ummmm....wait. what?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

is it seriously only tuesday? i guess poor sleep for two nights in a row makes for two very, very long days. tonight i will be crawling into my giant, comfy bed super duper early.

in the meantime, i have a couple of pictures for you. the first one is the girls having a pre-oscars tea party. please excuse the pathetic condition of my backyard. it needs some major tlc. two dogs and a drought are not the most ideal set of circumstances for the tundra behind my humble abode.

i forgot to tell you that super mom was an attendee of jay's birthday party a couple of weeks ago. she really was super. she brought her camera and took pictures just for fun. i didn't have a knife; she found one. i needed help serving cake - she helped. she helped herd children from point a to point b. she was magical and i told her she needs to charge for her party support services.

and true to her super mom status, she delivered a fantastic stack of pictures to me late last week. this next pic is one of my most favorite. i'm serious - she is super mom, and i bow down to her skills.

also - i have to share a couple of funny things that have happened in the last few days. the girls and i went to a ut basketball game over the weekend and out to eat on south congress afterward. because i sometimes forget that jay is fully literate now, i am often surprised by the things that come out of her mouth. saturday was no exception.

after dinner, we were walking back to our car and she asks, 'mom, did you see that sign?'

'which one?'

she said, 'the one that said no more shitty clubs. so like...why would they feel like they needed to use that word on their sign? they could have used lame or loser or boring.'

such a poignant observation...and excellent use of context clues.

we are watching chopped and doing homework right now. food tv seems safe enough, right? well, a nuva ring commercial just aired. cee asks, 'so where do you put that thing in to take it?'

' your mouth. just like a pill.'

'yeah, but it said it isn't like a regular pill.'


my mental dexterity is going to have to step it up to handle questions like that.


from the mouths of babes...

Monday, February 27, 2012

i really, really love my job. i love what i do, i love the kids i get to work with, and most of all i love the friends who i work with.

our 7th graders took the writing benchmark last week and each year i truly look forward to grading what they wrote for their benchmarks.

it's so fun to see how their writing has improved from my class into their current class, and i love reading about their perspective on the world through the eyes of a 13 year old.

today did not disappoint. among some of my favorite things were:

...the person who wants to invite steve jobs to our school, can't remember the name of the company he created, but knows the logo has a bitten apple on it
...the handful of boy geniuses who will one day run the world (and who already run independent nations that are currently unrecognized by the common public)
...the plethora of kids who tried to write about why they admired a certain rapper, but left out a critical 'p', thus changing the entire meaning of their paper
...the kid who is inspired by phillipe croizon
...the kid who taught me more about stephen hawking and nclb than i honestly already knew
...the staggering number of students who have made difficult decisions (or decisions period, for that matter)

i realize that people who aren't teachers don't really understand this.

and that's why the people i work with are that much more important to me.

kids do say the darndest things.


memoirs, life stories & dibs

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

'everyone has at least one good book in them.'

i've heard that addage all my life. i've always wondered what my book would be and i've been even more curious to know how it will end.

i recently realized this whole everyone-has-at-least-one-good-book-in-them phenomenon isn't entirely about me.

some people have the most incredible stories that have helped shape their lives...and consequently, fed the continuous ripple of 'good things' moving forward with life as we know it today.

some people have been to hell and back in their lifetime.

some people have conquered the unimaginable.

and some of those people with the great to-hell-and-back stories or how-i-changed-the-world-without-even-intending-to stories or how-i-conquered-the-unimaginable stories aren't necessarily writers or storytellers.

i wonder how many incredible books haven't been written simply because nobody took the time to document the beauty of the story.

what if anne lamott said, 'you know what? bird by schmird...nobody needs to know this.'?

what if david sedaris had given up after the first rejection letter?

what if elie wiesel said, 'i can't possibly relive this mess.'?

what if frank mccourt said, 'dear self - who cares? you're just a teacher, man.'?

the world would be an entirely different place...for me, at least.

i can tell you one thing for sure right now: if walter decided to write his memoirs today, this would be the apa citation for his first release:

st. james, w. (2012). sorry about that: my life as a submissive tinkler. new york, ny: three rivers press.

and boom.

instant best seller plus morale booster for the wah wah because he gets to share his saturating story with the world.

