Sunday, May 31, 2015

This sweet little combo was our savior last night!

3 drops of each mixed into a quarter-sized quick-pour of grape seed oil, rubbed onto our backs, shoulders, and legs...almost instant relief!

We went back to Wimberley for a bit today - it's amazing how much work was done yesterday! Today we got to go down closer to the river since the road had been reopened. I think this picture might help with better perspective - the windows you see in the house at the top of the picture...the water filled the house about half way up those windows.

From where the girls and I are standing for this picture, the water level was about 10 feet below us (the girls are facing the river in this picture).

Just crazy.

During the last two days, there were some things that just resonated with me more than others. Retirement plaques that just needed to be rinsed and cleaned - that hit me. Seeing the mattresses stacked on top of one another, up and down the street, gave me chills. Because I'm sentimental to my core, I think saving pictures from photo albums was really the most humbling for me. The girls (and their little friend Evie) worked tediously to take pictures out of several drenched albums. They laid them out on racks to dry. Once they were dry, they were put into a storage container and some will be sent off for restoration.

We were only able to stay for a couple of hours today, but by the end of the day, all of the things from their home were packed and ready to spend some quality time in storage.

I am so grateful for this experience - it really was incredible. The owner and I were talking - she has done so much mission work and she loves the feeling she gets from helping others. She said this was her turn to return that feeling to others - her time to be helped, her time to say thank you and make sandwiches for people, her time to embrace the feeling of appreciation that she has given to so many people in the past. What an amazing lady!

I hope everyone is able to rebuild. I hope everyone is able to decided if they want to stay or sell and move. I hope that it won't be much longer until all the families who are missing people are able to find peace and comfort.

150/365 - Wimberley

Saturday, May 30, 2015

We drove to Wimberley today to help with the clean up. To say we were unprepared for what we saw is an understatement. I'm so proud of the girls for jumping in ready and willing to help.

I was amazed by all of the volunteers who were there - I would guess there were 20-30 people at the house where we were besides us. The community is just amazing - people would stop by to drop off food and supplies - sandwiches, chips, fruit, tacos, cases of water, gloves, masks...

Everything from within the house had to be rinsed with water, wiped down, and then dunked in bleach. Some of the reclaimed wood was salvageable. If you look at the house in the background, you can see them starting to rip out all of the sheet rock and flooring. The house in the background was a couple of days behind the house we worked on - they had to wait to hear from their insurance adjuster to give them the go-ahead to start working on clearing out the house.

I took this picture about 15 feet down a hill from the house - it was probably another 20 feet to the bank. Last Saturday, the water filled about five feet of the main floor of the house. Across the bank, we could see just as many people working on a couple more houses that had been damaged.

A handful of very brave people went into the basement and scooped out buckets full of a sludge/sewer mix. After they did that, they started handing out recovered items through the basement windows. The girls' instincts kicked in when bottles of wine surfaced. :)

They worked SO hard, and they both begged to go back tomorrow to keep helping. I'm right there with them - the more hands, the better. Even in the midst of the destruction, the owner of the home smiled, joked, thanked everyone a million times, and kept us smiling...it was especially cool when she found her very first Christmas tree topper and the grill of an old Ford truck that she'd recently ordered - her enthusiasm about these small victories kept us all going. There's something about seeing so many people come together for a common cause that just gets me. Every. Single. Time.

And tonight, we shall sleep liked babies!

149/365 - Tweens

Friday, May 29, 2015

A change in the weather brought us a perfectly fantastic afternoon!

I trapped myself in my office for most of the day in order to meet a deadline. I finished the bulk of my work around 2, and I gave myself a quick break outside. The weather was absolutely perfect: warm, not hot; sunny, not overbearing; breezy, not windy.

I immediately decided dinner al fresco was in store for us. 

On our drive to the Fu, I became keenly aware that something had changed within the sound dynamic of our typical car rides. I realized we weren't talking and laughing and asking questions of each other. In place of our normal "volume," all I could hear was the slight, hollow thump of bass...a quick look around the car at a stoplight explained to me that both girls were totally into their phones, earbuds in place, listening to their own music.


Okay, fine. I took full advantage of the opportunity to turn my music up a smidge louder, and for the first time in a long time, I sang without anyone rolling their eyes at me or correcting me on my pitch or the words to the song (it all started with Jose Cuervo - I thought it was "Homesick werewolf, you are a friend of mine..."). 

I was happy and sad at the same time. 

My girls are growing up.

We're teetering on the angsty teen years. 

But we aren't there yet. 

We are so close, but we're not there yet. 

