3 things (and a couple more)...

Sunday, August 26, 2012

1) have you ever wished for a danny ocean marathon? last weekend ocean's 13 was on bravo, and last night it was ocean's 11's turn. neither of them (last weekend or last night) had a sequel or a prequel. why is that? and why isn't there an ocean's 14? i totally think there should be one.

2) i want savannah gutherie's wardrobe. is that too much to ask? and not even what she's worn, because she's much taller and thinner than me. maybe instead i want her personal shopper to be my personal shopper. there - that's slightly less demanding.

3) why is back-to-school week always so hectic? even when i plan ahead (menus, shopping, supplies, etc.), it never fails to completely bog me down. i guess my literature review for my impending non-thesis thesis proposal doesn't help...but i'm done with it!!

it's always hard putting the girls to bed the night before school...for several reasons. first of all, no matter how well i plan their gradually decending bedtime leading up to the first day of school, it's an imperfect plan. second of all, and this is the kicker, this is the first year they didn't get to attend 'meet the teacher night'.

needless to say, i had two nervous little pumpkins tonight. on one hand, i try my hardest to remember what it was like on the first day of school, but it isn't easy for me {because that was nearly thirty years ago}. i've never been a 'jump in the middle of a whole bunch of new people and see how it shakes out' kind of person. i'm more like the outlier who takes it all in and takes an extraordinarily long time deciding where and when to approach (which is kind of creepy when i say it like that - don't judge me!).

jay has the same teacher that cee had in 2nd grade, and i was kind of giddy when i realized this. however, she doesn't have any girls in her class from last year, so i can see where her anxieties lie. knowing jay like i know my jay, she can size people up in about three minutes, and she has a wickedly clever way of making new and dear friends with what seems to be very little effort. she's comfortable in her own skin, and that's how she presents herself.

cee has several friends in her class which she clearly sees as a bonus and i clearly see as a chance for her to get into the  chatty-patty brand of trouble. regardless, she is also comfortable in her own skin, she has her own way of catching people's attention, and she's loyal through and through. i have heard wonderful things about her teacher even though i don't know her, and there's always something great about the teacher-mom seal of approval that goes a long way with me.

i know this will be a great year for both girls!!

their lunches are packed, their outfits are laid out, breakfast is all but complete, and my non-thesis thesis literature review paper is done. i have given no thought to my outfit for tomorrow, and i'm perfectly okay with that right now.

it's time to crash so i can be ready to walk these smiling faces into their new classrooms in the morning to give them that final boost of confidence for a great day and a great year...and then i'll be ready to walk into my own classroom of smiling (i hope) faces tomorrow...

peace, and happy first day of school to you and yours (if that's applicable...and if not, then pretend i didn't write that part)!


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

tomorrow is one of my single, solitary, most favorite days of the entire year.

for the last five years, i've been able to facilitate our school's 6th grade orientation. obviously i love 6th graders because that's what grade i teach. even though most people look at me like i have lost my marbles when i tell them this, i feel like those people are generally misinformed about this age group.

they are adorable and pretty fantastic, and being able to welcome them to their new school is kinda cool.

another perk of this project is that i get to recruit a group of 8th graders to help me. there is something magical that happens to kids between their 7th grade and 8th grade year. i think it's called maturity...i can't be sure.

semantics aside, it is a completely new layer of greatness to get to teach them as 6th graders and work with them again as 8th grade leaders...which is exactly what i got to do with them yesterday. words really cannot do this scenario justice, but trust me...it's incredible!

i honestly think this is the best group i've ever worked with!! they get t-shirts as a thank you for their time and dedication (they give up two of their last days of summer), and i have the cutest picture of them in their new shirts.

i wish i could share it with you, but it would definitely not be a good idea to post pictures of teenagers on my blog who i cannot biologically claim as my own.

tomorrow will be day 2 of our time together...i've asked them to meet me at 7:15 (a.m. - that's early for them!) for our 'finishing touches,' and i'm so excited for tomorrow that i probably won't sleep much tonight.

so here's one of my most favorite quotes during this time of year:

'i don't even think there's such a thing as the perfect play. you have 11 guys between the ages of 18 and 22 trying to do something violent and fast together, usually in pain. someone is going to blow an assignment or do something that's not quite right.'
~ the lovely and talented mike leach

no, i don't work with 18-22 year olds; and no, i'm not a football coach (in case you needed clarification on that)...

