(child + yarn) / chair = huge mess

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

thing two found herself in the midst of a conundrum tonight.

i hate to spoil the ending, but the yarn won.

i don't know how things went from good to ugly, but when we got home, she was working on winding a skein of yarn into a ball for me to knit. i always ball my yarn before knitting so i can make sure there aren't any pesky knots.

one minute i saw her happily winding. i went to my room and when i came back, i found this.

with a side order of this.

i asked what happened and she said, 'the yarn got a big nasty tangle and it won't come out.'

i feel like there must have been more, but i can't be sure. i asked her to put the chair back on the floor and try to solve the problem.

she did.

the yarn wouldn't budge.

she tried, i tried.

she cried, i sighed.

in the end, it took scissors to solve the problem.

little miss is not a happy camper right now. the agony of defeat is breaking my heart.

we ended up with a cute little ball of yarn that won't really amount to much from a knitting standpoint, but there will always be lots of memories in this little woolen mound. :)

of course had she not been so tired, none of this would have been a big deal tonight. whoever said kindergarten was easy...lied.

sweet dreams, little love. peace and purls...

the ten days of christmas

Sunday, November 28, 2010

(disclaimer: this is jay's version)

on the tenth day of christmas, my true love gave to me:

ten delicious punk-in pies...

nine sock monkeys...

eight silly munchkins...

seven thousand grades...

six million birds...

five golden rings...

four stocking ladies...

three christmas trees...

two loving families...

and a partridge in our pantry.

our tree is up, our stockings have been hung, and we are now kicked back with a movie in and a fire brewing.

i *love* this time of year for so many different reasons. right now is one of those reasons.

peace and partridge-free pantries...

good things come in small packages...

Saturday, November 27, 2010

...elf-sized packages in my case.




remember him?

our elf on a shelf?

it was just like saint nick knew we were in desperate need of a behavior carrot (as in dangling), and lo and behold, jerry showed up this morning.

i don't remember our entire list of rules from last year, but i am 99.9% sure that touching the elf was strictly off limits.

the girls completely disregarded that rule today in their sheer excitement to see him and welcome him back home. it was absolutely adorable.

jay said to him (while petting his head/hat), 'jerry! how have you been? did you have a safe trip? how was your thanksgiving? did you know i'm in kindergarten?'

cee spoke just as sweetly to him (while nuzzling him like a baby), 'hi, little guy. i can't believe you actually came back! are you hungry? we have pie. and look at my teeth! aren't they big?'

i am sick. i am a wheezy, coughing disaster. having jerry back was a huge highlight in my day. meeting a dear friend for lunch was another highlight. and now i need to go to bed. you know why?

because tomorrow is our day to deck the halls!! jerry is here. the pumpkins have been carefully gathered and put away. our house is barren of holiday decor with the exception of jerry and his tiny little self. on my shelf.

bring on the jingle bells!! i promised the girls our house would look like christmas threw up on it this year...i've got lots of work to do.

peace, sugar plum fairies, and fa la la la las...


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

today i bought a new book. it’s a great book, and i researched it carefully in an effort to make my momma proud.

today’s book is called ‘siblings without rivalry.’

three guesses about why i bought this book.

hopefully you’ll only need one, and here's a hint: my parenting book purchases are usually reactive instead of proactive.

then again, that’s what i thought when i first started buying parenting books: ‘hopefully i’ll only need one.’

that’s about as naïve as a jillion other misconceptions i’ve encountered in parenthood.

shopping for my book today brought forth a double dose of therapy:

1. instant gratification in my efforts to keep my children from physically and emotionally traumatizing each other...

