coffee at 8:30

Those were our plans for a girls night out. Our friends were in town from out of state.....and the boys have evenings of movies and video gaming planned we wanted a night of our own. Last year we hit pirahna and then next door for some great wall of chocolate for dessert. We were all dressed up and had a fun evening of laughing and talking and maybe even a few shots.
This year -- 2 of us were knocked up -- so the evening plans were tamed down.
I was disapointed. I like good coffee and conversation more than the average girl but.........I don't get a fun night out very often and well I had more in mind than a cup of coffee.
The evening began w/ 2 very dull and tired girls picking out a baby gift. I was already getting tired and we hadn't even made it to the coffee shop.
None of us went decaf. I think this was our downfall. Too much caffeine, no babies to tuck in and we all went wild. Or at least I did. I mentioned the posability of a tattoo and within minutes we were all packed nicely in a minivan. I think tattoos get a bad wrap. I mean, if I am ever in an explosion or plane crash -- my body will easily be identified. I was surprised that one of my friends new so many locations. We pulled up and walked into the place. I was starting to second guess things. A kid no where near 18 was getting something drawn on his back. As the "artist" wiped the blood off his back he informed me that he was booked for the evening and suggested I make an appointment for the morning. We made our exit. The morning is no time for tattoos. It didn't take more that a few miles down the road before hitting tattoo parlor #2. A tatooed and pierced man sucking on his cigarette laughed at us and we pulled up in the minivan and 5 middle aged moms ( 2 obviously expecting) piled out. We were the only ones in the place, well besides Bertha -- a big scary python who did not like her picture taken. The guy was not at all amused with us. He must have thought I was drunk ( only on caffeine I promise)......becuase I was particuarly obnoxious. As we waited on him to draw out the pattern we talked about normal tatoo parolor things such as baby names, birth plans and potty training. We flipped through his album, admiring his artwork until we got to the last page with peircings. I screamed and covered up the hoo-ha .....and said, "I don't think I have ever seen one of those up close before". He about fell over.
Shortly there after the tattooing began. I am no newbie. I actually have 2 others, but was still pretty scared. I am not a fan of needles or blood or big scary guys that I could fit at least a few fingers through their ear hole. As he worked on my back Steph held my hand and I tried not to wiggle. That is until Holly said "this was the most excitement she has had in a year and was going to go home and write it in her journal." Technically that is what I am doing right now, but I pictured her sitting on a daybed with lots of pillows and stuffed animals writing in a diary with hello kitty or something on the front. "dear I went to a tattoo parlor" the mental picture was too funny. He quickly finished. I had planned on the whole thing being white -- but I liked just the outline better and everyone else agreed ( or maybe they just wanted out of that scary place). Eric then wrapped me in saran wrap and then began his after care instruction speal. He was very serious and I was so not. He asked if we would be up late, and I told him that this was already 2 hours past my usual bed time. He started talking about when I could take off the bandages and I responded with " and when you say bandages you mean saran wrap"....he then went on a speal about how saran wrap was such a good treatmenet ( really at least 5 minutes on the merits of saran wrap). It all sounded very technical and medical and so at his conclusion I asked if he could come speak to my 9th grade preAP biology class. He was not amused. I quickly paid him asked him to take our photo and then we all piled back into the minivan. High on adrenallin, coffee, and a bit of pain we celebrated the new tat with a drink at a swanky new underground jazz club in sundance sqaure. At this swanky club we had very hip conversations about what food to serve at the baby shower next week and made babysitter arrangements. And let me tell you, everyone was eyeing our hoodies, crocs and fleece with jealousy. They wished they could shed their smoking jackets and classy black tops for our comfort. The saran wrap started to get a little sweaty. We started to get tired and we decided to head back to our normal lives.....well not without getting milk for O on the way home first. Tomorrow if anyone asks me to go get coffee........I think I might order decaf.

tattoo has 2 ts...well 3 actually

Meet Eric......who was so not amused with us....and when I say us I mean me.
Steph, the pro who knows all the names of people on Miami Ink ....was nice enough to hold my hand.
Starting to get a little scared before we begin!
So different from last year's girl's night out picture ;)
The minivan that brought us here.........the guy was actually laughing when we pulled up.
The finished product. you have to image all the red puffiness as just plain white. I was going for subtle.

to jalisa

I am thankful that it is not your picture I keep seeing on the news. Don't get me wrong I am very sad for Lasharon's family. But, I don't know her. She isn't in my 7th period class. She isn't why my stomach fell after they announced that there had been a wreck and asked us to pray and that you didn't ever come back from lunch. She doesn't sit on the 4th row, 3rd chair back. But you were both in that car they found wrapped around a tree. She didn't fall asleep during the notes last week. She didn't come in for tutorials yesterday. She didn't tell me about her dreams to go to NYU and be a pediatrician. You did. And although something terrible and horrible happened to you today, soon you will be back in the 4th row. Your world isn't going to back to normal maybe ever. Your world has been turned upside down. But your world is still here. In my 7th period class. Struggling to understand protein synthesis. A chance to fulfill some of those lofty dreams. Who cares about protein synthesis anyways. My stomach is still in knots -- becuase there really isn't any word on those other 4 girls. Just the one. The one that had all the grown ups red eyed and weepy and the students in disbelief. Most of us have been down this road before. This is part of the job we hate the most. These are the days where I want to throw up in every trash can I walk past. These are the days I question the goodness of God. Tomorrow is going to be even worse but knowing that you will be back...mabye not tomorrow...but someday...makes it easier to face.

reflections on advent

so did i mention i wrote a book....with some friends of course. it is an advent devotional.....i meant to mail a hard copy to a few of you.....but i avoid the post office like the plague this time of year. you are already a week behind.

tree toppers

Tonight we decorated the tree. I only kind of like this part. I like the idea of decorating. Hanging ornaments, hot chocolate, overall spreading good cheer. That ideallic picture was smashed even before getting everything out of the attic. A broken coffee pot and one fight later we had everything down. Fight quickly forgotten as Owen was climbing all over the reindeer ( or as he called them giraffes) and loved that there was actually a tree in the house. Shaun helped O put the star on top and I stopped him midstretch.
"Wait, hold that moment -- let me get the camera". It was too cute with O's little superman underoos showing.
TiVo has me spoiled. Sometimes I catch myself wanting to pause or rewind the radio. Just for a minute I wanted to do the same with real life.
I found some shoes and my car keys and went searching for the camera.
No luck.
Back inside, one more rummage through the purse. Still empty handed.
O was looking longingly at the tree wondering why he couldn't put the star on top just yet.
Finally Shaun found the camera (in about 30 seconds) for me and we tried again.
We captured the moment.
It was really just a replay of the moment about 10 minutes before. This time slightly less candid.
The picture I guess looks the same, but it still reminds me that we can't go back. We can't replay. And if we aren't careful we will miss it.

