It's Whirlwind Season

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Yesterday I realized I was officially a part of the ranks of "Whirlwind Season."

I didn't even realize it until it smacked me in the face.

I always dreaded the part of parenthood where one kid is doing this, the other kid is doing that, and then the first kid is also doing the other thing, and somewhere in between, parents have lives to maintain at some level beyond mediocrity.

Guess what. It's here. I imagine this is similar to how you prepare for disaster: you have no earthly idea what it's going to be like, you are armed with all requisite supplies, you baton down your hatches and you are ready for it when it arrives (whether intentionally or otherwise); by the time it actually hits, you're too busy to notice because you're readying your family for another round.

We made a chalkboard door a couple of months ago, and since its inception, it has hosted two birthday wish lists, two Christmas lists, and a bevy of grocery requests. It was meant to be a unifying piece of our home.

However, when I looked at it this afternoon, I had a mini-episode of realizing, "It happened. I'm the mom going 3 different directions all at once. And I survived round one!"

I love the way we were able to ease our way into a busy weekend. On Thursday, Jay and I took a stroll through St. Edwards University on our way to see Cee's jump rope performance. Jay had plenty of questions about how classes work, how dorms work, how much time you have to get ready, how parties work, and what happens if you don't feel good on a day you have class. On one hand, I was giddy to have this conversation with my nine year old, and on the other hand, a tiny part of me was protesting the fact that she is not going to live with me one day.

I may or may not have secretly plotted ways to keep her home for longer than necessary.

Cee had a great time that night...braiding her friends' hair and being a part of a truly fabulous Jump Rope performance with her team. Hats off to the coaches for all their hard work with these kids!!!

I am so happy that 3/4 of the grandparents were able to be a part of this was a busy one! Jay's last basketball game of the season was yesterday. Before her game started, she told me she was kind of sad because it was the last game and she hadn't scored any points yet. I told her there was only one way to fix that, and she smiled her fabulous smile at me. Then she played her heart out, scored two baskets, and sunk a free throw. Way to go, little one!!!

Cee had her first Destination Imagination competition after Jay's game, and her little troupe was just adorable. She was really nervous, but the huge fan base of family and friends helped. In the end, her team ended up earning 2nd place plus a Renaissance Award (bonus points for exceptional preparation, teamwork, creativity, design, and performance). To say she was excited is a major understatement! Her team will advance to State, and they will be working hard for the next six weeks to perfect their performance.

To finish things off, Cee played an indoor game this morning. I was too tired to get any pics of her playing, but I did get a cute shot of Jay and my handsome & fabulous nephews taking advantage of having lots of grandparents on their sweet tooth side...

I'm so glad my dad was able to make it down this weekend. I hadn't seen him since his heart attack in September. He looked better than ever, and I am inspired by how healthy he's getting. His stories are just the best, he always spoils us, and all three of us fight back tears each time we tell him goodbye.

We are at the "T Minus 10 School Days and Counting" mark for Spring Break. I can't wait for a week of much-needed R&R.

Seriously can't wait.

Peace (and sweet dreams)...


Saturday, February 15, 2014

V-Day, although entirely a Hallmark holiday, can seriously be the pits for the unattached in a way that I can't even begin to try to explain. I love it for Cee and Jay, but for me? Just blah. Blah, blah, blah. That's what I told myself over and over as I got ready yesterday morning. Blah, blah, blah.

Jen Hatmaker had a sweet Valentine for all those who don't have a Valentine of their own. Jenny Lawson also offered up some V-Day love, of which I was particularly fond.

I sent the girls off to school yesterday bedazzled from head to toe in various shades of pink, armed with a dozen Mason jars filled with candy and ribbons (and plenty of love) for their teachers, a couple of gallons of ice cream for parties, and at least a pound of candy each for them to share with their classmates.

You're welcome, other parents. Why do we do this to each other year after year? We know better...

Before nine yesterday morning, I had a small pile of candy on my desk and had been shyly asked by an adorable twelve year old if I would be his Valentine ("Of course I will. Happy Valentine's Day, Valentine!"). By the end of the day, my loot had grown to a respectable height, and by the time I got home, both girls were sugar-laden...and crashing (aka "the fun part").

They both looked deliriously adorable with giant kissy lips on their cheeks (courtesy of their P.E. teacher who, for as long as I can remember, has delivered Valentine cheek kisses to any kid who wants one). Apparently, she has an endless stock of red lipstick especially for the occasion, the line for a single cheek smooch is forever long, and every kid walks away grinning from ear to ear because they know this lady cares for them like crazy.

This is precisely what I love about small town life...we're still small enough that it's okay for a kid to ask his teacher to be his Valentine, it's still okay for one of the sweetest ladies in the world to kiss the cheeks of all her babies (whether their cheeks are sparkling clean, laced with a hardly-noticeable streak of blush {ahem, fifth grade girls...}, or a couple of days not-so-clean), and if your sub cancels on you an hour before it's your turn at jury duty, the court clerk still smiles through the phone and tells you she'll just mark you as excused right before she thanks you for teaching "our" kids and wishes you a wonderful day (true story).