2. comedic relief in realizing how much money i’ve given to borders in my quest to be super mom...and how much i will continue to give to borders in the future. it is what it is.

check it out: i compiled a sequential recount of some of my favorite parental purchases since march of 2002.

since then, i have gifted these two gems...hindsight is so super shiny.

and yes, it totally takes a 'pair.' :)

once i had 'the happiest baby on the block,' i was pretty sure life as a parent was going to be smooth sailing. i mean, a happy baby is the foundation of a happy kid, and if you have a solid foundation, then you're set. right?


lots of things happened that i wasn't expecting (and that is a serious understatement)...in a variety of shapes, sizes, textures and colors. which explains why i bought this book.

i've suddenly realized i may have been keeping something from you: did i ever tell you that i thought the 'terrible twos' were a myth?

yup...true story, and that's why i bought this one.

although i don't have an exact recollection of the precise order, i do know that i re-read several of these as they uniquely fit the needs of cee and jay in their early years.

and then karma happened. before i knew what hit me, i became very aware of all the 'challenges' i'd given to my mom. that spurred the purchases of my 2nd trifecta.

after this trio, i remember experiencing a bit of reprieve and i probably thought, 'ahhh...so this is what it's like to be a parent! thank goodness for all those books i've been reading!'

simultaneously, my ex-husband was undoubtedly thinking, 'why is she spending all of our money on all of these books?'

it was around that time that i was introduced to one of my most favorite authors...anne lamott. she's magical and hysterically entertaining.

i found another great book during this timeframe, too. don't underestimate the power of ms. rose rock. trust me...

little did i know, there were more books on my horizon, and they were ones that i was not prepared to endure. it was time to buy some books for my little ones instead of for me.

i am so lucky that things have gone as smoothly as they have for my girls after buying these books for them. that's not to say we haven't had our rough patches. i'd be lying if i said there had been no more purchases post-divorce.

and today, i had just cause to buy yet another. it's chock-full of good info, and i am ready to put my newly gleaned knowledge into action.

me and trips to the book store are an accident waiting to happen. today, i did exhibit some decent self control by only purchasing one book.

but here's what's on deck...i'm thinking this will be my holiday read.

so yeah...

i am 100% thankful to be the mom of my girls. they are amazing, and i am blessed.

i am also 100% thankful for my borders rewards card...the grand total of all of these gems, before tax, is the same as the title of this post.

hmmm...i think i have an idea for a book. it will be along the lines of parenting. hopefully i'm not the only one who'll buy it.

peace, parenting, and publishing...

all images in this post can be found at amazon.com or bn.com...


Sunday, November 21, 2010

it's official: she's eight. she had a great day and we're ending it with a sleepover.

her friends are all so incredibly sweet, polite, and thoughtful. the theme of her party was 'paint your masterpiece' and they made some fab creations.

our old house sold and closed yesterday, so this was cee's last birthday party in the barn. i was just a little bit sad about that...times really changed from the crazy parties that barn has seen to the cool, calm, and collected birthday parties that have been there. i thought this picture kinda summed it up pretty well...

happy birthday to my sweet little cee...and many, many more to come...


time flies...

Saturday, November 20, 2010

...even if you don't want it to.

in 10 hours, cee will be eight. i remember every moment of her arrival like it was yesterday and i can't believe the impact that six-pound pink little lovebug has had on my life.

eight years of wonderfulness; eight years of laughter; eight years of watching her morph into a smart, funny, witty, and compassionate little lady.

one year old...maui.

two years old...at her first dance class.

three years old...little did i know, this look is one that wasn't just for fun.

four years old...her debut on the stubb's outdoor stage.

five years old...spring break in cancun.

six years old...loving soccer.

seven years old...lunch with friends.

and when i wake up in the morning, she will be eight.

thank You for blessing me with such a sweet little angel. i can't wait for all of the adventures we have ahead of us.

happy birthday, thing one. i love you more than you'll ever know...forever and ever.

give thanks...

Friday, November 19, 2010

if i was asked to count my blessings, i could talk to you for hours on end...i am so very lucky in a million different ways.

when i wrote my lesson plans last weekend, it just seemed like second nature to have my students write about things for which they're thankful. i mean, it's that time of year, right?

the kids i work with rarely see life in the same light as me. you couldn't pay me a million dollars to be in middle school again. it's rough.

there are certain moments, times, and assignments where my kids just completely put me in my place and give me the most amazing reality check a person could ever wish to have.

during this time of year, we all pause to collect ourselves and realize the enormity of our opportunities and blessings and shortcomings and almost-theres and shoulda, coulda, woulda moments. i think it's safe to say that most of us reflect and appreciate and feel loved.

this is my fifth year teaching, and this is the first year that i've been blown away and moved beyond words by what my students wrote today.

maybe it's because cee is getting closer to this age every day.

maybe it's because i have some solid clarity in my life now.

maybe it's because i am (wait for it...) seeing hindsight as 20/20.

maybe it doesn't need to be labeled.

maybe it just is...

i almost cried a zillion times today.

i almost brought 10 kids home with me today.

i almost pinched myself a hundred times today to make sure it was real.

here are some of the highlights of this year's talent from the language arts class of 'ms. it's just me' when they responded to the prompt of "what are you thankful for this year?"

please remember, these kids are eleven years old (aka mostly born in 1998-1999). enjoy, count your blessings, and hug your babies.

