two wolves and a dog

Sunday, June 26, 2011

so two wolves and a dog walk into a bar.

just kidding.

i heard a great story goes a little something like this.

an old man is teaching his grandson about life. 'a fight is going on inside of me,' he said to the boy.

'it is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. one is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.'

he continued, 'the other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.

'sometimes it is hard to live with both of these wolves inside me, for both of them try to dominate my spirit.'

the grandson thought about it for a minute, looked intently at his grandfather's eyes, and then asked his grandfather, 'which wolf will win?'

the grandfather simply replied, 'the one i choose to feed.'

~cherokee legend

sometimes it takes a story like this to remind me of what i should be teaching the girls about life. i love finding things that paint a picture of the golden rule for them. it's so much easier to teach through example than to spout the same thing over and over (and over) again.

they have really been at each other this summer, and i don't really know how to make them get along. maybe it's just part of being sisters. they were with their grandparents this weekend, and jay is going to stay until thursday. this is going to be a great break for them. i'm hoping that absence makes their sweet little hearts grow fonder.

yesterday i promised to show you the cutest thing ever (seriously) that i got for jay.

brace yourself.

are you ready for it?

adorable, right?

she looks she did something very bad in this one...

so yeah. i'm totally jealous of the genius who invented this. you literally address her with a sharpie, take her to the post office, and slap some postage on her. voila.

wouldn't it make your day to get this in the mail when you were 6? or 36?

animails rock. there are more at blue bacon toy store in wimberley just in case you are dying to go grab one. :) it even came with that awesome glittered turquoise tissue paper. free of charge (the tissue, not the dog). walk, don't run.

cee and i have four days solo together (oxymoron, right?). i told her we could do anything she wants. i love having time one on one with my girls, and it doesn't happen too often. i'm not against individually spoiling them completely rotten when i can.

guess what she came up with. a no-bummer-week challenge rubric!!! sa-weet.

in addition to our fabulous challenge rubric, we are going to vbs next week. my friend asked me if i would help teach a class, and of course i was up for the challenge. cee (my social butterfly) is excited to meet new kids.

i have already told her that she is not allowed to gamble or place wagers against other campers in exchange for the shekels that the kids will get each day. keep your fingers crossed that she doesn't demolish the entire israeli economy with her slick attempts to swipe other kids' currency.

and keep your fingers crossed that we don't get any loser points on our no bummer week activities!! this should be lots and lots of fun - i'll keep you posted.


one down...

Saturday, June 25, 2011

eleven to go. my first grad school class is over and done - i think i'm gonna be able to handle this (yes, i was very worried)! the girls are out of town for the weekend and that means i get to let my wild side shine. i had a hot date with this last night...

jealous? :)

i honestly can't remember when the last time was that i had time to flip through a magazine and read the articles and dog-ear was a nice way to chill and unwind a little bit.

cee gets home tomorrow and jay is staying with her grandparents for a few days. i had lunch with friends today at the leaning pear,we went shopping afterward, and i found the cutest thing ever (seriously) to mail to jay. i'll try to snap a pic of it before i send it because words won't do it justice. i love wimberley - it is the cutest, most quaint little town. everything about it is so warm and welcoming. if you've never been, you should definitely make the trip.

whenever the girls and i moved into our house, i bought return address labels and at the bottom of the box, i wrote a note to myself that said, 'when this box runs out, it's time to start looking for new houses.' i know, i know - that makes absolutely no sense, but i got to the bottom of the box last week. so it's time to start looking for new houses.

i could totally live in wimberley, and i haven't felt that way about a place since i moved to austin 13 years ago. i should probably go ahead and order another box of return address labels and stick another note to myself in the bottom of the new box because now wouldn't be an ideal time to move. it will always be fun to me to look at homes and dream a little, though.

and now it's time to bust back into that big blue book - i'm taking the gre soon, and the more i study for it, the more i think maybe i shouldn't be a language arts teacher. eeeeks.

i stayed up way too late last night, i'm kind of foggy-brained today, and even though i really need to do some serious studying, i think that equation for a fabulous friday night might double as a fabulous saturday night.