home sweet home

usually after a trip i can't wait to get home.
after 5 days with my inlaws that couldn't be more true.
don't get me wrong. my inlaws are great and in many ways much more sane than my own family. however, things start to get a little crowded after day 4. the twin beds in shaun's old room don't help.
almost 6 hours in a car with a small child and dog later i was eager to unlock that door.
we quickly piled into our own bed, checked the tivo and discussed what toppings for the pizza we were about to order.
i was ready to be home, just not ready to be back to reality.
out of cat food. ughh. going to the store in the cold drizzle after being in the rain was the last thing i wanted to do.
i did.
then i get home and realized we were also out of milk. damn.
then i rumaged through the mail. turns out i forgot to pay the water bill. they were threatening to turn it off ......uhm 3days ago. quick check and the sink turns on. Must go drop off the check in the night drop, hoping they will process it before shutting off my water.
pizza guy is here. suprise they don't take checks or credit cards.
neighbor comes through in a pinch and lends us some cash.
i scarf down thin crust hamburger and green olive pizza that even the mysterious odor coming from the kitchen can't ruin.
next commercial and i'll tackle the things growing in the fridge.
did i mention grades are due in the morning.......
welcome home.

posed part II.

Here is a sneak peak from the shoot this morning. Check out my friend Rhonda: http://www.snapshotsonlocation/. She is a deal and can work with even the most difficult child. ( don't ask me how i know that!)


One of my friends recently got into the photography business. I have capitialzed on the oppertunity for my family and particuarly my son to be her learning subjects. The above pics are from her last shoot. She has gotten really good and invested in some top of the line equipment.

This morning she came over to shoot my Christmas card photos. Usually that job falls to who ever is around when the tree is up and we are all in clean clothes ( and never this early in the season).

I had it all planned out in my head. My favoite place for everyone in the family to be......the bed. We were all in Christmasy pajamas and I had very convincing props. Crisp white sheets, coffee cups, the morning paper, books, and stuffed animals. I wanted the pictures to display all the warmth and life that I feel in my family. I had images in my head of O jumping on the bed, a pillow fight, reading the paper all with the dog curled happily at the foot of the bed. I haven't seen the photos yet. And she swears she got some good ones, but the shoot felt like a disaster. Really, it even began with a small fire. I lit a candle on one of the bed sides tables and slipped out of the room to get something. Shaun, Rhonda and Owen were just hanging out doing their own thing -- but when I walked back in I saw the pillow case on fire. We aired out the room, tucked away that pillow case and kept shooting. O mainly looked in the opposite direction, he whined. I think he was afraid it was bedtime. When we let the dog was really chaotic. I am all for chaos and think it brings many photo oppertunites......but these were all the wrong way.

My next good idea was to take a picture in sweaters, winter hats and scarves. Let me mention that it is like 80 degrees outside and O still has hat issues from his helmet days. As soon as we get outside Shaun immediately gets sneezy, O rips off his hat and takes off for the swingset and my heart sinks that these photos aren't going to turn out either. The truth is -- I bet they are great. Even better than I imagined. Yet I was left feeling disappointed because things didn't quite go like they looked in my head.

Often I feel that way. When I try to stage life. Plan it out. Make it look like something that mabye it isn't. Expectations always seem to get in the way. 2 year olds and dogs do not cooperate. But my real life, not the one in my head, or the one in my photographs is better than anything I could have pictured.

pushing 30 at the House of Blues

Friday night me and Shaun had tickets at the House of Blues. Tegan and Sara. ( they are awesome and you should totally check them out if you are into 2 hip twins from canada -- they almost make up for canada's other 2 musical blemishes: shania twain and celene dion).

The night was fun and amazing but full of not so gentle reminders of my age.

1. The show started at 9. as in pm. as in very close to the time i am usually in bed. also that was just the opening act ( northern state who totallly should also check them out...kind of a female version of the beastie boys).

2. What to wear? the House of Blues is a little bit hip. I don't think Ann Taylor Loft counts as hip. I couldn't find one single pair of jeans in my closet with holes in them. paint yes, but holes no. When did i get so grown up that my clothes actually look new when I buy them.

3. Getting ready for my night on the town also included laying out pjs, diapers and leaving insturctions for the babysitter.

4. I seriously considered valet parking. 12$. Used to be I would walk a mile to save 2$ in parking. We settled for the close by gravel lot for 10$.

5. Apparently the word was out about Tegan and Sara and the place was completely packed. Me and Shaun didn't do our research so we did not know that T&S are very popular with the girl crowd. As in the all girl crowd. This wasn't necessarily a negative for us ( hey -- we have been to Ani difranco!).....just a surprise. I was suddenly a bit self consious about my hetero-ness. My first thought was, "damn - I bet there will be a really long line in the women's bathroom".

6. I was very annoyed with the smoke. the HOB is smoke free but there smoking porch is right where you walk in. I have never been a smoker....but i used to have a slight affinity for party smell. Tonight I just held my breathe and took a shower when I got home.

7. The bouncer looked over the couple in front of mine's ids. He asked ?s about birthdays and everything. When he got to mine, he barely even looked at.

8. I kept looking at my watch. The show was amazing, but babysitters charge by the hour and it was way way past my bedtime.

9. Three beers was apparently 2 too many. My head pounded in the morning and my stomach didn't feel very reliable.

10. The worst reminder was there was no sleeping in after a fun night out. O woke up ready to go at 6:20. Let the potty training commence.

5 things

I'll admit it. I'm still a Grey's fan. I like the mess that is Meredith Grey and all those hot doctors don't hurt either. I don't particuarly like the way have portrayed marriage.......but I still TiVo it and look forward to my Thursday nights.