'dear mom...every day i watch you struggle with the housework. i feel guilty for not helping you and doing my homework instead.'

'dear mom and dad...thank you for having my sister. if you read that part, you are probably saying 'what ever' because we fight all the time but no matter what, we are still sisters...'

'dear God...thank you for letting my book of life continue...i have technically had to take care of myself here lately because my grandma's death was so hard on my mom this month.'

'dear wood elves...i'm thankful for the earth. i'm sure you think i'm crazy, but think about it for a second. the world hasn't burned inside out, the sun hasn't, exploded, and there's still water in the well. and no one person could replace any of it. right? anyway, what's the point of exploring the universe when you have a perfectly good world right here on earth?'

'dear mom and dad...i appreciate you bringing me into this world and teaching me to be myself and not listen to anyone but instead to listen to what my heart says to do.'

'dear great big thanksgiving turkey...i am writing to you just to tell you that what i am thankful for is my food. which i'm sorry to tell you is: you. sorry.'

'even if you and me fight and say 'i hate you,' i will always be your sister. forever. me and you are like two old couples that would fight and make up again and again.'

'dear family...i am thankful to have a dad and a mom and a brother so sweet and kind even though my brother drives me crazy sometimes...i still love him. a little bit.'

'dear dad...i just wanted to say hi even though i haven't talked to you in over 10 years. i leave the night light on in my room before i go to bed just in case you come back. i love you and i pray every night that you might call, because i miss you. so so much.'

reading their letters sure makes counting my blessings a lot easier tonight.

i love these kids to pieces and i hope they have a safe, relaxing, and fulfulling thanksgiving break. even if life isn't perfect for them.

afterall, they're kids...they deserve it.

peace and pinky swears...

no huevos, no árbol de peras

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

this evening, i was officially informed that there is no ostrich egg.

that means there are no ostriches in pear trees.

i am humbled to inform you that i am a little more than slightly sad about this.

but it was a sad kind of day, so this news was actually very fitting and timely.

jay did not see anything sad or humbling about this news.

she absolutely howled when she realized she'd completely tricked me.

gwyneth is on glee. i feel like a traitor blogging whilst watching glee...

tater tots for one and all.

peace and potatoes...

an ostrich in a pear tree

Friday, November 12, 2010

on the twelfth day of november, my thing two said to me,
‘i was so good i got an egg at the farm today, mommy.’

hmmm...we don't have a pear tree.

but i have been seriously thinking about getting a fig tree (which i would surely kill in record time).

jay went on a field trip today to crowe’s nest farm. she was supposed to go last wednesday, but it was rained out...and let me tell you that my sweet baby’s bottom lip was fit to trip anyone who didn't notice it. she refused (sweetly) to take a bath for the two days leading up to last week’s scheduled adventure because she was ‘going to get real dirty on the farm.’

today, the weather totally redeemed itself. i asked her what her most favorite part of the day was. she said that she liked milking the cow. i asked if she actually milked it, and she said that they already had a man who was the 'official milker.’

thank goodness for the milk man.

i asked her what the coolest thing was that happened in her whole day.

i was not expecting her answer.

'oh. when i got picked as the best kid on the whole trip. so guess what i got.'


'a giant, great big ostrich egg.'


'yup - a ostrich egg, mommy. i am gonna put it outside when i get home.'
(i have been out of town...they are with their dad - luckily)

'why are you going to put it outside? you should put it some place safe.'

'i'm gonna put it out there in case it hatches tonight.'

'wait. it has a baby ostrich in it?'

'uh huh. and i'm gonna grow it into a big ostrich. with no teeth!'

