Monday, May 30, 2011

we spent some peaceful time at the pool today. i love summer, and nothing makes me happier than this little concoction: a whiff of hawaiian tropic, mixed with a delicate blend of banana boat baby magic, added to the faint (but reassuring) hint of chlorine from the pool, and topped with gallons of giggles from the girls.

when it comes up for a breath, it looks a little something like this:

the girls are finally, finally old enough to swim freely. as much as i don't want them to grow up, i've always secretly envied moms who don't have to watch their kids like a hawk every single second that they're in the pool. this summer will be the first in awhile where i can peruse the pages of a catalog, read a book, thumb through a magazine, or comb through a scholarly journal piece (i think those will be the bulk of my summer reading this year).

it's kind of like whenever you get your kid potty trained for the first time. it's such a golden moment in itself, and then you realize that in addition to a major milestone, you get a huge bonus in the name of a diaper raise. this summer, i've been granted a mildly false sense of security with the bonus of some genuine r and r time at the pool with thing one and thing two.

i'm very thankful that the wicked apocolyptic premonitions didn't come true because that would have really interfered with our splashing and tanning time.

here are a couple of their new circus tricks they've refined....thing one has a mean backward cannonball going on, and thing two is a ninja wannabe.

even though my life sometimes feels like a three-ring circus, i can't imagine it being any other way for now. i have great friends, wonderful family, a job i love, a summer ahead of me to enjoy, and i'm back in school.

sometimes i feel like the crazy juggling act that might, at any given minute, drop every last pin or like the person dangerously tottering across the high wire with no net to count on, but i really don't have any room to complain. i kinda have it made. i can't imagine things getting any better. i can't imagine wanting anything else. what more could i ask for?

peace and perfect days...

the natives are getting restless

Thursday, May 26, 2011

it's crunch time. there are four hours and fifteen minutes left of school time starting tomorrow morning at 8:15. i can't believe it - this has been a heckuva year for me, and i really need it to be over. really, really need it to be over. summer has never smelled quite so sweet.

the kids are getting very squirmy - they're ready for the summer, too. most of my kids took their exams today, and i still have one class left to test tomorrow.

at this point in the year, the twelve year old crowd is so over school but it's my job to keep expecting the best from them. i found this quote on mother's day and it actually applies to my students, too (except for this: change mother to teacher and child to student).

the mother loves her child most divinely, not when she surrounds him with comfort and anticipates his wants, but when she resolutely holds him to the highest standards and is content with nothing less than his best.
-hamilton wright

preach it, mr. wright! in layman's teacher's terms, that means keep them busy and working and thinking and interested in anything other than misbehaving!

when my kids finished their exams, i had a writing assignment for them (yes, i am that annoying teacher) to keep them quiet and focused (aka not climbing up or bouncing off of the walls). their assignment was to write a letter to my friend's brother-in-law because he's being deployed to afghanistan this weekend. sixth graders typically love writing to our military, and i think that's pretty cool.

as i was reading through their letters at the end of the day, i realized something that has never hit me before. twelve year olds can be very, very thoughtful, soulful, and sweet (that part i knew); however, (this is what i didn't realize until today - hence the use of the word however) they are very, very blunt. they don't quite have the verbal finesse to soften the blow of life's ridiculously harsh realities.

case in point: very eloquently written letter that expresses gratitutde for the service our military does for us, implies an understanding of how difficult their service is, and ends bluntly with, 'i hope you don't get shot.'


and then there was this beauty from a student who is seriously the coolest kid i've ever known. even though he has a hard time relating to other people and is very matter-of-fact, his sense of humor is off the charts, not always appropriate for the situation (as you'll soon see), and just about the equivalent to someone in their late 20s. he rocks. this was his letter:

good luck and have fun in afghanistan, hope you don't work for al*qaeda.
-sincerely, resident genius child

gosh, i'm gonna miss that boy.

since it's end-of-school-eve, the girls are busy making gifts for their teachers. i am about to bake about 50 pigs in a blanket. they have end of the year parties tomorrow, and that's my contribution. the timing of their parties is perfectly aligned with my conference period, so i get to attend both of their celebrations! they have both been blessed with incredible teachers this year - we were very lucky.

i can't believe the school year is already over. it seems like just yesterday they were strutting their giant turtle shells into school.

no matter how much i can't believe it's the end of the year, it is the end of the year. i can honestly say that i wasn't sure i'd survive, but it looks like i'm gonna safely be able to put another year in the books.


peace and parties...

feather your nest

Saturday, May 21, 2011

last week, the girls and i noticed a new addition to our porch.