And right after you get home with your youngest on Valentine's night (after dropping your oldest off with her grandparents for the weekend), you catch a picture of true, deep-souled, kindred spirit love.

That's when I began to realize that maybe this isn't such a horrible "made-up" holiday after all. Even if it isn't founded on anything in particular, it was seriously cool to see so many smiling, happy faces yesterday.

When I asked Jay what she loved the most about her day, she said, "Oh!! Hold on. I almost forgot something!!"

And she scampered off to her room, and quickly returned with this note to from her best little friend (who I already love to pieces - but she scored a zillion bonus points in my book after I read what she wrote):

And yes, that's a chunk of chocolate frosting on the right side.

When I say my girls have wonderful friends, this is precisely what I mean. Incredible, thoughtful, caring, well-spoken (and off-the-charts funny) little ladies!!

I'm going to have have to remind myself to come back to this post on February 13, 2015, so I can remember that Valentine's Day is all about perspective, and a positive perspective is the best approach.

I hope your Valentine's Day was wonderful, and I hope someone brought a smile to your face just like so many did to mine.


Clean Slate

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

A new year.

A new look for the blog.

A new goal.

It's time to reframe and view life through a freshly cleaned lens.

When I was younger, this simply meant it was time to move: jobs, cities, apartments...

Now I'm more familiar with this feeling of needing a fresh start, and I've figured out how to roll with it. I love my work. I love my town. I love my home, and I love, love, love my girls. It's time to make room for new things in my life, and it's time to bid farewell to old things in my life.

I'm totally ready for the new.

However, Jay turned nine last weekend.


I wasn't ready for that. How is it even possible that my youngest offspring is a mere 362 days away from double digits? I just don't have the answer.

Life has suddenly become very busy. Jump rope performances. Basketball practice and games. Two genres of soccer (indoor and outdoor). Destination Imagination for one, Student Council for the other. I'm ready to tackle these additions with everything I've got.

White seemed like an appropriate color for everything that's going on right now. Maybe I'll add some blog color soon; or, maybe I'll stay with white. I kinda like it.

Let's see where the wind carries us next. For nearly twenty-nine-plus-eleven years (don't you dare judge me), it hasn't steered me wrong.

Not even once.

Hold on tight - I'm sure the journey will be well worth the ride!


The Aftermath

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Is "advocation" a word? If not, I'd like to officially make it one, because there's something I am ready to wholeheartedly support.

There are some things that present themselves to you in life that you don't even know about until the timing is just right, and I encountered one of those things yesterday.

I have always been able to read people's demeanor in a matter of seconds, and when my co-worker walked through the doors of our wonderful school yesterday, I immediately knew something wasn't okay.

Let's back-track just a bit. Two weeks earlier, I knew she had jury duty. At the time, I didn't think much of it at all. The next day as I was watching the morning news, I saw that a high profile trial was beginning and the jury had been seated. A couple of days after that, I realized there was a 99.9% chance my co-worker was sitting on this jury.

For the record, I got my second jury summons of my life in the mail on January 16th, and to say I was excited about it is an extreme understatement. In hindsight, I am so relieved that my jury summons is simply for municipal court.

The trial my coworker sat through was horrific and awful, and I will spare you from the details other than to say that the jury convicted the accused to six consecutive life sentences. I am sure you can aptly draw your own conclusions based solely on that.

Here are the big questions I have now. How do you prepare yourself, as a citizen proud to do your civic duty, for something like that? And possibly more importantly, how do you put the pieces of your life back into some sort of resemblance of normal after going through something like that?

Honestly, I don't think there are any easy answers.

The ability to read someone so quickly is truly a double-edged sword. On one hand, I instantly know if something is bothering someone; however, on the other hand, sometimes there are no words that I can offer someone in an effort to identify with them and or put them at ease.

After talking with her yesterday, my eyes were opened to a whole new world. I know there are services for victims, but I wondered if there were also services for jurors who had just experienced a trauma of their own based on the evidence presented to them during a trial.

A quick Google search reaffirmed that the post-trial processing can be an extremely difficult time for jurors. After just a bit of research, it seems like legislation was proposed in 2012 to offer assistance to jurors for their traumatic experiences.

I don't know if this legislation was presented or whether or not it passed, but I do worry that if it is a piece of legislation, then it's possible only trials which meet a certain set of standards will will be eligible in offering jurors these services.

I also know that Travis County has a provision for post-trial juror support, but the provision lacks a source of funding.

This is gray area for me. I'm not really qualified to address it, but I am absolutely willing to advocate for it.

I would love to know what information you could share with me about post-trial juror support, what legislation might already be in place, and what we can do to further support people who abide by their civic duty, not knowing what the outcome might be.


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