'so you won an egg? with an ostrich in it?'
(at this point i was 90% sure there was no egg...but there was 10% of my sure-factor that was getting a foggy read on the situation)

'i sure did.'

'well, you know it needs to stay nice and warm if you want it to hatch.'

'yup. i am just putting it outside to get some air because it's been my backpack all day. it might need to get its sillies out. but then i'm gonna bring it back in to keep it warm.'

'so...are you going to keep it at our house or at dad's when it hatches?'

'well...probably at dad's. because it can run and make lots of noises at his house, but we might get in trouble with our neighbors if it does that at our house.'
(remarkably, i am liking the idea of an ostrich more by the minute.)

'and what are you going to name it?'

'well...it just depends. i think i should get to know it first. like see if it's a boy or a girl. but erin or fred might be good.'

'and how do you tell if it's a boy or a girl?'

'mom, it's easy. if it's a boy it comes out pink. and if it's a girl, it comes out rainbow colors. duh.'

at that point, i was kind of inching down towards the 70% mark of positiveness that she was joking.

i asked her if she will bring the egg to soccer tomorrow so i can see it and meet my future grand...bird...that runs really fast...and lays over-sized eggs.

did i mention that i went to the texas association for the gifted and talented annual conference for the last two days?

it was full of valuable and awesome information. my brain is nearly fried, and i am so thankful for the opportunity to have attended.

they really stressed how gifted kids have huge imaginations.

i hope thing two is gifted....

otherwise, i am gonna be learnin' lots about ostriches in the very near future.

look. how.....cute?

yup - zero cuteness.

mixed messages

Monday, November 8, 2010

i was so baffled by the girls this weekend when they met a friend of mine at lunch. they completely forgot about all of the manners i have ever taught them. they even made a weird face at my friend as he bravely walked away. i was, honestly, mortified.

i quickly concocted a plan of action...what books could i buy to remind my girls of social expectations? what scenarios could i present to them to offer a review of etiquette? and what did ron clark have to say about meeting new people?

that prompted me to reflect. i evaluated the expectations that i have presented to the girls in scenarios that involve meeting new people.

ummm...sadly, there weren’t any.

which meant only one thing: they were operating from the standpoint of “don’t talk to strangers.”

well, they both earned an a+ in that category.

so that's one thing i can be very proud of...

i inadvertently made an impression on them. it was very point-blank, and there was no gray area.

i don’t think jay even realized that i was upset with them during the scene that wouldn't end. she was just taking it all in...and was fascinated by the look of bewilderment on my face. she was clearly contemplating her ideas for cee’s punishment for the way she acted.

her face was as pleased a punch...and full of mischief at the mere thought of the horrors her sister would face for her ill will.

when i took a step back and re-evaluated what went wrong, i quickly found that i was the root of the evil problem.




plus, am i really relying on a guy from a made-for-tv movie to grace my children with etiquette just because he was on friends for tons of years?

hello – and thank you, reality check.

i truly appreciate your visit and wake up call.

here’s a quick run-down of the damage.

don’t talk to strangers (part 1)...
don’t talk to strangers, but please be exceedingly nice to people who mommy knows – even if you’ve never met them. who cares that i’ve worked with them for five years? for you, it’s your first time to meet them. and by definition, that does put them in the category of stranger.

you did good...don't talk to strangers. period.

don’t talk to strangers (part 2)...
don’t talk to strangers, but please don’t fuss at me for being polite to people i’ve never met. even if it’s only because they are complementing your behavior at a restaurant or while shopping...or making small talk with me through the painfully long and slow line at the grocery store, you’ll have to excuse me. my judgment is superior to yours because i am your mom.

so just do as i say, not as i do, okay?

because it would never, under any circumstance, be alright for you to talk to a stranger.


diet cokes are bad for you...
and please disregard the enormity of diet coke fluid i ingest on a daily basis. as i said, they are bad for you. we aren’t talking about me right now, we’re talking about you.

what kind of parenting love and logic is that!?!?! i am appalled with myself.

sadly, these are three serious lessons that i have not fully taught to you because i am asking you to do as i say, not as i do.

i guess the ‘glass is half full’ perspective would remind me right now that i have lots of time to make up for lost ground.