more later.


i'm a human pin ball

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

today was exceedingly action packed. i had lots of things on my checklist, and i accomplished most of them.

read five final chapters for class - check.
made friendship bracelets - check.
entertained my children (who have suddenly decided they hate each other) - check.
moderated an argument - check.
made jam - check.
refereed a fight - check.
dinner with a dear friend - check.
made chocolate chip cookies - check.
tempered hurt feelings - check.

oh, and somewhere in the middle of all of that, i finished a 17 page article synthesis paper. whew!

i have to tell you - my paper required the use of apa format and i learned two very important things about myself: first, i use the word 'that' a whole whole lot. possibly too much. likely too much - i might have a problem with it.

second, living in a small town doesn't do a good job representin' on a formal apa title page. it looks a little something like this:

i don't know about you, but this cracked me up to no end.

the girls are really hating each other this summer and a very common phrase in our house right now is, 'mom, she just got all up in my grill.'

i don't talk like this. i swear. i'm not sure where they got it, but i am sure we aren't gangsters.

i am also sure that this little habit isn't going to be around for too long. i thought the friendship bracelets would be a great distraction from them 'hating on each other' and 'being all up in each other's grills.'

i was wrong.

so logically, the next reasonable solution would be that we should all make jam together, right?

in hindsight, i see that there is absolutely no relationship between the problem and the proposed solution, but for whatever reason, it worked. and they had fun (i use that term lightly). they bonded while peeling fruit.

i felt very fancy and simultaneously like i needed a fluffy calico skirt, a non-matching bonnet, a thatched roof, a pet goat, and daughters named laura and mary.

aren't they just the idealistic poster children for the jam enthusiasts society?

and then things got a little dicey - i have burned sugar before, and i didn't want it to happen again. therefore, i missed a lot of kodak moments and ended up with this:

yum! (well, technically the verdict is still out until tomorrow morning, but i'm feeling pretty good about my preemptive yum statement)

tomorrow i have two more major assignments due, and then i am officially done with my first grad school class (which explains why i am procrastinating via the blog right now). that went by super fast, i think i'll get an a, and i'm ready for my next class.

so yeah.

peace and procrastination...

p.s. - i'm sorry if there are missing n's in this post - my n key is being weird. if it was my l key, then i would have called this post noel instead of i'm a human pin ball. :)

lemon law

Saturday, June 18, 2011

whenever i see kids running a lemonade stand, i stop and i buy lemonade. it's just the right thing to do, right?

well, today karma paid me back ten-fold for all of my donated dollars to lemonade stands. the girls had their 2nd annual lemonade and lollipops booth. they seriously raked in some cash. i was so proud of them!

i was again reminded that me, manual labor, and heat are not a winning combination. not at all.

the girls got back from their beach trip wednesday evening, and we've had some jam-packed days since then. things were way too quiet without them here - i really don't do well when they're gone for too long.

i love catching these stolen moments...

and these smiles rock my world.

but you already knew that, huh? :)

peace and predictability...

a world with no borders

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

this morning i needed a book. my old bff, borders, is gone (as you probably know), and today was the first time i had a run-in with that reality. i decided that target would play a formidable second fiddle to borders, what with their starbucks partnership, 30% discounts, decent supply of best-sellers, and variety that isn't completely horrible.

as i walked through the doors and grabbed my red four-wheeled friend, i was reminded of something a friend said a few years ago, although i can't remember the context - maybe a guy she was dating at the time? 'i have standards, and you're not meeting them.' that statement comes back to me occasionally, and today was one of those occasions.

i realized that my standards have drastically decreased when it comes to book-hunting. as i made my way past all of the temptations that make target one of my favorites, i met my first dilemma: do i just grab a few books, pay for them, peruse through them at home, and return the ones i don't need (need = want)? no, that wouldn't be practical. and unless i wanted to fill up my tank and drive 30 minutes to the nearest b&n, i needed to figure out a way to make my new bookseller work for me.