we noticed this when we almost got kamakazied by the rightful owners of the nest while watering the plants on our porch.

a friend of mine posted a similar picture on facebook, and she is (thankfully) much wiser than me because she already knew they were barn swallows.

last night, we did some investigating and jay was completely absorbed in learning more about them. this was her favorite website because she liked the pictures. :)

this morning, i went on the porch to take pictures. the parents did not like that, and they were very curious about why i was so close to their home. can you see it?

how about now?

yeah - that's not zoomed....that's how close those brave little suckers were to me.

this one is zoomed...

their concerns were completely validated and all in an effort to protect something very, very valuable to them.

aren't they adorable and totally cute?

after i saw the eggs, i understood why the parents were watching me like a hawk. i feel the same way about my little ones, too. i'll give them their space from now on!



Wednesday, May 18, 2011

right now i feel like there is one word that
pretty much sums up my life: almost.

i had jury duty this morning. i have somehow managed to evade the system for 18 years of my eligible life, and i have to tell you that i was super excited about going this morning!! i live in a very small town, and it was municipal court. i figured there would be all kinds of charming quaintness going on at the court house.

first of all, everyone but me was grumpy, and that was amusing to me because i realize i am probably in the very vast minority when it comes to wanting to be on the jury.

second of all, the only thing i could think of was all of the painful things i've seen on tv about jury duty (like when carrie bradshaw had to sit by the weird guy who brought different fruits each day).

third of all, i really hoped it would be like the runaway jury because i really love that movie (errr....i mean, the book was awesome).

side note: i have loved john cusack since sixteen candles and better off dead. not in a john-hinckley-jodie-foster kind of way. just plain, non-psychotic adoration.

back on track: i realized i probably wouldn't get runaway-jury-lucky, but before i knew it, the judge was presiding and the prosecutor was giving us the voire dire (which i totally knew about from the runaway jury). i was juror #9, and at first i thought that made me for sure 'on' unless i made the attorney upset/worried.

then i started counting the juror chairs. there were only six. i kept wondering where the other six chairs were. then i decided that they were just going to bring the other six chairs in later. maybe they didn't want to make it appear too crowded. or they didn't want any of 'the pool' to have to stand up during the voire dire. perhaps aesthetics played a role in only showing six chairs at first.

and then the prosecutor broke my heart. she announced to the judge that she was done and felt confident that she could produce a jury of six from the pool. six? six. six!?!?!

i wanted to object, but i didn't. all six people in front of me made the cut, and the rest of us were dismissed, which left me as the lone grumpy one.

did you make the jury? almost.

other things that fall under my umbrella of almost:

-did you have a magically happy childhood? almost.
-were you the valedictorian of your high school class? almost.
-did you get into nursing school? almost.
-did you finish college in four years? almost.
-did you score well on the lsat? almost.
-did you get accepted to law school? almost (unless you count the university of puerto rico law school).
-is your dog well-trained? almost.
-are you ready for swimsuit season? almost.

even though i didn't make the jury, today marks the beginning of something else fun: grad school. the book shipment for my first class arrived not too long ago, and i've already received my first reading assignment. no sarcasm intended: i can't wait to get started! here we go!

peace and projects...

just relax.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

i went to the spa today! i got a spa gift package for mother's day, and it was beyond fabulous. i felt totally pampered and very appreciated. i realized two things about myself in the middle of my signature facial:

1. relaxing is not easy for me.
2. my mind really never stops. even when i tell it to shut up. ( nauseum.)

for the record, i am a total pro-spa attendee and i've never had this issue before. it was more than slightly annoying to me.

i think i did a pretty good job of appearing to be cool, calm, and completely chilled out, so that's gotta count for something. as i was sitting there in the cozy, comfy, giant chair thinking about how i wished so badly i could relax, i started wondering when it is that we learn to 'act' relaxed even if we really aren't.

i also wondered if anyone else has ever had that same thought or even if anyone else had to convince their bodies to appear to be relaxed. or if i'm the only person who has silent conversations with themselves at the spa. or ever. in case you're attempting to create a diagnosis for me right now, please note that i never answered my own questions during the course of my one-woman-monologue. i swear.

the lady who did my facial told me that my face really has a story to tell. i figured she wouldn't have said it if it was going to be mean, so i asked what she meant.

she said, 'well, i can tell you're generally a very happy person, but also very serious. it seems that you're rarely sad.'

she said she could tell this because i have faint laugh lines and eyes that naturally smile (eeeks?), but i also have a brow trenched with worry (oh that? that's just my furrow...don't mind him.). she said she could tell by the lines on my face that i preferred a smile to a frown.

what a sincerely nice thing to tell someone...and during a very vulnerable moment.

this was our conversation near the very end. after her kind words, i instantly relaxed.

wouldn't you know it?

i spent a lot of time yesterday watching the news about the morganza spillway providing relief to the m-i-s-s-i-s-s-i-p-p-i river. one thing that kept hitting a nerve with me over and over and over again was the significance of the number 40 to the news reports.