win-win for all of us.

there are two great stories floating around in my mind right now, neither of which are about a tiny white puppy speckled with brown who has alleged bladder issues.

i can't stop thinking about them (the stories; not the bladder issues); i can't stop wondering who is going to write them to share with the world.

which brings me to my next dilema: who's story is it to tell?

to me, the answer is easy: the person who experiences it has double dibs on writing the story. plain and simple, no arguing. if it happened to you, it's your story. if you choose to share it, you share it with people you trust.

such are the ways of mr. sedaris, ms. lamott, mr. wiesel, and mr. mccourt...tell the story just as you lived it...and bring a little hope and a lot of happiness to tons of people in the process.

which brings me to my current quandary. if a person dies with a beautiful love story tucked quietly beneath their wings, shouldn't that be considered a sacred story? shouldn't you count yourself better off knowing someone chose to share their beautiful story with you? and shouldn't you tuck their story into your own nest of blessings?

on the other hand, do you ever question fate? do you? have you ever found yourelf really, truly questioning the meaning of an exchanged moment with someone who is no longer here?

what if a person told you their beautiful story with high hopes that some day, when the time was right, you would share it with others?

but if you never had the chance to ask them, then how do you really ever know the answer to this question?

which brings us back to my initial pondering: i wonder how many incredible books haven't been written simply because nobody took the time to document the beauty of the story, whether through self-doubt or lack of ownerhip.

i'm simply tossing this little ditty out there into the universe for the sake of pondering and getting it off of my chest...for now. as per usual, writing always makes things better for me in the moment, but the root of the issue remains to be resolved.



oh, mama!

Saturday, February 18, 2012


{ting, ting, ting}

i have a very important announcement to make!

here are a few things that are not part of my very important announcement (but are still important):

1. i got to watch a precious little guy figure out how to walk today!
2. i can't pull myself away from the soccer-mom-turned-undercover-agent show i'm watching right now.
3. when you're sitting under the dryer at the salon, it's hard to know that even though you can't hear your angry birds, everybody else can.
4. sometimes you have to look out of a new window to see the big picture.
5. i so love my mama-friends at the girls' sporting events!

thank you for listening...

and now for my very important announcement.

there's a fabulous new blog that i want you to know about.

one of my very dear friends took the blog leap a few weeks ago, and a few days after said leap, we sat down together and gave her blog a face.

her blog already had a spirit and a life of its own, and lord knows it has spectacular voice, depth, and soul...but sitting with her as we gave it a face was when i realized exactly how fabulous it was.

she's doing a project-based blog, and her goal is to not eat out through the end of the calendar year. like lent, i would have lasted for about 36 hours with a goal as lofty as this, but she's off to a stellar beginning, and she is seriously one of the most determined people i know.

she's also one of the smartest and funniest people i know...

and now, i present to you...mama o.

(which, ironically, is oh mama - backwards. or reversed? because technically backwards would be o amam which isn't anything special. i guess it should be reversed instead. or maybe mirror-imaged. whatever, you know what i mean. right?)

i hope you love her as much as i do.

peace and cheers...

{clink, clink}


Friday, February 17, 2012

here are a few of the images that made my heart flutter this week. these are only the ones i was lucky enough to catch on my camera. love, love, love them all.

yup - it's been a pretty great week, cosmic b's and all.

tonight, it's raining. i have a fire going, a glass of wine, my flannel pj's, and life is good.


cosmic b's

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

yesterday i wrote this really debbie downer post called cosmic b.s.

it stood for cosmic bitch slap, which is a phrase i got from jennifer garner in the movie valentine's day.

when i woke up this morning, i felt bad for being such a bummer, so i deleted that post. :)

and today i'm here to tell you that i'm about to get my first b in a class.

b is for boooooo (hiss).

and we come full circle back to cosmic b.s. in the form of cosmic b's.

i am the kid who needs to get straight a's (crooked a's work, too)...i like a's.

multicultural literature rocks, but right now it is not my friend.

yesterday i wrote a seven-page paper about the values and contributions of culturally diverse inclusive literature, and tonight i finished a 35-slide powerpoint about the same mumbo jumbo.

this class made me seriously think about taking a break...but i know myself too well. if i take a break, i probably won't go back. so i dug my heels in and made the best of it.

and here we are. at slightly less than four-point-oh. (dot em dot gee)

so whereas i thought yesterday was a cosmic bitch slap, i can now tell you i was wrong. today, this class is.

in case you were curious, the only synonym for bitch slap is pimp slap, and that doesn't have the exact same ring to it. so naturally i looked it up in spanish.

i'm happy to tell you that i have a new phrase to incorporate into my daily conversations: quĂ©jese bofetada!!!

good stuff, i know.