If you don't watch let me give you a quick summary of part of last week's episode. First a little background: Meredith has a step sister who has suddenly appeared this season. This step sister was never part of her life. It was the life and family her father chose over her. Her step sister keeps trying to connect with Mer -- but she keeps pushing her away and is often downright mean. In this episode a woman comes in with a small child that is injured. The baby turns out to be ok, but the mom is in critical condition. The dad doesn't know what to do. They had just adopted the baby and hadn't even given her a name yet.......and now it looks like the mom won't make it. The dad wants to give the baby back. He is afraid he can't do it without his wife. She is just a baby and hasn't quite connected with her yet. He lists just a few things he knows about her. How to comfort her, etc. Meredith explains that he knows 5 things about her that know one else knows and that it is alot. His wife ends up dying and he ends up keeping the baby. It all seems to go back to that conversation and those 5 things. A few scences later -- Meredith's step sister walks up to her and rambles off 5 ridiculous things about herself...she is a great etchasketch drawer, used to play trombone, etc. And then she says this" That's 5 things, 5 things that will hopefully make it harder for you to hate me." They don't hug or cry or resolve any issues.......but it does leave the audience with a bit of hope for their relationship.

It is so true. Here are 5 ridiculous things about me....

1. I like my showers scalding hot

2. I am addicted to dance dance revolution ( it is a video game if you don't know).

3. I had the biggest crush on Kevin ( fred savage) from the wonder years back in middle school. I might have even kissed the tv.

4. I had a reputation for being the biggest klutz in school. All my year books are filled with sayings like "stay trippin"

5. I can't pee if I think people can hear me.

I am probably going to misquote this, but Larry Crabb wrote a book called inside out. There is a line on the first page that have remembered clearly. It really hit home when I read the first time. " Most people's biggest fear is that if people knew them, really knew them, they wouldn't like them." So we spend all this time guarding who we are. Only letting out little pieces tentatively a time. When I meet new people -- I don't automatically think they are going to like me. I am careful with my words and how much I let them see.
The truth is....the opposite of that is more true. Think about when you get to know a new friend or first started dating someone. The more you learned about them ... the more you loved them. I love that I know that shaun's legs twitch as he falls asleep. I love that I know my sons favorite toys, cartoons and foods. I love that I know what he wants sometimes without him even saying it. I love that I know my friend's coffee orders, even the really complicated ones.

It is hard to reject someone that is being that vulnerable. It is hard not to love that boldness. I'm not saying everyone who meets us will be our new best friend. They won't. Even if we give them 5 things. But if we let people see more, if we look for more in them -- more often than not we will be harder to hate.

So what's your 5?

god made dirt, so dirt don't hurt.

Yesterady we took Owen to the Tech/Baylor football game. The weather was amazing and he is still small enough that we don't have to buy a ticket. One of my favorite old friends was in TX and just a row behind us...which meant I spent most of the game catching up with her.......and ignoring the game ( come on it was baylor)...and my son. Owen was entertaining himself nicely feeding his dinosaur crackers, drinking all my "juice" (soda he shouldn't have) and throwing the nerf football we packed at some unsuspecting neighbors. After several quarters of entertaining himself, the sun started to get to him and he laid down on the concrete riser. This was gross I know, but I let him. He got a little dirty, he ate some popcorn off the ground ( i did try to stop that)and seriously eyed some chewed up gum stuck to the bottom of a bleacher. The two cute women in front of me kept looking me back and giving me dirty looks. He was not disrupting them in any way, they were just shocked that I was allowing him to lay on the ground like that. The looks were far nastier than any germ my son was picking up off the ground.
The cover story for this week's Newsweek is about the drastic rise in food allergies. I am not allowed to send Owen to school with anything that was even near a peanut becuase someone in his class has a severe allergry. The throat closing up kind. Now, when you introduce new foods to a baby you are supposed to do them one at a time for an entire week. I tried. I did cereal and sweet potatoes and carrots and squash according to the rules. Then I quit and fed him whatever. He didn't quite make it to his first birthday before his first peanut butter sandwhich ( they tell you to wait until they are 2 now). His face did turn all red and blotchy once after eating cinnamon apple oatmeal. I called the dr. panicked on a Saturday morning -- afraid his throat would swell shut next and that we would need to rush him to the ER. Turns out the cinamon just irritated his skin. No allergy, just an irritant. Now, I am not saying allergies are nonsense. I get 2 allergy shots every week and am miserable if I don't. Owen gets an almost daily dose of Claritin ( right after we give him his inhaler). Allergies are real and a total pain in the ass. Newsweek went so far as to say this giant rise in food allergies, particualry the extreme allergies are due to being too clean. We don't let them eat something that fell on the floor. We wash off the pacifier before popping back in their mouth ( or atleast we feel like we should). We wipe them down with Purell after they play in the mall toddler play area. We cover their shopping cart seats, and high chairs. The theory is that our immune system is bored. It isn't fighting off all the usual suspects because all the antibacterial soaps are doing it for them. Every fever or runny nose is treated with antibiotics even if it isn't bacterial. Our immune system doesn't know what to do so it starts attacking perfectly harmless things like peanuts or eggs.
Ask any teenager why they did something stupid. If you get any answer out of them at all, it will most likely be something along the lines of "I don't know, I was bored.....I guess" Bored is bad. Nothing is more dangerous than if we become complacent with our relationship with God. If we let that get boring -- we are guarenteed attack on things that were seemingly harmless before.
To be honest my son gets sick a lot. We have been to the ER, we have called poison control, me and Shaun have played rock paper scissors to see who has to stay home with him. I have been puked on twice in the last week alone. Maybe I should be breaking out the antibacterial wipes a little more often, but I am not. I want my son to be strong and ready for the world. He is going to get dirty, he might even get sick, but I pray that he is never bored with who God is. I pray that his little immune system and his heart will be ready when the real culprits appear. Until then, bring on the mud pies.

not so good Friday

Most of Friday night was spent in the ER of Children’s Medical City in Dallas. Owen was wheezing again…..and the inhaler (yes he already has an inhaler) wasn’t doing the trick. A little before 3 am, almost 6 hours and 4 rounds of oxygen later, we finally got to go home. This wasn’t Owen’s first trip to get oxygen – but it was the first time in a full fledge emergency room. I watch lots of medical shows….House and Grey’s……and it didn’t feel anything like that. My resident wasn’t Meridith Grey, there was no McDreamy or grumpy man with a cane. Just a kid struggling to breathe. My kid. There were moments that I wanted to cry. I was scared. Owen was getting worse and I couldn’t fix it. I knew in the back of my mind that he would be ok. It was just asthma. A few breathing treatments and some steroids and we would eventually get to go home. Some kids don’t have that luxury. But I still wanted to cry. I kept having to tell myself not to think about it, to just keep going. The hours ticked by and we befriended the other patients around us. Any time there was a lull and my tired mind got to wander……I had to tell it not to think. He was hooked up to a monitor that gave his oxygen saturation ( which is actually what kept as at the hospital so long – it has to be over 92 to go home and O’s never stabilized above that but by 3 am we voted on going home rather than spending the night in that recliner.) and his heart rate. His oxygen was too low and his heart rate too high. At some points I couldn’t watch it. Those numbers not where they were supposed to be scared me. Owen was happy enough watching Happy Feet in Spanish, but I was secretly glad those monitors weren’t hooked up to me. My heart rate would have set off the alarms too. I felt bad having to turn away. Like some horrible mom who couldn’t face what my child was going through. But Owen seemed ok, it was just me who couldn’t handle it.
Iv’e never really understood that part on Calvary where God turned away. I’ve been taught it was seeing all that sin on His blameless son but… when Jesus had to ask, “my God my God why have you forsaken me”…..I still want to shake him and ask How could he disappear when He needed him the most? My early morning hours in Children’s Medical City isn’t much of a comparison to the cross……but I got a tiny glimpse of why such a loving Father couldn’t bear to watch.