'it's the first time the spillway has opened in nearly 40 years!'

that sounds like such a super long time ago, right? i mean, they were saying it as if it was nearly a century as opposed to four little bitty decades.

well, then they went on to say, 'the morganza spillway last opened in 1973.'

brakes screeching to a halt...

ummm...i was born in 1974. which essentially makes me 40. if i was on the news, i'd be 40. that's what kept hitting the nerve. repeatedly. ad nauseum.

i don't feel 40 (which i guess is alright since i still have a few years to go). do i act 40? i don't know. all the 40 year olds i know are pretty hip and fabulous. so even though i'm not quite happy with the way the number sounds, i think i'll be in good company with my 40 year old long as i can be as cool and wonderful as they are.

hearing today that my laugh lines and furrowed brow are a part of the story my face tells might sound lame at weird at first. however, i think that's a pretty decent story for the face of an alomst 40 year old to have to tell. i've had it pretty good. my girls keep me in a constant state of smiling and laughing (obviously), but life isn't all fun and games. i can definitely take things seriously when i need to.

would i rather smile than frown? of course. wouldn't you?

the last few years have been very good to me, and i am very thankful for that. even if my mind didn't get to take a chill pill today, i still enjoyed every single minute of my spa time.

and now the girls and i are about to play some 'paper football.' team glee v. team sparkles. i'm not sure which team i'm on, but this should be good.

peace and punts...


Friday, May 13, 2011

one of many reasons why i love anderson cooper...

the girls decided last friday that they wanted to get their ears pierced. by the time we got to claire's saturday and filled out the paperwork, they'd both decided needles weren't really in their weekend plans afterall.

i totally understood, was an intimidating set up and hearing the lady say, 'let me just get the guns ready,' was enough to make me more than a little nervous.

therefore, i cannot imagine either of my children willfully submitting to needles *in their faces.*

just sayin'.

considering our recent experience within the close proximity to sharp, pointy objects, i found this ridiculist particularly amusing. i hope you do, too.

peace and poison...

new tricks

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

rough day. long day. girls with their dad tonight. got home, plopped on couch to check email (okay, poured a glass of wine before plopping).

before i knew it, i had this doozey in my face.

it's not a bird. it's not a plane. nor is it the pure yolk of a pristine egg.

nope. it's browning's bowl. and he figured out how to bring it to me and stick it directly in my face. i couldn't get a good picture of him carrying it in his mouth, but the challenge has been issued and i will succeed.




i think he's trying to tell me something, don't you?

you'd think he hasn't eaten a home-cooked meal in weeks. you'd be right if you thought that, but he has eaten. he's just not on the home-cooked bandwagon right now. he gets two square meals of kibble per day, and apparently, he's getting a little demanding about when dinner is served.

his eyes are just so darn sweet that i can't resist. it's like he's asking with a 'pretty please?'

on a side note, i think i'm going to invent whitestrips for dogs...

now he's fed, happy, and ready for the six o'clock news and a nap. such an old man.

but i guess it's true...whatever it is that they say about old dogs and new tricks...

i realized today that i need to learn some new tricks to get me through the next 12 days of this school year.

almost without exception, all of my students looked at me today like i had grown a 3rd arm or had kicked them in the shins, insulted their family, or had a tatoo on my forehead that said, 'school is not over yet and you still have work to do today.'

(that would be a big forehead or a little tattoo)

some may have even been under the impression that my eyes had fallen out or stopped working altogether and i couldn't see them mouthing secrets across the room to each other. or not-so-subtly passing notes to each other. i confiscated some juicy ones today, too.

i'm gonna have to come up with some new material to keep them entertained for the next two weeks. they are done...they've checked out, and i don't think i have ever been aware of this happening before. i mean, i know it's happened before, but it sure was nice to be oblivous to it when it did happen.

wish me luck, people. i'm gonna need it to keep this crew onboard.

peace and.....hmmmm.....yeah....

just peace...

an amazing matriarch

Saturday, May 7, 2011

doesn't seem like she's been gone that long. learned english at eufaula boarding school, became the first indian student at kansas university medical center, graduated an r.n. lost her husband and raised four children. would have been easy to punt; she instead sent them to college. quit speaking english at the end because she thought in creek and was too tired to translate. such a quiet pillar of strength. her children couldn't get enough of being around her and neither could her grandchildren. we miss her more than we can express.