but substitute 'play' for 'day', 11 for 150, 'guys' for 'kids', and '18 and 22' for '11 and 14'...and, well, i think you can follow my extended analogy.

things can get dicey with this age group of kiddos, but i'm not worried about my 8th grade leaders tomorrow because they are pretty phenomenal.

when i was working with them yesterday, one phrase kept coming to me:

human potential.

it's a great thing to see it in action, and it's an even greater thing to see it in action from kids who you've watched as they learned to navigate their way through a new school....to the point where they've got it figured out and they can take the reigns and lead a new group through the doors of a great school.

i'm ridiculously thankful that i get to be a part of it.

i still have a couple of things to knock out before i go to bed and stare at the ceiling, so until next time...

peace, extended analogies, and leachisms!

hello, fall - we're ready for you!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

fall is hands-down my most favorite time of the year, and today was filled with hints that it's just around the corner:
-it was overcast most of the morning, which...
-put me in the mood to cook a roast for dinner...
-all afternoon our house smelled delicious...
-by the time the roast was ready, football was on t.v.!!


yesterday we spent some time at the lake, and i feel like it's safe to say we hit a home run on bidding this summer a proper farewell...

i think this picture is the epitome of the difference between boys and girls. the little boy in the bottom left corner had a cast on his right arm. once i saw his stunts, there was no question in my mind how he broke it. :)

tomorrow i go back to school, and the girls will be away with family for their last full week of summer.

i have a childhood friend who has the most positive outlook on life, and it always inspires me to see her 'back to school posts' on facebook (she's a teacher). this year's said:

'the new school year starts for me today. i will miss my babies dearly but i am so thankful (and a bit spoiled) to have the summers off with them. here's to another great year where i am blessed to get to do something i love to do!'

it's easy to get lost in our summers, but her glass-half-full perspective on life reminds me that i'm beyond lucky to have so much time in the summers with the girls (and the pool), and during the school year i'm beyond lucky to do what i love with wonderful, hilarious people.

whenever i know i'm going to be away from the girls for awhile, it means a lot to me to have as much fun as we can possibly squeeze in before they leave. tonight was no exception.

i'm looking forward to getting back in the swing of things this week, to making new work friends, and to meeting a new group of sixth graders. i hope cee and jay have an awesome final week...i think they'll be happy to get back in the school year groove, too. but i'm going to miss these smiling faces (sans tissue) for the next five days!!

and just so you know, it took about five minutes to catch this picture...those things fly out of their noses when they're laughing. fun mission? accomplished. :)

as for fall, i wish it would go ahead and hurry up. here's one of my most favorite movie lines from one of my most favorite movies...

'don't you love new york in the fall? it makes me want to buy school supplies. i would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if i knew your name and address."
~ joe fox (f. o. x.)

which reminds me: i have a new york post brewing. i feel like my soul needs a soothing trip to the big apple sometime soon...

in the meantime, peace.

how did i get here?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

how did i get here?

those are five words that can pack a lot of punch.

i remember thinking those words when i realized that i'd be moving out of what i thought was my dream house and into a new house of my own.

i was the type of person who meant forever when i said, 'i do.'

i never thought i'd be divorced at 34.

i never thought i'd be a single mom.

i never thought i'd be making the decision to buy a house in a neighborhood i wasn't crazy about.

they're probably words plenty of people have running through their minds on a pretty regular basis.

it's been almost fours year since i woke up and realized that my life wasn't going to land squarely in the middle of the 'here' that i'd always imagined.

tonight, those words ran through my mind again as i patted the girls to sleep (yes, i still pat them).

but they didn't run through my mind in the punched-in-the-gut, is-this-really-happening kind of way that they used to run through me.

tonight, they ran through me in a very beautiful and profound way.

they were a breath of fresh air.

a few months ago, i was talking with some of my very dearest friends about what it means to designate something as 'home'. we were divided into two groups: some of us felt like it was where you grew up and where your memories were rooted, and some of us felt like it was where ever your family was because your family was the root of the memories, regardless of location.

i fell into the first group; but tonight, i switched allegiances.

when i was putting cee and jay to sleep tonight, i realized that even though our house isn't in any of the neighborhoods i wanted to live in (it was actually on my 'not-a-chance-in-hell' list), the neighborhood isn't what matters. what matters is what's on the inside of the house.

and that's when i realized we have built a home for ourselves...the girls have made our house a home.