haircut = little boy and bye bye sweet toddler


When i picked O up today he was a mess. I asked his teacher if he showed up with his hair brushed this morning, and she swore he did. Poor kid must have gotten the Wallis wave. All of Shaun's family has straight thick hair. Mine is wavy. Not good wavy. Old inconsistent perm wavy. One side will be perfect, while the other kicks out the complete opposite way. Also humidity is the enemy. So after Owen's nap he had one side marching to it's own drummer, something (hopefully lunch and not snot) matted into another portion and an unfortunate cowlick. I decided it was time for a hair cut. It really was pretty long. I could have put it in pig tails if I wanted. I asked the lady at Kool Kuts if she could do a faux hawk cut....thinking it would be kept long on top. Kind of inbetween skater and preppy and he wouldn't have to lose all that pretty blond hair. Turns out, O picked today to be an angel and he sat there perfectly in his little firetruck seat while she cut.........and cut..........and cut. there was more hair on the floor than when i get my hair cut. we could have donated it to locks of love there was that much hair. When she was done, O got a sucker and I barely recognized my own kid.

please forward to 10 of your closest friends or terrible horrible no good things will happen

email forwards. really. people still send those. lately i have gotten at least 2-3 silly forwards a day from someone new to my email address. some of them are cute and funny but, i hate forwards. i feel bad for posting this so publically. What if he/she reads it and gets his/her feelings hurt. email forwarders do seem to be the type to get hurt feelings easily. occasionally i will forward something on if it is particularly cute, clever or funny........but it has to be really good. i hate opening my inbox and seeing all these silly warm feel good powerpoints, or friendship or men bashing or cute little boys peeing on the toilet seat. i waste my time by reading most of them. what if there is a really good one in there......i do not want to miss out. no i do not believe that if i don't forward it to every person in my inbox that i will have bad luck for the next 77 years. I do not believe that if i do forward it that I will win the lottery. I do not believe that if i forward it to 50 people i will recieve a 50$ gift card from the Gap or from a foreign dignatary from another country.........but a little bit inside me wonders. I especially hate the forwards that you have to forward to 10 other people to see the answer. I do not want to subject my friends to this crap........but i really want to know the answer or see what happens. Religious ones are also especially haneous because i hate the 20 slide powerpoint of inspirational pictures and verses set to the soundtrack of some especially corny song written by twaila paris or micheal w. smith ( unless of course it is friends are friends forever and then i weep like a schoolgirl). What would Jesus do? I'll tell ya, he'd hit the delete button.

I do like some of the 80s forwards, funny videos (like the kid who kept saying she was going to kick the monster's ass and my new favorite the mom song ), or some really good photos. There should be some email forwarding ettiquitte out there. I wish there was a way to tell somone to STOP flooding my inbox with their crap without worrying about sounding rude. There should be an online service to hook up forward addicts with each other. That way they can send each other silly stuff all day long and not bug anyone else. One year I had a parent of a student send my 5-6 "enlightening" emails a day. She almost gave me a crisis of faith. So next time you think about hitting forward.........make sure it is really good. If you didn't actually cry or laugh outloud for more than 30 seconds......think twice before unloading it on everyone in your address book.


Owen has about a dozen dots on his face. This time not from the __________ he grabbed off the counter and rubbed all over it ( fill in the blank w/ any of the following: lipstick, gluestick, marker, pen, chapstick). Earlier in the week, I picked him up and checked his cubby for old sippy cups, half colored artwork and the infamous daily report. Instead was a very official looking note stating someone at the school had been diagnosed with chickenpox. I ignored it. Owen has had the vaccine and I think even the booster. The school is big -- what is the liklihood that O has even been in contact w/ this germy kid. The sheet sat in his cubby for a few days until I finally transferred it to the floorboard of my car. Then Friday, I went to pick up O and noticed a few pink dots on his face. Suddenly that worksheet flashed in my head. I questioned the teacher ( his usual one had already gone home). She said she had already asked someone and they didn't think it was chicken pox. I told her they hadn't been there in the morning and suddenly we looked harder. We found a few more on his arms and legs. More seemed to keep appearing as I searched. I asked a few more questions ( maybe ones I should have asked on Tuesday) and learned that the culprit was actually in Owen's class and she too had had the vaccine. Then we found the director to ask what they looked like when the first showed up and no surprise...they looked just like Owen's. We called the dr on the way home -- she just said to give him tylonal and keep him away from other kids. Owen didn't seem phased. No fever. Big appitite and tons of energy. By the time Shaun got home I started questioning if it was even chicken pox. We took him first thing in the morning to Care Now ( the dots seemed lighter) and paid 35$ for her to confirm that it was indeed chicken pox. Apparently the vaccine is only about 82% effective -- and then it makes for a milder case. A mild case sadly does not mean shorter case. He is supposed to be quarentined for 7 days. So the pumpkin patch and boo bash were out. Me and Shaun divyed up who would stay home what days ( doesn't help that he will be in Colorodo most of the week!).
Day 5 of the pox and Owen is climbing the walls. Literally. I have pulled all my tricks. Bought a few new toys. Made a fort in the living room. Watched more than our share of cartoons. It is icky outstide, which makes playing out side not such a good option. When we do make it outside he can hear the neighbors playing and gets so sad that he can't join them. I am feeling a bit couped up myself but no that it is temporary and am enjoying my couch time. He is destroying each room faster than I can pick it up. He managed to knock over a dresser 3x the size of him, rewire the tv and learned a cool new trick. Move a kitchen chair to any place in the house with something he can't reach and tada...Owen with cookies, Owen with a sharpie.
I have an official letter from the doctor saying he can go back to school on Thursday.... and I can't wait. Don't get me wrong I love him. I loved my summer of playing with him. But the last 5 days have been miserable. He needs out. He needs other kids. And mommy needs a break. It is a screaming reminder that we were not meant to live in isolation. We can't thrive without community. Our body craves it.......even for a slightly introverted 2 year old. We get into trouble without. Owen needs people his size to watch and play with and race. Later he will need the same relationships to experience life with. It is no fun alone couped up behind walls. The walls of your house or even just the ones of your heart.

a nothing saturday.