-my dad, about his mom
my dad has quite a way with words, and even more so when he cares deeply about something.
what he doesn't tell you about his mom is that she lost her husband, a preacher, to a sudden heart attack when my dad was only thirteen - there was still lots of kid raisin' to be done in that house, and my grandma totally rocked it.
there's a little time gap in between when she sent them to college and quit speaking english. she worked as a  registered nurse for her whole life, and she was one of the first indian women to do so.
she went to church every sunday at the most incredible, situated-exactly-in-the-middle-of-nowhere, outdoor church - the same one where her husband spent his years preaching.

there really aren't any words that adequately describe her church, but it's definitely worth a try. "church" was a covered pavillion. there were always ladies in rocking chairs on wooden porches of simple cabins, and those cabins made up the perimeter of the place. there was never a shortage of amazing food and amazing people. oh, and the older people there only talked in creek. did they know english? maybe, but they prefered to speak in their native language. and there was never a shortage of laughter.
she had an amazingly quiet way about her. she was a person who didn't say  much because she wanted to take it all in, and too many words could cause you to miss some of the most important, subtle details. the things she did say were guaranteed to be pretty important and profound.

she had fifteen grandkids and she was the one in charge of us all. we loved that about her. if she were still with us, i have no doubt that her great-grandkids would adore her just as much as we all did.
i think there should be a picture of her beside the word matriarch in the dictionary...she truly mothered her children and took pride in grandmothering each of her grandkids. 
she was diagnosed with cancer when i was pregnant with cee. shortly before cee was born, she went into hospice care, and the way we knew the end was near was when she stopped speaking english and started speaking in creek again.
her life truly came full circle...i think that's pretty cool.

whenever i think about the kind of mom i want to be or the kind of grandmother i want to be (even though i might not be here for that since my girls aren't allowed to date until they are 35), i think about this amazing woman.

she really was a quiet pillar of strength. and inspiration. and faith. and fortitude. i am so very thankful to have known her, and being able to include her as a part of my family and my fabric is just another of the bazillion ways that i'm blessed beyond words.

i hope that the moms in your lives have a wonderful mother's day. i have so many friends who are celebrating their first mother's day this year, and i hope that they enjoy every single moment of their special day. and for my friends who are seasoned moms, i hope your day is particularly incredible, too. i am certain that you deserve it. :)


p.s. - if you know me at all, you know it is absolutely killing me that i cannot find the one single photo album that i know has the exact picture of my amazing grandma so i can include her picture in this post. :(

here's a little something to bridge the gap.

the story of the secret wishing pond

Thursday, May 5, 2011

this is what jay looked like for the majority of last night.
one tooth: dangling. one thumb: wiggling.

i'm not gonna lie - cee and i had our fingers in her mouth wiggling that sucker, too. it was so ready to come out, but jay wanted to wait. cee's first grade teacher has a direct line of communication with the tooth fairy, and she is tooth-puller-extraordinaire. jay wanted her to be the official yanker.

i dropped her off at school this morning with a mouth full of teeth. when i picked her up....

...something was different, and i could no longer put my finger on it.

you know i'm a sucker for a snaggle smile.

jay is totally beside herself in anticipation for the winged one to pay us a visit tonight. i asked jay what she knew about the tooth fairy, and her story made my heart flutter. i'll give you a few out-takes from her story:

man, i wish i had that imagination. i really, really do.

both girls are happily sawing logs right now. they're determined to catch the tooth fairy in action in the middle of the night. i'm determined to help her stay stealth.

part one of their plan ('whatever you do, do not fall asleep!') hasn't panned out too well, so i have a pretty good feeling that i'm going to be the tooth fairy will be successful. i'll let you know how it turns out...

peace and wishing ponds...


Monday, May 2, 2011

bin laden is dead.

how did you find out? i found out on facebook, of all places. such an apropos sign of the times, don't you think?

just yesterday, the girls asked me to tell them stories from 'back in the old days,' which inevitably makes me feel older than necessary. but i humored them anyways, and i chuckled at their rebuttal statements/questions...

back in the old days, we didn't have remote controls for t.v....the kid was the remote control and they changed channels for the parents. ('that's like child abuse, right?' thing one asked with a serious furrow in her brow.)

back in the old days, there wasn't a disney channel. in fact, there were only three channels! ('so i guess you just got netflix whenever you wanted. lucky.')

back in the old days, we got the newspaper once a week and everything else traveled through the grapevine. ('is the grapevine like when you tied two cans together with a string?')