We walked into the Fu, all of us slightly thrown off by the awkward noisy silence of our car ride, and when it was our turn to be seated, the waitress asked if we wanted coloring pages. I cautiously looked at the girls, careful to make no sudden movements or direct eye contact, and they both enthusiastically accepted the offer for coloring pages and crayons. 

A tiny victory in the midst of pending angst, end of the kid years, transition to the teens. 

I will happily take this reprieve right now. 

Recently, I've found myself saying "You aren't strong enough to endure these next few years - you just aren't - you're too sensitive..." but deep down, I know I am plenty strong. Maybe it's just easier to believe I'm not strong enough. Maybe it's the superstition going back to when my mom yelled at me (times 20 to the power of infinity), "I hope one day you have a daughter, and SHE'S EXACTLY LIKE YOU!"

All things considered, I'd like to think I handled myself pretty well for a girl who pretty much raised herself all on her own from the age of 13. I was fortunate to have open invitations from friends during the big holidays, and I honestly fought some of the hardest circumstances I can imagine a kid having to face. Most importantly, I handled myself well enough to end a vicious cycle. 

The girls and I - we're teetering on the angsty teen years, but we aren't there...yet. 

When we get there, I will know that my mom's "curse" actually, thankfully, came true. My daughters will be almost exactly like me:
-they will be strong enough to bear the brunt of anything life presents to them;
-they will be wise enough to recognize unconditional love when they see it;
-they will be confident enough to know they have truck loads of family support that will literally carry them through anything life sends their way. 

I can see this strength in both of them. I am proud of myself for creating a strong foundation for them. I am thankful that I can focus solely on providing for them. I adore the twinkle in their eyes that says, "nothing can get in my way." I love when they tell me (or anyone) thank you because they recognize the leaders in their life and that it takes a village to create well-rounded people, and they appreciate those who contribute to their village. 

To summarize tonight, I love that we are somewhere in the middle of earbuds, tons of love, iPhones, a safe home, crayons, confidence, games I don't know, helpful and loving adults, familiar coloring pages, a world full of lessons the easy way (instead of the hard way), and a playground full of laughter. 

For today - and maybe forever, I wouldn't have it any other way. 

Oh - and we're now settled in and snuggled up with The Breakfast Club. 







Tomorrow, we will help Wimberley - I think we're emotionally prepared, but I could be wrong...


Thursday, May 28, 2015

I was having lunch with co-workers today in between the morning and afternoon sessions of a fabulous team meeting. When we arrived at our restaurant of choice, we realized it was already pretty crowded with men wearing white t-shirts that said, "TX-TF2 - US&R."

We later found out that this group of men numbering more than 50 had just arrived from Dallas. They were having lunch, and then they were heading to Wimberley to help with the flood clean up and rescue. I noticed they had a couple of dogs with them, and I realized what their bigger purpose was. 

Texas Task Force 2 - Urban Search and RescueI don't consider myself a particularly emotional person, but when it comes to tragedy and catastrophe, I'm not nearly as strong as I imagine myself. Reading about the work these men do got me a little bit weepy.

Pretty cool to see our whole state pulling together to help each other in a time of need. I'm so grateful for all the kind souls who have sacrificed their time with family to serve others in a time of need. 


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Cee drew this for me today.

I don't think I could love it more - maybe my most favorite ever!!

146/365 Hacked

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Hacked, by this freckle face.

Love those cinnamon sprinkles dotted across her face!


Monday, May 25, 2015

Today was a school day. In our district, it was a bad weather make up day. Attendance wasn't great, as expected.

However, there were some kids who had a horrible weekend due to the raining and flooding. They needed to talk. They needed to come back to something normal. I hate that so many people are suffering, and I'm hoping the worst of the raining and flooding is behind us now.

This picture pretty much sums up our feelings about school today and the weather for the last three days.

Thank you to all those who have sacrificed for our country, thank you to all the families who have sacrificed one of their own who were protecting our country, and thank you to those who continue to protect us and keep us safe.


Sunday, May 24, 2015

What a difference a day makes. Last night, most of Central Texas was completely pummeled with rain and record-breaking flooding. This is not my picture, but this pretty well sums up the tip of the iceberg of the damage received last night.

Less than 5 miles from where I went for Drake yesterday saw surges of over 20 feet of water. The interstate was partially underwater. People lost homes. People are missing family members.

I feel so fortunate that my little town was relatively unharmed by the damage. 10 miles west (Driftwood) was hit hard; 14 miles south (Kyle) was hit hard. 25 miles southwest-ish (Wimberley), where the girls went to summer camp, caught the brunt of the flooding.

Sometimes during a Mother Nature Mess like this, humor helps...

I'm gonna leave it to the Bloggess for today...