Days like yesterday only come around 3-4 times a year. It was a nothing Saturday. No weddings, no birthday parties, no traveling, no anything. The Tech game wasn't even on tv. I slept until almost 8 am, went and got donuts at Owen's cute pleading. Picked up a bit, but only a bit and eventually put on a bra. No shower. No makeup. It was a definately an old pair of jeans and tshirt kind of day. We spent most of the morning playing in the cul-de-sac with neighbors while Shaun painted the trim on our house. I heated up lunch and then headed over to B&N for some coffee and to let Owen chase Maddy up and down the aisles. Apparently a nothing Saturday also include NO NAP for Owen. More playing outside, an attempted nap for me and I ignored the laundry that needed to be hung. Leftovers for dinner and lots of college football. I did get a bit ancy at 8 and insisted on getting out for icecream. Owen crashed the second we got in the car and I crashed soon after getting home. Next Saturday is already filling up: 2 parties, a pumpkin patch and the Tech A&M game. But for one day -- I tried to soak in the boring and uneventfulness.

wedding season

I thought my wedding days were over for a while, but I have been to 2 weddings in the last 3 weeks and 2 more invitations just came in the mail. There have been lots and lots of baby showers in the last few years, but only a few weddings. I miss them and not just the free wine and cake. I like getting dressed up. I like an event where most people are actually on time. I like hors d'oeuvres and chocolate covered strawberries. I like watching my son dance with the flowergirls. But I love, the moment when the bride enters the room. I love when someone's voice quakes a bit as they make promises to each other. I love the lines "for better for worse, in sickness and in health". I love it when the preacher says, "what God has joined together - let no man put assunder". I love that I can't go to a wedding without comparing each moment to my own. I never understood why people cried at weddings until I got married. Now, there is always at least a moment ( if not most of) the ceremony where I am tyring desperately not to let my mascara run. I love dancing with my husband at the reception. I love that marriage is sometimes incredibly hard, but today 2 people promised to endure. In an age where so many poeple break those promises I love that 6 and a half years later I still mean mine. I love that I would still marry Shaun again tomorrow.

room to breathe

My front flowerbeds are the worst on the street. They are full of weeds. Occasionally I get motivated and take a crack at them. I pull and tug and itch and scratch and promise to keep up with them better. Before I know it, and much to my neighbors-who-like-to-spend-hours-and-hours-on-exterior-home-maintenance chagrin, they are overgrown again. This is a metaphor for my life. My calendar gets overwhelmed and I cut here and there ( usually by getting sick or burned out) and swear to weed a few things out. Just like my flowerbeds I usually fail. I like busy. Well not the busy, tired, driving from one place to another part, the leaving one thing early and getting to another late, getting home after owen goes to bed, picking up something to eat in the drive through bit. I like the people and the coffee and the fellowship and getting to hear everyone's stories part.

Lately I have gotten good at weeding things out (with the exception of my flowerbeds). Early in the summer, I had 2 soccer teams, 2 mom's groups, a weekly small group, a book club, a writer's group and a women's bible study. I was busy and tired and missed my family. I have a new job with less titles and more pay. I have cut over half of the other stuff out too. Some of that was my decision, but to be honest most of it wasn't. I am now down to 1 soccer team, a book club and a writers group. That's it. I am home more often than not. Notice the lack of churchy things. Those cleared themselves out. I didn't chose them. There is a little bit of guilt attached to it, but I am finding just as much growth in my respite. Maybe God has given me this season to breathe and find him in my living room rather than everyone elses.

grammar, the new style

ok. the title of my blog was meant to be a joke. I am not a detail girl. Meaning I don't notice things like spelling or punctuation. I especially don't proofread. I do a brain dump onto the page and hit publish. I am through and it felt good to get it all down. I like lower case and typos and especially all those little dots............. ( recently i learned they were called elipses. I used to only think that word meant more than one oval path).

Then I joined a writer's group and thought if I was going to be a little more serious about my writing I would actually start capitalizing words and cut down on those dots. I still struggle with the proofreading part, but I have most surely improved.

I tried to read Eats, Shoots and Leaves and couldn't finish. I made it about 60 pages in ( keep in mind that it is a pretty short book to begin with). I thought I would like it. I like to read about writing, I like puns, I like smart clever little books. I loved the children's version. I kept thinking it would cute and interesting any second. I kept thinking that if was a real writer I would like it, but it was boring me to tears. I honestly don't give a rip about the history of the apostrophe or care all that much about the correct usage. I finally gave up and put the book aside. I am a classic case of the kind of person/writer he was making fun of. Then I tried to read through the Elements of Style. It was also a beating. How could books about writing well be so dry? However, I assure you they were both well edited and gramatically correct.

About this same time I began the editing process for the first time since the whole "peer-editing" pass-your-paper-to-your-neighbor thing in highschool. I love reading everyone's and the discussion. I didn't think I had anything to bring to the table ( and when it comes to grammar - I don't), but I do see a few things. Sometimes I can offer a better word or say cut that sentence. I know a good word when I see one. I have also learned some "new" grammar rules. Things have changed since high school English. Such as:
1. You are supposed to add a serial comma. Example apples, oranges, and bananas. That comma before the and used to not be necessary.
2. You are only supposed to leave one space between sentences. (It used to be 2).
3. He, Him and His no longer needed to be capitalized when speaking of Christ.
I am sure there are more changes......and I am having a hard time "untraining" myself. I keep leaving out commas, and inserting spaces. They can't change the rules in the middle of the game. Who knew grammar was so fickle. Suddenly keeping up with the current rules is like the ever changing tax laws or the fashion industry. I suggest giving up. Grammar is completely over rated.