(yup, i'm from a super-small town of 10,000, and i graduated with almost 120 people.)

i thought about how timely our conversation was, especially with regards to the news. i really did grow up in a super-small town where thursdays were exceptionally exciting because that's the day the local paper was delivered. by the time i was old enough to care about the news for the news part, i know we got 'the lubbock paper' on sundays at the grocery store, and that was a nice way to break up the week: local on thursday, regional on sunday.

i am certain that there were other major publications available for purchase, but they didn't really have a huge bearing on my life in the middle-of-nowhere at that time. i mostly wanted to see who scored the most points at little dribblers, who won in the lubbock teenage tennis circuit, whose picture made the paper, and what new movies were playing.

now? i am a self-confessed news junkie. my favorite channel is 46 (cnn) and i think of anderson, wolf, and piers as people who are essential to completing my day. i don't like to think about what life was like before 24-hour news. i don't think it's okay if people aren't current on the world's events at the end of the day. i might even be a little bit judgmental about it.

and as junkie as i am, i am super thankful that other people were news-junkier than me yesterday, and enough so to post on facebook about bin laden. i have a confession: i was watching bravo because of the extravagantly catty dinner party taking place on the real housewives of orange county (shhhh, don't tell - it's my guilty pleasure!!).

if not for my facebook friends, i might have gone to bed wondering if alexis and jim were going to be alright and if tubba wubba really owed lots of back-pay in child support. i might have slept through the entire night without realizing the enormity of the evening. here is the first post that caught my eye:

sitting in anticipation for the president's took 10 yrs but we got' em! God bless the usa!

i like this one because her brother-in-law graduated from west point, is an army ranger, received bookoos of accolades for his military accomplishments, and authored the amazing book two wars. she automatically gets high points in the patriotic department. and if you haven't read 'two wars' and you're interested in that sort of thing, i highly recommend it.

and then there is the one from my friend in new zealand:

united states navy seals, the best of the best. tougher than anyone or anything out there. hats off to you guys. and someone buy them a beer!!!!

you've gotta love that one, too, coming from an american in new zealand.

so i'll admit it: i didn't go to sleep until very, very late. i remember looking at the clock at 2:38 am and then again at 4:57 am, and i'm pretty sure i dozed heavily during that time.

there was a fabulous feeling of patriotic pride running through one side of me, and in the other side of me were the burning questions that i still haven't answered for myself/better yet for my girls, which included, 'how do i adequately explain to my girls why it is so important that someone filled with evil has died? how to i tell them that it is pretty appropriate for people to celebrate his death (and not in the same way people celebrate at a funeral in an attempt to mask sadness)?'

when i got them up this morning, i had to face the music. i didn't have answers to my own questions, but i also didn't want to send them to school completely uninformed. i'd rather they hear it from me than from kids on the playground because i like having first dibs at answering the first questions that pop into their minds. i know there will be many more questions, but once they have the initial ones answered, they are pretty good about holding onto the subsequent ones and saving them for me.

i like that.

i like that they're inquisitive and interested in world events. i like that they crunch on these things long after i think they've stopped. i like that they challenge me with their questions. it goes back to that whole 'getting to the core of your own beliefs' thing that i wrote about last week.

i was able to answer all of their initial questions this morning. jay had a dentist appointment this afternoon, so i picked her up right after lunch. she had a couple more for me when we got in the car. one was: 'do you think it hurt when he died?' the other was, 'do you think he went to heaven?'

when we got cee after school today, she had one, but it was more rhetorical: 'so, people aren't celebrating this dude's death in like the same way we celebrated gigi's life. but the golden rule says we should always wish for the best for everyone else. right?'


wheels churning.

aware, but not.

these faces are still so full of innocence, and as much as i want to keep it that way, i know that their innocence slips away from me a little more every single day.

i like to have a harness on what they're learning and i like to know how they interpret what they hear. i like the discussions we have about all of the 'stuff' going through their minds.

call me a control freak - it's okay, i call myself that every single day.

the way i see it, though, that's my number one job as a mom right now: to moderate what is going on in their heads and guide their thoughts in a way that allows them to develop their own perspectives and establish their own beliefs, and at the same time, i have to be able to place limits and explanations on their perspectives when they get too lofty or off-track.

the way i see it, if i don't do this, somebody else will happily do it for me. as their mom, i'm more than happy to be their moderator.

doesn't that sound better than control freak?

i think it does.

either way, it works for me.

uh oh - they're out of the tub and hot to trot. time for me to go!

peace and parental ponderings...

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