after grabbing six books to thumb through, i found a perch. let me tell you - sitting on the bottom of the kids' book 'aisle' pales in comparison to the cozy, inviting chairs provided by my fallen comrade. sure, the garden area was just two aisles over, but i didn't want to be that person.

i quickly learned something new about target (we'll call this obstacle one): the back wall is a busy, busy area. it's where the employees go to 'meet up' like my middle schoolers do in the restrooms at pre-set times.

obstacle two is a direct result of obstacle one: there isn't much privacy on the back wall, and silence isn't considered golden.

i am all about reading to get my questions answered, and sometimes i don't need other people to see the stacks of books i'm looking through. especially when they have titles like 'the carb lovers diet' and 'eat this, not that' and 'master your metabolism.' my body speaks for itself, and i really don't need anyone looking at my selections and making judgements about my magical cure-all selections.

that was one of my favorite things about borders. i could grab a stack and set it with someone else's stack so that my books became slightly camouflaged by their new friends. i think that is an unspoken rule at book stores: don't look at other people's dirty laundry.

just as i was figuring out how to deal with obstacles one and two, obstacle three interrupted my decision making process by asking (loudly), 'hey m'am! can you move your basket for me? and your purse too? i need to get this cart through.'

tisk, tisk. you should never interrupt your customers when they are narrowing down their purchase, silly boy! i guess that is another unspoken rule from book stores that doesn't translate to book aisles within other stores. i humored him. three more times.

i have to admit, i have my eyes on the new nook. i did the whole nook v. kindle thing, and when it comes down to it, it seems like the nook has better page turning features, better resolution, and most importantly - cuter accessories. plus it has a feature that seems like my own personal book shopper. isn't it adorable?

today, i thought about just getting up and leaving. it gave me one more piece of ammunition to buy my nook. or i could order what i wanted from amazon. they're always so nice in helping me achieve near-instant gratification with their next-day shipping and all...

but when push comes to shove, there is nothing that i know of that can replace the genuine euphoria that comes from holding a book before you buy it: flipping through the pages, tracking with your finger, skimming, and i really do love the smell of books. weird, i know. but true.

i wonder what would happen if target moved its book section to the front of the store so that the smells of starbucks would mingle with the collection of books. it sure would create some ambiance. and i have to think that starbucks wouldn't mind me plopping in one of their chairs with a stack of books, so long as i sipped on one of their delightful concoctions and put my books away when i was done.

then again maybe, just maybe, it's nook time. instant gratification. sitting anywhere i want to read. no sales people to judge my stacks. no stockers to interrupt my moment...hmmm. tempting. very, very tempting.

i think the straw that nearly broke the back of my book-loving heart today was when i realized that even if my little red 'borders rewards' key chain tab never brought me anything fabulous, there was some internal satisfaction that came from knowing maybe one day the little card would pay it forward to me. no card for today's purchase.


it's mind-boggling how quickly our world is changing, both in regards to the economy and giant stores of awesomeness going bankrupt and with regards to technology. i can't imagine a world with no books, but i think that's where we're headed. i'm sure that little nook fellow has plenty of endearing qualities that will pacify my need to turn pages and hold a book in my hands. right? maybe i should just go ahead and hop on the band-wagon.

after all, i have standards, and today's shopping experience only earned about five stars on a scale of one to ten. (please forgive me target. we've been through worse, and this, too, shall pass.)

peace and preferred customers...

so long...

Sunday, June 12, 2011

on friday i woke up at 12:27 a.m. to a sweet pointer finger urgently tapping on my shoulder. 'mommy, my tummy hurts really bad.'

it was jay. i quickly made room for her in my bed thinking she just needed some extra tlc...

when, oh when, will i learn? this is probably the third time this has happened. every time she tells me about a mid-night tummy ache with that look on her face, i should know that i have roughly 30 seconds before she spews all over my bed.


i stayed up all night with her - watching her scrunch her face in pain and thinking how i wish i was the sick one instead of her. by 4 a.m. there was nothing left in her tummy but the urge was still there. i hate watching my girls suffer. finally at 5:30 she fell asleep.

i wrote a note and put it by cee's pillow so she would know not to wake up jay.