guess how much i love you

Most things in the scientific world have magnitude ( the #value) and an appropriate unit. Science teachers everywhere make a big deal about including units and I take off at least 2 points whenever a kid leaves it off. It’s not just science……I order a tall coffe, large fries, wear a size 9 shoe, buy milk by the half gallon, we are supposed to drink 96 oz of water a day, and I fill my car up with 16 gallons of gas, etc. Things come in units and or amounts.
The other night I was laying in bed thinking about how much I missed an old friend. And I started wondering why love doesn’t have a unit. We occasionally try to apply one and say things like “I love you tons”, but it sounds corny and doesn’t really make sense…..or does it? Sometimes I feel like my love has weight. It is thick and heavy and anchored down somewhere inside me. I love my son like this. I love my husband like that. A few other people come close, but to be honest I don’t love them the same way. I love coffee and chips and salsa and the new tegan and sara album. No I don’t think I am using the word love too lightly in those contexts. I love them. I like brownies and the new shoes I just bought and last nights episode of Heros, but some things I like more. Isn’t that enough to say I love them? We need levels or degrees of this. The word for how I feel about salt and vinegar chips should not be the same one I use when I tuck my son in at night. Some purists might say love doesn’t come in levels or degrees. If we were using the word properly we wouldn’t use it so casually. I checked out and was shocked to find 21 definitions and even more verb phrases. Some were easy (to have a strong liking for) and others were going to take a lot more work (profoundly tender passionate affection) and I won’t even go into the whole 1 corinthians 13 take on it. Ancient Greeks had 3 distinct words for love which helped ease up on some of the confusion ( eros, philia, agape). Sanskrit has ninety-six words for love; ancient Persian has eighty; Greek three; and English only one. If we are only going to use one word we might as well tack a measurement and unit onto it. Can’t you just picture it –opening up a card from your husband and it saying I love you 78 degrees, or I love you 34 grams worth. It isn’t very romantic but sure practical. So for now let’s just say I love guacamole and my TiVo and the smell when someone else just cleaned my house in normal equal amounts. I love Owen and Shaun right up to the moon and back (hey, if science isn’t helping you out go with children’s books.)

my daily report

Most days when I pick up Owen from preschool there are 2 worksheets in his cubby. ( he has his own cubby, how cute is that). One is the “art activity” of the day (aka a coloring sheet), and Owen’s is usually mostly blank. The other is his daily report. It lists what they learned, what books they read and anything else they did that day. The bottom is my favorite. It has 3 categories: Today at lunch I….. Today at rest time….and finally My character today. It then gives options like “ I ate everything”, “I wasn’t hungry” , “I slept”, “ I was quiet” and then for the character list …Today I was “ attentive”, “mischevious”, “followed directions”, “lively” and many others. I look forward to reading it and sometimes question if they are really talking about my kid ( his always says he slept, ate everything and followed directions………3 things he never does at home). I have started wondering what people would circle about me at the end of the day, particularly in the character department. Was I patient and loving? Did I notice a need around me……..or was I grumpy, tired and stressed. I wonder how much we would alter these 3 basic things: what we eat, the amount of rest we get and our character if we knew we were getting a grade?

my not so weekly update

I started this whole blogging my weight thing to keep me accountable and it was another thing I put to rest for the last 3 weeks. I didn't give up on my weight loss though. I am 149ish....and when I say ish I don't mean really 150, I mean sometimes my scale is fickle. I can weigh myself ( naked, first thing in the morning just after peeing of course) 3 times in a row and get 3 different weights....148.5, 151, and 147 were the ones this morning. I figure 149 is a safe conservative estimate. Lesson, don't buy the cheapest digital scale you can find at Target. There is something great about being under 150. It means they don't have to move it up a notch when you go to the dr's office ( well as long as they let me take my pants off first!). There has been only a recent resurgence in working out ( which was canceled out by the ice cream I insited on afterwards), but very little snacking. No friends at school has kept me from going to Starbucks all the time. I can also attribute some of the weight loss to those icky frozen dinners I keep trying to eat for lunch. I have 4 more lbs to go in 3 weeks to meet my goal. My new goal is to fit into Rhonda's fat pants ( that she is now too skinny to wear and donated them to me).

back in the saddle

Once school started I kind of disappeared for a while. I started saying no. This has been liberating. I have never really seen myself as much of a pleaser......but have always been super overcommitted. I don't do anything well, so I just do lots of everything. I am also super extroverted and hate to miss out. A new school year, a new job and some new added stress ( all work related) gave me an excuse to NOT go to 4 parties, 2 soccer practices, 1 writers group ( sorry girls) and 1 wedding over the last 2 weeks. No I haven't been holed up in my house....I have just been exceptionally choosy. I have been home more weeknights than I haven't for the first time since I got my driver's liscence. My small group has been put on hold. I quit my coed team ( still on a women's) and one of my mom's groups has been weeded out. It has been contagious. I haven't blogged, I haven't cooked, I haven't cleaned and I haven't worked out.

Well, I decided last week was the week for my slow return. I cooked twice and am learning to actually eat leftovers. I worked out twice and slept soooo much better. I went to the Tech game ( wreck em'). I went out with friends. I went to book club. I just got home from a birthday party. But........I plan on keeping no in my vocabulary. Ordering pizza tonight and taking an afternoon nap. I am hoping to only make a partial return.

new part two,the down side

a few weeks ago i wrote about all the fantastic things of something new.

scrap it.

Last week I started a new amazing job. I kept waiting for the catch. the pay was better. My schedule was better. The oppertunity to advance was better. The setting was better. The support was better. Everyone was so nice. It all made me want to be even better.

And then the catch. Purely by accident I discovered that I will be teaching 2 TAKS math classes. Keep in mind this is Friday and school starts Monday and that I am a science teacher. Now to be fair, I am the TAKS girl on campus, but no TAKS classes, particuarly not non subject area classes were ever part of the deal. I fell apart. No materials, No background, and No time and 50 kids. I did what anyone else in my postion woulld do -- my chin started to quiver. I couldnt control it and next thing i knew i was doing something i had NEVER EVER done in my 8 years of teaching. I cried in front of an administrator ( and about a dozen others). Now, it is no secret that teachers (especially new ones) often cry on the way home....but you never lose it in front of your class or your principal. If I see a teacher crying before school even starts I start taking bets on whether or not she will make it to the end of the year. I am not usually a crier anyways, but here I was all red eyed trying to get a pull it together without much success.

I have confidence in my experience and knowledge. God wants me to have confidence in him.
I have all these great ideas and pursuits and goals. God has other ideas.
I am so excited about my new great kids. God says, these other kids, the ones some people think aren't so great, need you more.
I can write science lesson plans in my sleep. God has a new plan.
I am starting to regret coming here. God says trust me.
This isn't what I agreed to. God says I never promised it would be easy.
I was comfortable. God says to grow.
I am so scared. God says good, now maybe you will rely on me rather than your own abilities.
I can't do this. God says you're right, but we can.