Saturday, May 23, 2015

Today marked two years from one of the worst things I can imagine happening...on a very personal level. Two years ago, we lost the brother of one of Jay's dearest friends. His mom, who I truly believe is Super Mom, has done a beautiful job of keeping his memory alive.

Today I was running a little late to his memorial, which is seriously out of character for me, and because of the crazy downpour, I missed it...but that sweet family was on my mind and in my heart all day long...all week long.

I had to stop on the side of the road because I honestly couldn't see with all the rain!! I was hoping to Go Fly a Kite for Drake today, but the weather dictated otherwise. As soon as it clears up, kites will be flown!

It's always heart-wrenching when a life is taken too early, and Drake's life is the epitome of that. He was such a talented kid with a genius mind, and the mark he left after twelve short years on earth is one I'll never forget.


Friday, May 22, 2015

It's nearly the end of the year. In many parts of Texas, students finished their last day today! As for me and my darlings (my biological children, the students in my school, and the teachers in my school - some of which are young enough to be my offspring), we will be in school until June 4.

The end of the year means tying up all the loose ends: end of year diagnostic tests, sharing out STAAR scores, informing students they might have to attend summer school, preparing yourself to miss that special group of students who "just get you," preparing yourself to send positive thoughts and vibes and karma and stuff to that special group of students who aren't at all excited about summer because school is their only safe place...their guaranteed two meals a day...their guaranteed hug of the day...their one solitary constant.

This year has been full of learning curves, discoveries, realizations, and reality checks for me. The last few weeks have been especially brutal, and I find myself looking back at that beginning of the year advice I gave myself in this blog post: You just can't make everybody happy.

Now that we're at the end of the year, here is my bigger realization: You can't make people happy who are content to be unhappy. Happiness is something you create for yourself; unhappiness is also something you create for yourself. Your actions toward and with other people are completely dependent on your own level of happiness.

My takeaway from this year, while maybe a little harsh, is this: if you aren't happy with yourself and you are bringing that into a world of students who need the nurturing guidance and support of capable adults, then maybe a world filled with kids and education and other teachers and the ups and downs of the middle years is not ideally suited for you. If you aren't gaining positive energy in some form or fashion from your work, you just might not be in the correct place.

None of us are in the business of education for the glamorous salary and benefits. We're in it because we care about generations of kids and their success and the mark they will leave on our country some day.

I'm going to watch a movie now, without giving this a second (or third) read, and I will come back and correct my mistakes after the movie.

And now I will gracefully step down from my soapbox of the week...

And for the record, I am truly thankful for this realization...

And for all of the rain this month...

And for all the cute puppies in the world...

And for full glasses of wine.

The end.

139-141/365 - Lessons Learned

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Not my best week.

Not my best week on many different levels, so let's take today to play catch-up.

Tuesday - Lesson learned for me: Make sure the girls close the pantry/trash door before leaving so sweet puppy doesn't a) devour all the goodies from the trash, and b) eat a disposed of and uncooked chicken breast (and part of the carton)...on your bed. I got home late, and this meant that I slept on the couch. No fun.

Wednesday - Lesson learned for Mae: Uncooked chicken will give you a horrible tummy ache for a couple of days. This will make for a very snuggle-y pup with a very sad disposition.

Thursday - Lesson learned: Mr. Gerdes and Mrs. Lusby are the best band directors EVER. I am so amazed at how they have motivated their students this year, and I am seriously impressed by the quality of the beginner band concert!! Just wow! Seeing how proud Cee was of their performance was the icing on the cake. Love seeing her stick it out with this incredible team!

Sorry for the lapse...good night.


Monday, May 18, 2015

Soccer tryouts - look who decided she wants to join the fun!


Sunday, May 17, 2015

What a floody, rainy, muggy weekend! We enjoyed every bit of it. I love how my girls can go from a little bit irreverent (bad angle on the light saber)...

...to style-show-photo-shoot.

They self-edited their photo shoot, but they didn't even need to. The originals melted my heart as much as these do.


Saturday, May 16, 2015

Not sure if this counts for "picture of the day," but I read this article earlier today and I'm still amazed by it. That's the thing about strong writing - it tells a story, paints a picture, and sticks with you for quite awhile. If you can find the time, this is well worth the read.


Friday, May 15, 2015

The last week (or six) has/have been really stressful, and I've been looking forward to my weekends more than usual. Yesterday, a big chunk of my stress was lifted when:
   a) I returned the very last of our STAAR materials to "the cave;"
   b) I returned my office to its normal {upright} position; and
   c) I got to use Clorox wipes on every square inch of my room!
What a huge sigh of relief! My cheese is, for the most part, back in its rightful place, and my feathers are at ease.

Therefore, I didn't expect the stress that came with this evening.