i went back to sleep at 6, and cee woke up at 6:30. she was ready to play 20 questions about the note i left for her, but i convinced her to make a palette on my floor and go back to sleep.

at 7:15, i woke up to jay urgently whispering, 'cee - you have to wake up. something really really horrible happened last night and you won't even believe it. it wasn't a dream and i swear it's true.'

i opened one eye to see cee doing a fabulous job of playing possum while subtly holding her nose and covering her mouth with a hidden hand. i've definitely taught that girl about germ warfare!

by 8:30 i had cee at camp and by 8:40 i was back home with my sick wee one.

all i could think about was how bummed i was to not finish the last day of the week-long training i've been doing and how irritated i was that i didn't have anyone to help me.

and then something happened that made me simultaneously hug jay a little bit tighter, wish that i'd kept cee at home, and count every last one of my many blessings.

i found out that a co-worker's son was killed in a motorcycle accident in the middle of the night while i was cleaning up jay's messes.

as much as i would have given anything to be sleeping in the middle of the night friday, i realized one sleepless night isn't the worse-case scenario by any stretch of the means.

i cannot begin to imagine what my friend and her family are going through right now. 'tragic' takes on an entirely new meaning when something like this happens.

i will never understand the ending of a life that's just kicking into high gear. it seems so pointless and inexcusable, but i know that his time on earth holds significance and his early departure does, too. there are just some things that we aren't meant to understand.

the girls left yesterday morning for their annual daddy/daughter beach trip.

i have to admit that saying goodbye to them was a little more difficult this time. the words 'be careful' were more of a desperate plea than a logical request. i know they'll have a great time, and i can't wait until they're back home in my arms, all toasty and tan and worn smooth out from their adventures.

reminders about how precious life can be are few and far between, but when they hit too close to home, it makes me treasure every moment with the ones i love.

jay left this sweet note for me, and i will frame it and keep it forever. it kind of takes on a new meaning considering my friend's loss. you never know when you'll say your last goodbye to someone, and i hate that part of life.

as i wrote this post, i realized that jay's early morning words to cee are probably part of what my friend is feeling right now.

'you have to wake up. something really really horrible happened last night and you won't even believe it. it wasn't a dream and i swear it's true.'

i really can't imagine what i would do in her situation, but playing possum definitely crosses my mind.

even if you don't know my friend, please send out a little (or a lot) of whatever floats your particular boat (prayers, positive karma, strengthened chakras, juju, universal comfort vibes...) to her and her family as they go through this unimaginably difficult time.

peace and more peace...

they're here...

Friday, June 10, 2011

they arrived late today...aren't they adorable? i mean, in their own special way...not in a traditional way.

their beaks make them look super happy.

i wonder if the other two will hatch...

my name...

Thursday, June 9, 2011 written all over this.

i need to be right here (right now).

not even kidding.

peace and palm trees...

head cases, magic, and squash

Saturday, June 4, 2011

yesterday our good friends max and ruby were in town, and the girls got their very own backstage passes. before we entered the 'special' door, we were warned that we might see headless characters.

i knew to expect this warning because one time (before i had kids) i was bugs bunny for a local warner brothers promotional event and it was a huge big deal not to be seen without my rabbit head (or rabbit hands and feet)....but that's a different story for another time.

after making sure the girls wouldn't freak out, we were granted our tour.

how funny is the green road case? it's called the head case, and i will never think this isn't abolutely hilarious. ever. in fact, i'm still laughing right now.