cee has carved out her own little niche of a living space with her tender heart and her happy soul, and i love it when i find her curled up in her bed reading...

jay has done exactly the same in her own save-the-world-one-step-at-a-time way, and i'm more likely than not to find her in there organizing (even though it is already organized to a 't')...one day when she runs the world, it will most likely be alphabetized and color-coded.

all of this is their doing, not mine. they really have turned this house that i wasn't crazy about into a home that we love. dearly.

do all three of us want more? of course...we're human.

they want two stories, and they want a house that has no livestock restrictions (go figure).

i want a bigger kitchen with an island and a huge backyard.  and a mud room. and tax exemptions.

will we have some of that one day? i hope.

will that make what we have more of a home? i doubt it.

i realized tonight that no matter the details of how we get to where we are, there is one constant (and i apologize for sounding cliche): home is where the heart is, and it's a place you're always welcomed with open arms, regardless of the circumstances.

our hearts are right here, and we are very lucky and blessed to have what we have...each other!!

we are each equally part of what makes this a very, very sweet home.

a big piece of the age-old, five-word question was answered for me tonight.

how did i get here?

i got here because this is an intentional part of our journey, and no matter where the road takes us, we're going to make it awesome.

and it will probably be pink in the process. :)


rave reviews

Sunday, August 12, 2012

i think awareness of my frame of mind is essential to the success (or failure) of anything i start.

with that said, mama o (whose 'about me' is way beyond stellar) sent me a text a couple of weeks ago with a picture of a book cover and the words,

'go get this on your kindle. right now.'

because she's mama o and because she always knows, i did exactly what she said.

the cover made me wax nostalgic about my timberland hiking boots that i wore almost every day during my first two years of college, and even though i downloaded it within minutes of the text, i couldn't get my mind in the right place to start a new book...until last night.

now i can't put it down, and i'm having trouble focusing on other things. it's so, so good!

before i dove into the book, there was something else that was really taking a lot of my time: a new website i found (and when i say new, i obviously mean new to me because i'm rarely cool enough to know about 'new' when it's actually new)...

it's called houzz.

it's pretty groovy, and if you have a few hours to kill by way of looking at all things related to home remodeling and redesigning, this is really going to float your boat!

in a very strange way, playing around on this website has made me reassess some of my goals...funny how that happens, right?

there's another book i'm looking forward to reading next month - it hits the stands on september 4. ever heard of the happiness project? well, she has a new book coming out called happier at home. i am so excited for its release! 

alright - summer is winding down, and tomorrow starts two things:
1) our last week of summer 2012, and 2) my second-to-last class in grad school!! summer's end is always a little bittersweet, but at the same time, i'm looking forward to getting back into our school year routine.

in the meantime, back to reading i go...you should check out wild if you're in need of a good book!


unexpected aftermath

Thursday, August 9, 2012

i try to be on top of what the girls watch on tv, and i am extremely picky about what they are and are not allowed to watch. with that said, i'm not perfect. sometimes i slip or stumble, and i've even had a couple of face plants.

one of those face plants might have happened last night...

last night we watched toddlers and tiaras on tlc, which is usually filled with teachable moments (and is always dependable for its high level of quality entertainment). we usually have some memorable conversations while we watch. last night we did not have memorable conversations, primarily because we were rendered speechless.

the unexpected aftermath of this seemingly harmless endeavor was two-fold:

1. i did not know this toddlers and tiaras episode was the springboard for tlc's new series here comes honey boo boo.

honestly, the name alone should be a good stopping point, but i feel like you need me to elaborate (you're welcome). honey boo boo is a six-year-old girl from georgia who is sassier than my children could ever imagine being, even in their wildest dreams.

although it's a tough crowd, honey boo boo is not quite as polished as some of the other contestants who are typically featured on toddlers and tiaras...she introduces one of her sisters as 'the fattest' and a subsequent sister as 'the pregnant-est' (this sister, who was 17, later participated in a mud-diving contest in...wait for it...the redneck games). there was one more sister who, as her family cheered her on, bobbed for pigs' feet (raw ones) in the aforementioned redneck games.

i'm all about mindless tv, but i think honey boo boo (et all) are way beyond my level of tolerance. 

i could go on and on because it was that spectacularly astonishing, but i'll stop...for now...because there is one more thing that i didn't see coming.

