half full

Saturday, April 30, 2011

i'm usually a 'glass-half-full' kinda gal. i can always find the silver lining. i am ready and willing to make lemonade out of lemons. i will hunt for the bright side until i find it. i like things to end well.

the girls and i had big plans for the evening, and they just didn't work out in our favor. we over-planned. i was bummed. they are bummed. i didn't want our night to end on a flat note...nobody likes going to bed mad, right?

when i went to tuck them in, i told them how much i love them and how amazing they are and how much their smiles make my heart sing. and i made them a special promise for tomorrow. that was just enough to turn their frowns upside down. i wished them sweet dreams and pulled their door closed.

i sat down at my computer, clicked on the tv, and realized that i had my own surprise ending for tonight: the royal wedding is on cnn. again! no complaints here at all.

then cee came back in, sweet as sugar, and said, 'mommy, i made something for you.'

she handed me an envelope, kissed my cheek, rubbed her eyes, and went back to bed.


and that's about as good as it gets. :)

my night isn't ending with the cup half-full afterall...my cup is overflowing.

peace...

isn't she lovely?

Friday, April 29, 2011

what a perfect shindig! the dress was simply stunning.

the grey lady has such a wickedly beautiful way with words.


and how cute was this little girl with her hands solidly plopped over both ears?

i think it's safe to say that surely a good time was had by all. :)

peace and prosperity...

four forty five

Thursday, April 28, 2011

that's what time i'm gonna wake up tomorrow.

i figure that will give me enough time to snooze once, wash  my face, and tune my tv to the royal wedding just in time to see kate strolling down the aisles of westminster abbey.

yes, i am serious.

who will she wear? what will it be? fluffy? sleek? which of the queen's tiaras will she sport? and where, oh where are they going on their honeymoon? these are the questions that have been plaguing me this week, and if there was a hashtag to convey seriousness instead of sarcasm, that's what would be around those questions.

sadly, there will be no tea and crumpets for me because i'll be administering part two of the dyslexia bundle taks test to a sweet, floppy-haired little cherub a few short hours after they tie the royal knot across the royal pond.

my regal celebration of the nuptials will be in the form of a diet coke, a bag of pretzels, a list of proper nouns, and a bouqet of freshly sharpened pencils.

in honor of the happy couple, i think i'll read the proper nouns, questions, and answer choices in my best british accent. and as long as i don't introduce suggestive vocal inflection or tone into any of it, i think i'll remain in full compliance with the required norms of the testing environment, as delegated by the royal testing consortium.

cheerio!

peace and pomp...

(now go back and read this entire post in the voice of the fairy godmother from shrek...it's way more fun like that)

easter at last!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

jay has apparently been waiting for this day her whole entire life, and the girls were so thrilled for today that they woke me up at 6:20 so we could see if the bunny came. he did, browning didn't eat him, and he brought the girls lots of goodies. then i went back to sleep for an hour so i could properly prepare my mind for the beauty of today.

about two years ago, cee asked me what the holy trinity was. i wrestled with how to explain that to her, and i struggled with how to explain it to myself. that's one of the fun things about parenting: sometimes you can pull things out of the air, but other times you're forced to analyze the roots of your own beliefs to their very core. every since then, i knew i'd better be prepared for a wide range of questions from that girl, and she has never failed to disappoint in her inquisitiveness.

jay is more of a thinker - one who would rather ponder...she has a lot of common six year old questions floating around in her head, but she really crunches on figuring things out on her own. she is such an empathetic child, and usually her answers tend to come in analogies that compare situations to human emotions. they are so much alike and so different at the same time.

if you ask cee why we celebrate easter, she'll give you a very theologically-accurate rendition mixed with touches of her own humor. if you ask jay why we celebrate easter, she will go into details about how it's important to treat people fairly based on who they are on the inside and she'll give you examples of what it probably felt like to be ridiculed and crucified and how happy everyone must have been about the resurection.

now, i have an easter confession to make. we did not go to church today. every since things went south with the girls' daycare last year, we have searched for a new church home, and i'll be the first to tell you - finding a new church home is no small task. i think when you find the right place, you just know. so far, no place has felt just right.

this, however, felt just exactly right for the kind of sky and grace i hoped to see on easter morning.



instead of church, we opted for our fifth consecutive year of fellowship with some truly great people. we went to a ranch and listened to live gospel music. the stage for the music is pretty much what sets the scene: it's in the most quaint, perfectly set country chapel that i've ever seen.


when you hear amazing grace, the old rugged cross, and up from the grave He arose bellowing from the walls of this little gem, all facets of life fall perfectly into perspective. it's standing room only, and i think the gathering of people waiting to get in (which this picture doesn't really show) is a beautiful representation of what church should be.


plus there are horses out there, and we love us some horses.


the girls had a ball running around with friends and hunting for eggs.