(are you at least chuckling right now?)

today at the pool (i love starting my sentences like that), i found the 2011 mother of the year and i'm not even kidding. first of all i have to give huge props to my girls. they're like fish and today i wondered what life would be like if we didn't have a pool. and then i wondered what life would be like if our life was in the pool. would they be super excited to walk? on land?

then they figured out how to fill their noodle with water and squirt it on me. and just when i was about to fuss at them for almost getting my phone wet, i saw the mother of the year.

she had two kids, a boy and a girl, who are probably about the girls' age. the mom and the boy were both deaf. i think sign language is completely beautiful. watching her talk with her kids made me forget to fuss at the girls for almost getting my phone wet. even though i always tell the girls not to stare, i couldn't help but stare as she interacted with her kids.

and then something really cool happened. the little boy decided to fill his noodle up with water (oops), and he was more resourceful than my kids. he dug another object out of their swim bag and used it to make an actual water gun. and he shot his sister in the face. his sister, not to be publicly humiliated without taking someone down with her, grabbed the noodle from him, smacked him on the head with it, refilled the noodle and squirted him in the face at point-blank range.

he cried.

she cried.

this is the point where i, as non-mom of the year, would have yelled at the girls to get out of the pool (probably using the much dreaded first/middle/last name combo) and made them either sit out for a few minutes or head home (depending on how my tan was going, of course). but it might have taken me a few yells to get their attention.

not this mom. her hands were magic and articulate. without so much as a scowl, she stealthly removed all parts of the make-shift water weapon from the girl's hands, had the boy under her other arm, and was directing her daughter to get out of the pool. and she did all of this with the most calm expression on her face. it was the coolest mom move i have ever witnessed.

i think it was especially impressive considering that i can fuss at the girls and pack up our stuff at the same time because i'm using my voice and my hands. this mom put my skills to shame. she packed them up and fussed at them and dried them off and maybe even helped them get dressed in less than ten seconds. i was jealous. i vowed to remember how she never even furrowed her brow. she has some mamma magic that she should bottle and sell.

luckily i didn't have to yell at the girls today and we had a fabulous time at the pool. one of my favorite things about summer days is leaving the pool to come home and grill. my most favorite thing to grill in the whole world is squash. and one of the saddest things in the whole world is when you grill squash and you lose one between the slats of the grill. it's just such an incredibly good thing wasted.

that looks pretty delicious, huh? that was my dinner. it's truly my most favorite thing to grill. i could eat it every single day. maybe several times a day.

it's been a pretty great day, and i promised the girls ice cream sundaes for dessert. and we have a movie date scheduled, so i should probably wrap things up right about now.

oh!! one more thing: our little hatchlings should be making their first appearance any day now, and i know this because the mom seriously took a swipe at my head today...we'll keep you posted.

until next time,


feathers, fevers, and favorites

Thursday, June 2, 2011

i think this was our first official free day of the summer. yippie!!! we had a serious hay day. we were wild and crazy. there was really no stopping us. the girls have been wanting feathers in their hair, so that was a must for us this morning.

i was so sly in my errand routing that i made sure the feather salon was right next to the grocery store. they were not impressed with my mad skills.

one of my most favorite things in the world is tomato basil soup. today seemed like a great day to make it because it can also be served as a cold soup. 'cold soup' doesn't sound very graceful, but what i made isn't exactly gazpacho by definition either. regardless, anything that starts like this has to be all kinds of delicious, right!?!

aren't those tomatoes dreamy? i wish i could take credit for growing them, but i can't. i am not a gardener. if there are two things that i suck at, they are gardening and lent. without fail, every year i try to make gardening and lent work for me. so far, not so good.

i figured that even if i don't have farmer instincts, there is a chance the girls have greener thumbs than me. plus, they've been trying to plant all kinds of weird things in our backyard: beans, rocks, left overs, veggies...i figured it was time they had a fair shot at success in the gardening department. they're off to a good start.

and then thing one came down with a mean fever.

but she'll never let you see her sweat. my sweet girl keeps apologizing for her cough. and she keeps thanking me for taking care of her. and she keeps drawing me pictures thanking me for taking care of her. super sweetness. and i'm thankful dinner was already done by the time her fever reared its ugly head.

delightfully delicious.

aside from the fierce fever and killer cough, our summer is off to a great start. stay tuned for more of our adventures...

peace and pruning...


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

i've been reading about research for the last four hours.

(okay, okay - for the last three point five hours...
approximately thirty minutes were devoted to day dreaming)

then i found a new friend.

i feel very bleary-eyed, and now everything looks like this (give or take).

therefore, i am going to bed.

peace and prolonging the inevitable...

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