I hate new and sure hope God knows algebra.

struggling to love my old socks

Last night my friend Tina threw a BBQ off. Her husband likes to, not what you are thinking......meat. He spent the day making a brisket and then they hit 3 of the most popular local BBQ places. She then put them all in cups, labeled with letters so we didn't know which was which and we had to taste and rank them. It felt a bit like the old school Pepsi/Coke taste tests ( whatever happened to those??).....but was fun and yummy. Todd came out the winner and I went home with a stomach ache. ( me and red meat are not friends).
Several partygoers mentioned something a bit odd. If they had bought meat from any of those places and put it out we all would have been happy. It would have tasted like BBQ and surely some of us would have commented on how good it was, even the one that came in last place. Side by side we noticed all kinds of things. One even seemed to taste like old socks to me, next to the others. Like I said, if I didn't have Todd's prize winning BBQ to compare it to directly, I would have been perfectly happy eating the old sock BBQ. Comparison seems to get me in trouble. Suddenly things that were perfectly fine before don't seem to be good enough. I worry that my son isn't talking enough when I compare him to Maddy who can speak in entire paragraphs. I don't feel skinny enough when I try on my friend's pants. I am definantly not pretty enough when I look at those dumb magazines. My home isn't big enough when I compare it to the one next to me. My clothes seem dull and old when I compare it to people I work with. Suddenly everything I have, that I used to be content with seems like old socks.
Paul, you know the guy who was knocked off his donkey, blinded, beaten, improsoned, mocked among other things, seemed to know the secret to being content.
Phil 4:12-13 "12I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13I can do everything through him who gives me strength."
I also suggest that Todd tone down his BBQ, my friends eat a lot, excersize less, clean less, and wear clothes from Goodwill.

down three, up one --the official weigh in.

I did my official weigh in on Monday.....but am a little late getting it posted.
151 -- down 3 lbs. No working out at the gym ( my knee was REALLY sore) and I only played one soccer game. Conclusion -- don't go to the gym if you are trying to lose weight. Some of it from last week probably finally caught up with me. One pound was probably hair, and another was probably just water due to all this freaking heat.
My face is always the first thing to lose weight. This positive because I look skinnier to myself in the mirror and feel encouraged to continue. Negative -- because it isn't my face that needs to fit into any clothes. I felt fine with my face before.........not so much about my thighs.
So it is Wednesday and I am already up a pound from Monday's weigh in. This is to blame on my new school. Monday's menu consisted of Chicken Red's for breakfast ( I split one with someone), and Babes for lunch ( i got a TINY peice of smoked - not there famous fried chicken, but didn't hold back on the sides or banana pudding). Then for dinner was burgers and desserts galore. An entire cafertia table covered with homemade desserts........I couldn't resist -- but I did try to stick to small portions.
On the up side -- no lattes or machiattos all week. I have not had a snack ALL freakin day and resisted those brownies at bible study. I am hungry and will go to bed with a headache -- but the occasional size 8 fits again making it all worth it.
My parents will be here this weekend and it will be a dad always means good free food.

sunday school update

So this sunday i was demoted to kindergarten. It was much smoother, but still no peice of cake. The lesson was on doubting Thomas, but it was lost to most of them who thought I was talking about a little blue train.


I just got a new haircut and am pretty enamored with myself. I kept flipping my hair and looking in the rearview mirror all the way home. It feels lighter, smells good and has that just from the salon style. You know the one I wont be able to repeat no matter how hard I try or how many different products I use from home. I wished I had made evening plans. This hair needs to get out on the town. This hair could use a new outfit ( although I will resist). It is more than the haircut, all of me feels new and fresh.
I like new things; they inspire. New shoes feel like they go faster and make me want to hit the gym. New pens write better words. Blank pages hold so much promise. New cleaning products make me want to dust (and trust me this is significant). New office supplies make me want to be a better teacher. A new outfit can change my entire self-image, at least briefly.
Yes I know this sounds like I am falling into traps of consumerism. And, I am, but that is not what this is about. I’ve heard that Micheal Jordan wore new sneakers for every game to get that same feeling. You would think night after night of new sneaks the specialness of it would wear off. New only has this power if it is a rarity.
That being said, new is easy to obtain occasionally. A treat. An indulgence. A new color. But God promises us so much more than a new haircut can give:

Ephesians 4:22-24 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

That kind of new is so much harder. It requires surrender.


I wondered in and tried to scope out the seating arrangements. I am new. I don’t know anyone. It’s been 5 years since I have been the new girl. Usually, a seat has already been saved for me at a crowded table full of coffee, candy and crosswords. We giggle and write notes and try to be quiet ( it is a struggle). But today I am searching for a seat near someone else sitting alone that looks friendly. Preferably near the back. I leave the customary empty seat between us and get comfortable. This is my first inservice of the year and an unwelcome reminder that my summer is almost over. I am not looking forward to my day of powerpoints and forced discussion. I am, however, on time. I brought a pen and paper and left my phone in the car. I was in the minority on all of those. Teachers, as a group, tend to be horrible students. I witnessed lots of text messaging, magazine reading and lesson planning. Some one in the back was rumored to be watching a movie on their laptop. The two girls ( ok, women) in front of me chatted so much and loudly that I could hardly hear the speaker. The teacher in me was tempted to shush them, but I suppressed this urge. Back when I had friends I was one of those girls.

The speaker isn’t so bad. She has a good sense of humor, gives lots of breaks and tells good stories. There are no powerpoints, and only a few forced interactions. We did not get out early. The bathrooms did not have toiletpaper. It is a good thing I can’t pee with a crowd anyways. After lunch I started having nap withdrawls. My chair got really uncomfortable and that teacher that kept asking a question about that one freak student was about to be taken out by me. If you have never been to an inservice the people that speak up to the entire group fit into a few categories:
1. I am the best teacher here, and this is how I already implement this.
2. Weirdo-Beirdo. Let me tell you about the cool robots my kids make ( did I mention this wasn’t a science workshop!)
3. The let me give you ever special case or exception girl. She interrupts every story or strategy to talk about this one kid she had 10 years ago. Finally by the end of the day the speaker starts to ignore this person or at least cut them short.
4. The teacher that needs help or counseling of her own. He/She has a comment so off no one is quite sure how to respond. Like now is suddenly the time to discuss her marriage problems or the likes.
5. Devil’s advocate. No one wants you to argue. Please shut up, even if you are right….we just want to get out of here.
Mostly I just sit there. Occasionally I will offer my 2 cents ( usually more in science than general sessions ) or ask a question if I truly think it is a legitimate and will apply to people besides just me. If only I had that attitude all the time. I came back from lunch with a cross word. Yes I know it is rude, but I mostly only did it during all those dumb out there questions and breaks because remember I didn’t have any friends and I wasn’t going to the restroom. The afternoon moved in super slow motion. She was still interesting, but my brain needs to be eased back into this kind of schedule. I drew little tally marks on my paper to mark off the minutes. By 3:15 I was catatonic and feeling a bit of sympathy for what my students will be going through in a few weeks.

one crummy pound: week 2

3 trips to the gym and 2 soccer games = only one less crummy pound. Making this week's weight 154. My sister is only down an eight of a pound so I have a slight edge.