(you're very welcome)


six feet under

Sunday, February 12, 2012

i woke up with six feet under my covers this morning.

two of them belonged to this little noodle head...

and the other two belonged to this little burrito head...

okay - there were actually ten feet because walter was there, too.

especially on a cold, wintery morning, that's one of the best ways i know to wake up!

we are about to dive into some pre-valentines day madness. i think it will be fun...and yummy. or at least (hopefully) one of the two.

hope you've had a great weekend.


31 magical days

Thursday, February 9, 2012

after reading a post by my friend over at the project queen, i was inspired to download a new nook book.

coincidentally, this fits in beautifully as part of my 'read a book a month outside of grad school' and my 'keep our home a peaceful place to live' goals for my life list.

double. score.

i am always battling a seemingly endless pile of laundry and to-do's, and in the mix of life and mommy-hood, i sometimes forget to keep my eyes on the prize: keeping a happy home for the girls. it's a short read, and i will should be done with it just in time to start a new book in march.

oh, and for the record, i finished water for elephants as my january book. i laughed, i cried, i swooned. i'm trying to keep my goal in would be a shame to miss something that only takes 11 months, right?

so here we go...diving head first into new domestic territories...i'll try to keep you updated. wish me luck!

peace and domestic bliss...


we had a fish funeral today. i was pretty convinced that skinny was the longest-living betta in the history of bettas.

he meant the world to cee, and for her, i am sad he's gone.

we're marking the cause of death as old age, although cee is pretty sure he had cancer (which is her new current medical obsession).

there really weren't any adequate words for his eulogy. we tried, but we weren't eloquent by any means.

dear skinny,
you were a good fish.
you were a smelly fish.
you're a really smelly fish right now.
thank you for being a good fish.
we will never forget you.


good bye.

cee is home with me today - after a couple of days of vicious coughing, she has walking pneumonia and strep which is no fun at all. i'm not sure she anticipated having a fish funeral amidst the sickness.

i'm also not sure how we are going to tell jay after school today - she gets very sad about loss and i'm not sure exactly how she'll handle the news.

would fish sticks be an appropriate dinner tonight in honor of our floaty little friend? i think so.

est in peace...

when the emperor speaks, people listen.

Friday, February 3, 2012

this conversation seriously happened today between 9:38 am and 9:39 am. this is proof that greatness can happen in the course of a minute.

awesome-est kid in the world (as evidence will soon show): miss, you have paper boy in your 7th period class, right?

me: why yes, i do.

awesome-est kid in the world: okay. can you please strongly encourage him to attend a meeting we have tomorrow at noon? he knows where.

me (intrigued): yes...what kind of meeting is it? are you and paper boy having a super secret meeting?

awesome-est kid in the world: well, it's...just...(he's trying to dumb this down for me)...we're both emperors.

me: no way.

awesome-est kid in the world: yes. we're emperors of unrecognized countries. and paper boy and my other friend, who is also an emperor of an unrecognized country, are not seeing eye to eye, and if we don't do something quickly, our worlds are going to collide. and end. so i feel obligated to intervene.

me: i see. is paper boy the emperor of the land of 'i want my two dollars'?

awesome-est kid in the world: no, he's emperor of...

yup. this is as far as i can go because 'awesome-est kid in the world' said things that made my brain back track and regress and assume the fetal position and wonder why i hadn't been the first one to think of staring my own empire.

i did feel immediately compelled to share this crucial tidbit of information with awesome-est kid in the world's current english teacher.

she was already aware of the distress amongst the empires, as awesome-est kid in the world had already sought her input. he told her that he felt caught in the middle of two forces. she advised him to carefully remove himself from the situation, thus requiring the two gentlemen to settle their differences.

his reply?

