut today... she needed to run around at doggy-daycare. Maybe next time.

Quite the dilemma tonight... Lakers or a movie. I think a quiet dinner and a movie might win... even with the persistent lobbying on my part for sports. The Lakers might be a personal-time-for-Jesse thing. How dare they play on our date night.

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Tonight was a pretty great night. We had our Grand Opening and invited all the local schools, preschools, businesses, education professionals, and friends. The place was packed out. Whole Foods was so great donating all of the food and snacks, too. A few of the moms and dads were the ones who made it all happen, though. Also, thanks to everyone for all of the good words about Cassidy, our building, and program. We really appreciate your support and look forward to getting more and more involved in the community.

With the growing popularity of this blog (upwards of several million people per month reading), I'm starting to get offered movie deals and television appearances across the country. I must say, in the best interests of the kids, I've declined. One request made sense to me, though. I got it tonight. She just wanted a simple shout-out... or is it shot-out? Just her initials, or our team's season record, or "hey". I'm gonna do it one step further. Donna, you are amazing. This lady runs Baby Group here in LA. Besides being a die-hard Colts fan (and being cool enough to bring me a Super Bowl fanny pad), she's ended up being an amazing friend to both Crystal and me through building Cassidy. Donna, you're one of the brightest bulbs in the scoreboard (and although you're genius, by brightest I mean inspiring and by scoreboard I mean... well, you get it). Thanks for your words, your time, your energy, and your advice. 7-0 DH!

I got a chance to meet some really dedicated people tonight. As someone on the outside of education, it's really warming to see how many of you live for these kids. They've never had it so lucky.

Thanks again to everyone for a great night.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Dogs Who Keep Kids As Confidants

So, I've been working on a scale model of the Cassidy playground for a while now. Thought I'd take a photo and share. Snicker, snicker.

Tomorrow is finally our official official Grand Opening. We're expecting well over 40,000 people and have wine to prove it. Thanks to all you parents helping to get it organized and handled. We couldn't have done it without you. Whole Foods is also pitching in with cheese and olives, too. I'd be curious to see their quarterly reports since we started construction.

The dogs spent the day today at Cassidy. It's amazing watching how they interact with the kids and how many of the kids "relate" to them. Plus, it's cute to hear a 3 year old say "Cassius."

Our outdoor electrical stuff is done. I worked on getting the outside lights going today. I felt a little like Clark Griswold with the twinkle lights... all but a random 3 feet work. Ideas are welcomed.

On a side note, my Corvair engine parts are in and I'll be rebuilding next week... yeeeeeeeees.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Muddy Buddies

Look what your director did this weekend. Little bit of running. Little bit of biking. Lotta bit of mudding.