but you are my babies, and this ground is very sacred and precious to me and i don’t like to waste a single bit of it.

and there are no more moments in our life together that i am willing to chance or spare because of my inconsistencies or my willingness to acknowledge gray areas.


because i love you.


forever and ever...


a homophonic symphony and the grate debate

thank you, giada, for creating a homophonic symphony at my house as we made your very yummy (although not at all yummy sounding) macaroni and cheese cupcakes.

despite the fact that i almost heaved at the thought of making these, i'll admit that they were actually pretty good.

the girls were so excited about them, primarily because they had a wicked carnal desire to shred cheese.

cee: i can’t wait to grate cheese!

jay: how do you grade cheese?

me: grate.

jay: what makes it so great? it’s not monster cheese and that’s the greatest cheese of all. (she means muenster which is, undeniably, the greatest cheese of all.)

me: because that’s what it’s called. grate, not grade.

jay: so we’re going to make it great? like monster?

cee: (sighs)

jay: can we make my allergy medicine great, too?

cee: yes. i'm sure we can. it’s hard work grating cheese, so...

jay: can we make my allergy medicine taste like monster cheese?

cee: jay! don’t interrupt me. i am going to go first so you can learn from me. it’s hard to grate.

jay: that sounds great!


oh, and p.s. - a kid told me today that i looked like shaggy because of my outfit.

while i did have on brown pants and a green shirt, i am very sad to think that all one of my students could focus on through my entire awesome lesson today was 'shaggy...'


dryer woes

Sunday, November 7, 2010

an appliance who was practically a member of our family is heading skyward. i wonder what happens to appliances after they're scrapped for their parts? i am guessing it's nothing like toy story 3, and i'm okay with that.

last week, my dryer died a very tragic, smoke-infused death.

i think of all the appliances in my house, this dryer probably worked harder than any other. my girls go through *lots* of clothes every week with school, after school, dress up game one, dress up game two, sports, and pajamas each day.

plus the dryer is such a dependable fluffer for me. towels...jeans...sweaters...jeans...jackets...

i really took my dryer for granted.

monday i came home to find my mom waiting in the garage for me. she isn't usually there. ever. i immediately knew something was amiss.

in her very bold attempt to tackle all of our laundry in one 24-hour day, she tested the limits of the dryer. she was not victorious. there was smoke, there were fire alarms, there was more than a little bit of panic.

and the smell...

ohhhh - the smell was horrific. if you've never smelled electrical burn, then trust me: you know it when you smell it.

i have no idea what happened or what burned, but i have never been more thankful to have a house that was still standing and a mom who was still worrying.

so it is with three heavy hearts that we bid farewell to our dryer.

i'd be lying if i said i wasn't a little excited about buying a new one. how fun!

plus, today, i uncovered a new leaf: wash and fold laundry service. if it takes me a few weeks to find the perfect dryer, then that might be okay. because the wash and fold laundry service also offers pick up and delivery.

is it a little weird that my bras and undies are leaving my house unattended? probably so, but i am really pretty okay with it.

i have always wanted a laundress and my morning adventure took me to something that's pretty close to it. i will stop there so i can avoid any redneck connotations associated with today's events...but when all things were said and done, it was good. and i paid less here than i would have if i lived in d.c.

i came home with four baskets full of clean laundry that are folded and put away in their proper place...and i didn't lift a finger in the cleaning process. i could get used to this. i'm sure all moms could.

in the process, the girls and i found a great new brunch place...massive yumminess.

this week, i am on the hunt for a deal on a dryer. there is a small part of me that feels like if i am going to buy a dryer, i should buy a friend to go with it. i know that's not practical, but that's how i feel.

alright - it's almost time for hannah montana forever.

peace and personal laundresses...

oh dot em dot three dot six

Thursday, November 4, 2010

no, this is not some sort of weird code.

it's just me...

it's my birthday, and i realized that i am closing in on my 'mid-life' mark...or maybe my carbon footprint's half life.

that's a lot to process, and i really don't feel like messing with it. i had a great birthday, though!

the girls took me to dinner @ eddie v's...yummy delicious...seafood, savignon blanc, and my sweet littles...

it was delightful.

i am blessed.



Monday, November 1, 2010




peace and pumpkins...

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