it surely was a perfect day to chill and 'be.' our time with friends is always treasured, and we couldn't have asked for a more perfect backdrop to our amazing day. the breeze was just right, the soft flow of voices on the porch was excellent background music, the trees swayed in time with the beat, and the laughter of all the kids was the best kind of harmony imaginable to top off a day like ours.

on the drive back home, i wanted so badly to see a stray box turtle on the side of the road. it seemed to me like that would have been the perfect topper to the perfect day. every day doesn't end with a cherry on top, and we didn't find a turtle to adopt.

regardless, today was definitely a day where we had plenty of time to stop and smell the proverbial roses. now that we're home, i can't wait to get ahold of my neti pot. my lungs are gasping for a few hits of xopenex, and those are temporary ailments that can't possibly compare to happy smiles like these.




i'll gladly pay the price of an evening filled with sniffles and sneezes in exchange for priceless moments like these any day. and twice on sunday. ;-)


thank You, God, for all the blessing You bestow on us.

peace and precious possessions...

easter eve

Saturday, April 23, 2011

tis the night before easter, we're taunting our dog...
he's proven himself to be quite a hog.


jay bird is worried that he might eat the bunny,
and that would probably not be very funny.

dear easter bunny - you are the best. i've been
waiting for easter all of my life and we have a dog but
he will not eat you we hope. 
chocolate is not really an allergy for cee,
i'm not one to argue since she gives it all to me.

dear e.b. - i've changed since we have last met
and guess what i am apparently allergic to chocolate.

the girls have finally fallen asleep,
and left out plenty for e.b. to eat.


when they wake, i know they'll be ecstatic...
and all of the goodies will make them erratic.

happy easter eve to you and yours.

peace...

p.s. no dogs were hurt in the making of this post. he is now sleeping happily on my feet. ugh. the gate is still up, and his diet will remain rabbit-free.

unless you count peeps.

i don't.

he ate six of those yesterday.

squeezable moments

Monday, April 18, 2011

me: cee, did you do your reading this weekend?

cee: (blank, tired stare with glittery blinks)


me: i'll take that as a no?

cee: you really don't understand how busy we were, mom. we, like totally, ran out of time.

me: hmmmm...how about you jay? did you read your just right books?

jay: (blank stare with glittery blinks)


me: okay, well, have you at least been wiggling your loose tooth to help it come out sooner?

jay: mom, i am in kindergarten and i am six and i already have so many things to remember to do every single day. and i got grown up shampoo in my eyes this morning because i forgot to squeeze my eyes closed and it hurt like fire. how am i supposed to remember my tooth on top of everything else i forgot to do?

i think to myself: interesting...

while they bathe, i consider exactly what i want to say to them and how i want to stress the importance of responsibility without coming across as preachy or school-marmy. it's late and they're tired, so too much fussing will only fall on deaf ears and/or a flood of tears. plus they already know what i expect.

i take a big breath just before i walk in, prepared to sit down with them to discuss the importance of school, priorities, and saving the world one step at a time. i find them in the midst of this, which means that technically, they're both getting their reading taken care of. the effort that it takes for them to create this moment on their own means a whole bunch to me.


seeing this plus two report cards sprinkled with a's and e's makes it a lot easier to forgive these little things that seem to trivialize our day-to-day routines. it's rough being in single digits. i just know it.

again, for maybe the millionth time, i can't help but wonder what i did to get so lucky.

peace and priorities...

marco pollo and a basset hound

Sunday, April 17, 2011

the scorpion incident made me realize that i haven't been checking my horoscope daily like i used to. i'm not sure when i stopped (or why), but i checked it yesterday for the first time in awhile. here was what the universe suggested for me (paraphrased):

a memory, dream, or vision could trigger a rush of spiritual energy. as a result, you might want to jot your experiences down so you won't forget them. the insights should continue to come. keep up your studies and you will go on growing indefinitely.

i know you're on pins and needles just dying to know what magical revelations came to me through my dreams last night. first, i dreamed about le grand colbert's roasted chicken that diane keaton (aka erica berry) raves about in the movie 'something's gotta give.' i also dreamed i was going to austria to get a basset hound.

i have absolutely no idea what one of these things has to do with the other or why they're significant (maybe they aren't?), but i did google to see if i could find the recipe for the roasted chicken because it sounded like a great sunday dinner.

i found out it wasn't even on le grand colbert's menu until after the movie was released. there's a great article from gourmet magazine about poulet roti in lovely paris.


i decided that i need to try this for dinner. tonight. i'm not doing it because it's what's written in my stars, but instead because it just looks yummy. on the menu tonight: french chicken with drunken jus and mashed camembert potatoes. i'm going with sauteed spinach instead of green beans. 'the bread' would make the perfect compliment, don't you think?