2. remember the conjoined twins abby and brittany? well, they've garnered a show on tlc as well. therefore, when we were watching the honey boo boo debacle, we were inundated with previews about their new show.

now, i've always had a soft place in my heart for that family (thank you, harpo studios). i feel like in one way or another, america has kind of been allowed to follow them as they've grown up. i have enjoyed watching because i think it's a very remarkable story.

the girls, on the other hand, had never heard of them, and they were mesmerized when the first preview aired.

mes. mer. ized.

and let me just tell you, they had the most random array of questions and comments as soon as the previews were over....

cee (who is always full of questions): when they go for hair cuts, does their mom pay for one or two? how do they agree on a color for finger nail polish? when they have to go to the bathroom, do they need privacy? do they get to eat two times more sugar in a day? do they both have to brush their teeth twice a day? can they read each other's mind? if they won a medal in the olympics, would it count as a tie or would the older one get the better medal? do they each have a best friend or do they share one? if they score a goal in soccer, who gets credit because only one person can score a goal?

i was pretty quiet during the rapid fire stage of her questions because i didn't really have answers, and i didn't really want to say, 'we'll have to watch to find out!!'

and then my second child posed something that would have never occurred to me.

jay: i bet they can plag tag really easily...it would be like:
'you're it!' 
'no, you're it!' 
'no, you're it!'
'no, you're it!' 
'no, you're it!'
'no, you're it!' 
'no, you're it!'
and they don't even have to run...well, actually i bet that gets pretty boring. 

and then honey boo boo came back on and we resumed the business of watching a family we don't know as they butchered, processed, and ate a deer they found {dead} on the side of the road, and we continued watching as they went to a food auction and bid on nearly-expired bulk food products...all in an effort to put more money towards a tiny blonde child's future in deep-south, full-glitz pageant competitions...

i found myself feeling infinitely thankful for everything we have, from social graces to grocery money to a full grasp of standard english to all of our teeth (well, except for jay, but that's just because she's lost several teeth this summer...i've been assured she has permanent ones waiting to fill in the gaps)...

so, yeah. thank you, tlc, for enlightening my family in your own, special, empathy-inducing way. thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

peace and pageants...

captured moments and fresh starts

Sunday, August 5, 2012

the girls and i spent the weekend in houston with a very dear friend who was a wonderful hostess to us. her little girl is almost three, but she talks like she's about six (seriously), and she's as cute as a button! it was so fun/funny to watch them play.

because i haven't spent enough money at the dentist this summer, coupled with the fact that i'm a glutton for punishment, we took them to dylan's candy bar yesterday for a treat...talk about kids in a candy store!

i saw a different side of cee this weekend - she is such a natural mother hen. she is so ready to babysit, and i think she saw this as an opportunity to prove her worthiness to me! yesterday morning, she had the little pea up, dressed, teeth brushed, breakfast eaten, face and hands cleaned off before i was even fully awake. and last night there was some serious bedtime story reading.

jay loves animals with her entire heart, which is pretty much how i was at her age. i was famous notorious for bringing home every stray i saw, and jay definitely has that gene in her. she always gets a little misty when we drop browning off at the kennel, and she worries about him while we're gone (even though he gets daily walks, pool access, and spa treatments).

when she saw m-dog, all was right in her world again...until this morning when she had to say her good-byes to her fuzzy friend. if he were slightly smaller, i would have checked her suitcase to make sure she didn't pack him.

we had a great time with a super sweet family...it's always good to catch up - thank you!!

we were all extra tired tonight...i was so tired that i dropped our entire rotisserie chicken on the floor, and i couldn't morally justify the 10 second rule since we'd been gone all weekend. therefore, i decided a trip to salt lick was in order. what i didn't factor in was exactly how tired they were. i really overestimated their energy level before we left, and they both fell asleep at the table (which hasn't happened in years)!

now, i have a confession to make to you.

i was well on my way to crossing something off my life list: blog at least twice a week for a year. this week, i completely missed that mark, and this post is a new beginning on my quest to hit that goal. i guess that's why it's called a life list: it might take a life time for me to accomplish! :)

but i realized today that sometimes you have to let life do its thing. making memories that will last a life time is one of those things that life does from time to time, and we should really embrace those the most, don't you think?

so - scene one, take two: here we go, and cheers to fresh starts!!


p.s. - i am strangely addicted to the olympics, and it's causing me to lose quality time with anderson cooper...something's gotta give.

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