'you mean peaceful diplomacy.'

for most 7th graders, this would be a that seeks reassurance and needs the boost of confidence from an adult to accept what he already knows to be true.

but not this 7th grader.

his is not a question, but a very simple (yet thoroughly complex) statement.

'you mean peaceful diplomacy.'

it isn't a correction as much as it is a paraphrase in the moment of impending doom of said empires.

i taught awesome-est kid in the world last year, and he has a little sister coming up in the next class of 6th graders.

it is all-out, game-on for who gets little sister of awesome-est kid in the world.

i hope there is peace in your empire...because that's not something you can take for granted...


that's all...


Thursday, February 2, 2012

for some reason, today was really hard for me (not that this day was about me at all). my youngest baby is growing up, and it seems like we just did this song and dance yesterday. but that was for her sixth birthday.  i really need an appointment with father time.

seven years and approximately four hours ago, this scene blessed my world.

from the moment i laid eyes on her, i realized i'd just unveiled a completely different kind of love as a mom. there is truly something unique about the path your soul travels with each of your children, and it's not something you can explain until you meet your second child. and probably the same goes for your third and so on...

when i first started looking at pictures for this post, i was thinking the theme was going to be her smile, because that is her killer secret weapon. but it's about so much more than just that beaming grin that dominates a room.

it's about her spirit and her ability to put people at ease, no matter how thick the tension. it really is one of her natural talents.

and her ability to enjoy a cupcake.

for some reason on her first birthday, i felt wickedly compelled to have my own tradition with her because i think the second child sometimes gets the shaft on tradition and ends up taking what's 'left' i got out of bed in the middle of the night to make a secret batch of cupcakes and i vowed to wake up before her the next morning so that i could be in her room when she first stirred...and the rest is history.

call me mom of the year, but please don't call cps. each morning on her birthday, jay and i dine on a true breakfast of champions: cupcakes. that's how we roll.

as i've said many times before, she is such a free spirit with a true hippie heart. this is one of her favorite pictures of herself...and please don't assume that it was taken in october.

nope, just your run-of-the-mill march morning. she loves animals, and she loves fur. this is undoubtedly going to present a quandary of conflicts of interest down the road, and i will hold her hand through those as they present themselves. in the meantime, i figure that it isn't a bad thing to catch this smile as often as i can because that...combined with her eyes...well, there isn't much that combination can't fix in my world.

my nature girl loves all living things (trust me, i've tried to set limits here), and she still talks about our chickens (that we haven't had in three years) like they are her friends. she is also still baffled by the concept of buying them from the store instead of getting them off the grill on the back porch like laura ingalls wilder (minus the grill).

she is the most compassionate and empathetic little love bug i could have ever imagined, and she has a magical way of always keeping other people's feelings ahead of her own. i don't think that is something you can teach people...i think it is an amazing gift, and i can't wait to see how she uses that as she gets older.

there are so many amazing blessings she has that are so not easy for me to explain. her smile really has pulled me through some of my most difficult times, and her ability to size up a situation and know how to put you almost instantly at ease is honestly uncanny sometimes.

i have let myself spend hours at a time thinking about how i got lucky enough to be the mom of two amazing girls and wondering exactly what my role is in helping them prepare for the incredible roles and lives i know lie ahead of them.

every now and then, i get a tiny revelation, and it usually brings another entirely new round of questions. and that's what makes life fabulously interesting.

here's the last picture i have for you tonight...this is the look she gets on her face when she's either sizing up a situation or is about to tell you something really important.

i got this look earlier today. we were coming home from the grocery store, and she got 22 points from her heb buddy bucks. i said to her, 'that's pretty cool that you got 22. on your birthday, which is 2/2. because if you break 22 down, it comes out to 2 for february and 2 for the 2nd...'

(yes, i realize i'm a nerd)

and then she gives me the 'new' look and simply says, 'mom. it's called expanded notations.'

and that's where i still need a little more practice on figuring out what my role is in helping them prepare for the incredible roles and lives i know lie ahead of them. 

happy birthday to my sweet jay bird...and many, many more! being your mom is one of the most incredible honors i've ever had, and i promise you: i'm giving it my all.


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