now i have successfully procrastinated for an hour and a half. i've got lots to check off of my list before my little ones get home this afternoon. a basset hound is not on that list, but it might be on the list soon!!

happy palm sunday to you and yours.

peace and poultry...

bug off

Friday, April 15, 2011

i'm not crazy about trips to home depot, and i try to avoid them at all cost. i just got home from there, and i have a full bug-killing arsenal to show for it (plus a new plant as a pick-me-up).

when i woke up this morning, there was one, single, very huge scorpion sitting happily in the doorway that goes from my bedroom to my bathroom.

i hate bugs.

i make it a point not to have bugs in my house.

i have been in my house for two years and haven't seen any bugs except for two wolf spiders (which are so gross), and i am perfectly happy to keep this record going.


this little visitor spurred a slurry of questions from me.

where did you come from? why are you here? how long have you been here? did you bring any friends with you? are you awake or sleeping? have you been here before? do you know how much i hate you?

do you see my sleeping babies? do you know that i would smoosh you right now if you tried to hurt them? do you have a death wish? are you suicidal?

do you see my shiny turquoise cup? did you know i'm about to plop it right on top of you? do you like the way fingernail polish smells? do you like cotton balls? are you getting dizzy from how fast i'm swirling you around underneath this cup? do you mind if i slide this yummy smelling cotton ball underneath your cup real quick now that i have you all dizzy and confused?

after giving him my homemade concoction of scorpion sedative, i harnessed every last ounce of 'guts' that i have to pick the scorpion up with long tongs and put him in a pyrex dish. i wanted to show him to my science teacher friend, and i wanted her to say, 'oh my gosh. that's the hugest scorpion i have ever seen. you have every reason to be completely disgusted and totally freaked out right now.'

my scenario played out a little differently and it wasn't the biggest scorpion anybody had ever seen.

by the time i got him to school, he was suffering from the intended effects of the fingernail polish remover.


after everyone agreed that: 1) scorpions get bigger than my specimen, 2) it’s ‘that time of year' (shudder), and 3) it’s a good thing this one is dead, i chunked the scorpion in his tiny pyrex casket into the trash.

my very brave friend made me dig the pyrex container out of the trash, and with the expertise and exquisite finesse of a mom-who-isn’t-scared-of-a-silly-scorpion, she threw him out and muttered something about my oversight at a perfect recycling opportunity. i got my pyrex back, but i'm not sure i'll ever use it again.

the tongs and the turquoise cup?

in the trash.

i’m all about go green and reduce, reuse, recycle, but sometimes you gotta nix one of the three. in this case, my three r’s look a little like this: reduce, reuse, recycle. i think i scored bonus points in the reduce category, so it's a wash.

i am about to douse my humble home in lethal doses of bug killer. there was nothing at home depot that specifically said, 'this is a can of very potent scorpion killer.' therefore, i bought a little bit of everything.


wish me luck.

peace and pest-free homes...

i ♥ my job

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

i love my job. i can't say it enough...i love the amazing people i work with, i love the kids i teach, i love what i do...oh, and i love the fun that comes with the job that isn't officially listed as a benefit (but totally should be). you can't just let things like this collection of late slips pass you by without appreciating the latent humor brewing in this kid.

at my campus, we have interns from texas state who come over to help us out. they tend to completely fall in love with teaching because our school rocks, and they are almost always awesome.

almost always.

i have had one or two interns every semester for the last four years. all in all, i have only had two bad ones who didn't make it. oh wait. that’s not including the one who worked at a daycare that bought hatching chickens for her munchkins to observe and then offered two of the hatchlings to me. one of the two that i took from her turned out to be a rooster, and that is a whole new story for a whole different post.

to say that i struggled with her letter of recommendation is a serious understatement.

there are always funny things that happen on our campus just because we work with kids who are amusing, highly intelligent, and frequently unpredictable.

there are even funnier things that happen with our interns because they do things that are really off the wall, too. we expect them to be adult-like, but it doesn’t always work out that way and they fall for the same things that our students would.

for instance, a year and eleven days ago, our resident funny guy put this notice on our copiers:


given the budget crisis that's cutting teachers left and right, you have to know that we can't possibly afford voice recognition upgrades. that said, imagine a copy room full of interns all saying their names and articulating them more clearly and more loudly each and every time. with the patience of saints and never once becoming frustrated, these interns continued to state their names and followed their names with commands like 'copy!' and 'collate!' and 'staple!' and 'start!'

oh...such fun times.

today one of my friends (who i just happen to work with) walked into the teacher's lounge and observed two interns digging in the trash. i can assure you that this is not normal behavior, and here's the conversation that ensued.

intern one: nope, there’s nothing in there.

intern two: sad day.