The news was yelling at me about the Amtrak crash and the Boston Marathon guy's death sentence and the impending horrible weather and that Bush brother, and all I wanted to do was cook a nice little dinner for my girls. Through no fault of their own, one of them decided that was the perfect time to put the metronome app on the highest volume and one of the faster speeds while the other one played me a concert of all the songs she learned this year.




With her recorder.

As loud as possible.

And the first one sang along...and the next thing I knew, I couldn't handle it anymore.

I immediately turned on the diffuser with this sweet combo:

Within a few minutes, we were all calm, cool, collected, full, and settled in for a movie. An acca-awesome movie at that. I seriously can't even begin to tell you how much these oils have done for our little family!


Thursday, May 14, 2015

Love watching these cuties play together!

Update 5/15/15: Sodium Nickel. 


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

My first lily bloom of the year...beautiful!


Tuesday, May 12, 2015




We are officially 3 testers and 2 days away from being completely done with STAAR testing for the year. Let me say, I am no more, but more accurately less, in love with Pearson than I was on April 21st.

Today was crazy.

Today was madness.

And then I got home and I found a box of oils on my porch!!

Let's just say that this combo would have been great today, and I feel fairly confident that this little combo will serve me well for the rest of the school year.

Right after I took this pic, I rubbed a couple of drops of Stress Away on my wrists and temples, and I diffused 3 drops of Joy for about 15 minutes. Within five minutes, I felt the stress of today rolling away. Yessssss!

And now I can enjoy my evening. :)

Need more oil info? Just let me know!


Monday, May 11, 2015

This little guy (aka the-most-photographed-pup-in-the-history-of-probably-ever) wasn't with me today.

I missed him.

A lot.

Looking forward to his return...


Sunday, May 10, 2015

I am quite seriously the luckiest mom in the whole wide world. These girls have made life a journey...one of the most incredible, amazing, life-changing, and fun journeys I could have ever wished for, and I can't wait for all the journeys ahead of us!!


Saturday, May 9, 2015

This hardly counts as a picture of the day, but I just ordered this and I can't wait for it to get here!!


Friday, May 8, 2015

It's Friday. 

This has been a crazy week. 

The girls are with their dad, and it's supposed to storm tonight. 

I'm in my coziest jammies with my favorite glass of wine. 

Looking forward to a night of mindless vegging.


Thursday, May 7, 2015

Amazing friends, giant tree, new leaves...


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

It's a rare weekday when I get one on one time with the girls.

Took Jay to the fancy charter buses for her first big field trip bright an early this morning...

Picked Cee up after school, and of course we had to have ourselves some ice cream...


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Happy Cinco de Mayo!!! Hope you celebrated, too.

Tomorrow is round 3 of STAAR testing. Ding, ding, ding...


Monday, May 4, 2015

It's Teacher Appreciation Week!! Be sure to thank a teacher this week - they work harder than anyone realizes.

Plus, breakfast tacos!!!! Woo hoo!!!


Sunday, May 3, 2015

Dropping like flies.

And puppies.


Saturday, May 2, 2015

Even the best laid plans...often go awry. But when it's because of a fierce fever, only one thing matters: getting better!

Poor Cee - she woke up feeling less than 100% Friday morning, and by this afternoon, she had a nice little fever brewing. I rubbed some Thieves oil on her neck and feet, and she's been asleep for 3 hours now. I'm hoping she wakes up feeling much better.

In the meantime, Jay and her four-legged side kick are busy learning lots of new tricks. We have "sit" down pat, and they've nearly mastered "circle" and "stay."

Have you heard about the age predictor website? I started seeing it on Instagram Friday, on FaceBook today, and I decided to give it a go. So...I'm a partial fan. :)

In all fairness, I tried one more picture after this one - it predicted I was 52. Not cool, How-Old. Not cool.

121/365 - Happy Friday and Happy Birthday!

Friday, May 1, 2015

What a day...what a week!!

Whoever said a relaxing dinner on a patio on a perfectly wonderful night wasn't worth anything was out of their mind.

Exactly what we needed tonight!

So, I mentioned the essential oils a few posts back. Thing One was feeling tired and Thing Two was feeling grumpy. I rubbed some oil blends on them - Gathering for Thing One and Citrus Fresh for Thing Two...instant mood lifters for both!

Also, I ordered this adorable oil bag from Red Fox Lane this week, and I can't get over the cuteness and functionality of this bag! In a few more minutes, I'll rub some Peace & Calming on the girls' feet and tuck them in to bed where they'll sleep soundly. Our essential oils have changed us for the better!

Want more info? Let me know!

Last, but certainly not least, we had a birthday celebration after dinner tonight!! Guess who turned two...

What a fabulous Friday - we are truly blessed.

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