(interns one and two exit/stage left)

my friend walked over to determine the cause of the terrible, horrible, no good, very sad day. it was an empty donut box that had carelessly made its way to the depths of the morning's trash, and that makes for a very sad day indeed. times like this make me miss being in college. i was so bummed to miss out on this actual event, and i was so thankful that she shared it with me. i immediately called dibs on writing about it.

good things are always happening in the teacher’s lounge. last week i walked in and found a student in there. this is kind of a no-no, and there’s a sign on the door that subtly suggests that it would be in a student's best interest not to enter.


there's really no room for discussion with a sign like this.

it was about ten in the morning and i’d had a few diet cokes too many, so i didn’t ask her on my way in what she was doing there. on my way out, she had vanished into thin air. after some very careful investigating with my top-notch team of detective friends, i was able to solve the mystery. i proceeded to write the best office referral of whole my life. since 1997. it went almost exactly like this:


you really do have to appreciate the serious amounts of guts it takes to be a middle school kid and stroll into the land-of-the-forbidden for some hot-cheetos-fruit to help stave off the hunger pains inflicted by a brief stint of in-school suspension. and what an ingenious way to turn a brief stint in iss into a not-so-brief stint in iss.

that reminds me of another funny thing that happened not too long ago. except this didn't happen in the teacher's lounge. one of my kids wrote a paper in support of our school's tardy policy, and he decided to add in a few extra punishments for chronic offenders. his suggestion was a.s.s., which quite obviously stands for after-school suspension. i mean, duh, right?

he’s a kid who would never actually curse and would either be mortified or very matter-of-fact if he realized what his acronym spelled. i was completely impressed with his concise verbal skills.

i think i've been stuck in a rut lately that has made me forget to embrace the humor that slaps me ever so gently in the face every single day at school.

i'll be the first to admit it: my recent posts have been boring and lackluster. i'm stressed - it's almost testing time for my kids. and the events that have composed the bulk of my year haven't exactly been run-of-the-mill. but guess what...i'm back.

let's do this. :)

k?

peace and punch lines...

life

Sunday, April 10, 2011

i completely love this. i need it in my life. in my house. in my classroom. everywhere.


full of good stuff, huh? click here to learn more about the holstee manifesto.

peace and passions...

a simple request from the heart

Thursday, April 7, 2011

'could we bake cookies tonight, mommy?'


hmmm....i don't know. we have lots to get done this evening.

'please oh pleeeeaaaaase can we make cookies tonight?'


well, maybe...we really do have a lot to finish, though.

'it's just that your cookies connect my heart to your heart, mommy.'


i'm such a sucker. cee, what do you think about making cookies tonight?

'yeah, some homemade cookies would be an expression of your heart. and no offense, but you really are kind of a sucker, mom. '


i am? i don't want to be a sucker.

'it's not a bad thing to love your amazing, wonderful kids. plus, you aren't going to see us for, like, two whole days. wouldn't you be sad to think of us without cookies for two whole days? i mean, wouldn't you?'


now, if you have any advice for me on how i'm supposed to avoid melting for these sweet little faces, i'd be happy to listen to what you have to say. if you don't, then i'm done - hook, line, and sinker.

(we made some yummy cookies.)

peace and persuasive ponderings...

things to overlook and things to never forget

Sunday, April 3, 2011

the art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.
~william james

last week had lots of moments, both big and small, that required me to simply overlook them. that's not how i'm naturally wired, and some of those moments were really starting to take a toll on me by the time friday rolled my way. i am pretty sure this was one of the most welcomed weekends i've had in the last couple of years.

last week was a heck of a week, and i was so excited for today because it meant that last week could officially be kicked to the curb. hard. in the shins. with a snarl on my face and a few select words.

this week has started off with a bang. i think the big guy upstairs knew how badly i needed a good start to this week...and as always, He gives me the things i need at the best possible times. i'm a lucky, lucky woman.
 
we went to see hop today...it's easily one of the cutest movies i've seen in awhile. the girls got cutie pie little hair cuts (as cee says, 'i got a shish kabob!'), new furniture for their rooms, and the biggest smiles to boot. the only thing that could make tonight better is if i stay awake long enough to watch glee. even if i don't, it's been a great weekend and i hope that there's a good week teetering on the horizon.
 
aren't these a cute pair of kabobs?


one of my fave friends sent me a short list of things to write about, and i am so thankful for that. i feel like i haven't been incredibly creative lately....last week had other intentions for me aside from writing, and i hope that this week finds me back on track. i feel like i've been slacking in the blog department lately, or maybe i just haven't been on my 'a' game. either way, it's time to get back on track. i'm looking forward to it!!
 
happy sunday, sweet dreams, sunny skies, fluffy clouds, kissing hands, bedtime stories, and floating hearts.

 
oh, and plenty of peace...

sometimes...

Saturday, April 2, 2011

...there are no words. so i'll leave you with those of william james:

'the art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.'

peace.

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