Confession I am a cheater:
Wed - fried jalepeno slices covered in cheese w/ creamy ranch ( i paid for this later)
Sat- I went to a shower....pie, cookies, lots of ranch.
Saturday night - cooking out at a friends and more pie.
Today a kitkat and an oatmeal cookie
Now that I think about it, maybe I should be happy with the one pound. This week I will try harder to curb my sweets. I at least feel skinnier when I am hungry, but man I love pie :)

I also plan to get my haircut and have thought seriously that if I chop enough off I could lose almost a pound!

thank you mrs. gabbard

I did not like my first grade teacher. She used to staple notes to my shirt telling my mom that I talked back. She wrote messy on my ditto copied worksheets. She gave me a zero on a paper on greater than less than signs. I had them flipped, meaning I was 100% correct, just backwards…She should have taken off like 10 points or something NOT give me a big fat goose egg. She even made me cry once. I do not look back on first grade fondly.
After my morning teaching 1st and 2nd grade Sunday school though, I am considering writing her a big thank you letter and sending a bottle of wine.
So I seldom do my part at church, so when my friend Christy asked me to sub for her while she was out of town I accepted. How hard could it be. Last time I saw her class there were only 2 kids. I am a teacher by trade, send me the lesson plan and I’ll be good to go. If all else failed I figured we could just color.
I am a little nervous. I am used to much older and much younger kids, but I read my lesson in advance and it seemed easy enough. I got there early to lay things out and ask last minute directions…….and then the boys start trickling in. I should have known when they started jumping OFF the tables that it was going to be a long morning. A cute little girl walked in who was obviously unimpressed with these boys. She sat herself as far away as possible and crossed her arms tightly. 5 kids, I can handle this. Then a large family shows up with 5 more kids. They are new to the church and really want to keep their kids together for the first time. Visitors…..I want to keep them around so of course I offer to take them in. On there behalf, these 5 were shy, eager to please and overall easy, the other 5 were a handful. I mistakenly mentioned that I was a science teacher to one of the un-easy 5 while waiting to start. He got all excited and asked if I knew how to make slime, and if we could. Well…why not. I sent Shaun across the street to buy some. I read them the bible story ( about Jesus washing his disciples feet and serving others) while the new 5 listened quietly on the couch, one girl pouted and 4 boys wrestled under the table. I tried giving them the teacher eye. Completely uneffective. I tried to speak firmly to get them to stop, which they did, temporarily. Very temporarily. Like maybe 30 seconds worth. We got to the question/answer part and I got 3 types of responses: 1. Jesus 2. long rambling ones that didn’t really make sense, but they were sure proud of and 3. blank stares. Thankfully, Shaun came to rescue me with cornstarch. I related the slime to Jesus washing icky feet. For the record slime was a bad idea ( I am sure you saw this coming). White powder was everywhere and I prayed no girls got it on there pretty pink dresses. I know it was a bad idea, but it was actually the only 20 minutes I knew what I was doing. We cleaned up and I tried really really hard to get it all out of the carpet ( just white powder, no permanent damage, but we don’t own the building so I really wanted to be clean). Besides I didn’t want any evidence of my un-traditional Sunday school teaching style.
After a field trip to the bathroom for more clean up the lesson called for game time. Basically you roll a ball to someone in a circle and tell how you can be a helper to someone. I got the same kind of 3 answers as before. Half the group didn’t want to play, while the other half wanted to play crazy wild games with it that I had never heard of like “supersonic silent dodgeball.” I am pretty sure these were not meant to be played indoors, but the silent part did sound appealing. I was praying that they could not hear us in church and tried to conviscate the ball. As soon as I did they found another one. The wrestling increased. I used my firm voice and shot my teacher eye to no avail. Now I just prayed that no one broke a limb while in Sunday School.
Then I moved on to arts and crafts time, surely this would be much calmer. They were supposed to cut out shapes do crayon rubbings over them and write a verse from Phillipians. My easy 5 took this task seriously. 1 did not want to participate. 1 decided to practice his cutting skills before starting 2nd grade ( he told me this) by cutting paper into as small pieces as possible which of course fell all over the floor and I would have to pick up ( did I mention the lesson was on being a helper!) and another drew a pie on a sheet of paper and started shoving it in people’s faces. At some point, part of this paper pie even got eaten. The wresting resumed and I watched the minutes tick by ever so slowly. I felt helpless and completely out of control. Please preacher, end your sermon soon. I managed to get them to sit in a circle and asked if any one had any prayer requests. We prayed for scraped knees, sick grannies and the upcoming 2nd grade. I silently prayed for their parents to arrive quickly …..and thankfully they did. No broken bones, no stiches, I think I got all the powder out of the carpet and now I could go home and write that thank you letter I had been composing in my head for the last 20 minutes.

be careful what you pray for.

My plan for Friday was to move into my new classroom. This is a little tough with a 2 year old, but I talked Shaun into borrowing a big giant dolly and meeting me at the school for lunch. I figured one of us could carry tubs, the other carry Owen.

I got a phone call inviting me to storytime, lunch and then swimming. Dilemma, work or play?? I almost always pick play……but Shaun is meeting me, the room is open and we have a dolly. Maybe I can do both. I pack a swim bag with and take off.I make it to B&N ( did I mention it is the one in SW Fort Worth) in plenty of time. I did see an accident on the other side of the highway. Mental note, try and avoid that on the way back. So my plan is a typical plan a lot into a short time, I –can-do-everything-plan.
Go to story time, leave about 11:30.
15 –minutes to get home
10 – minutes to load the truck ( yes I know that was a lofty goal, b/c it is a lot of stuff. 2 cars worth of stuff, but 90% of it is in plastic tubs and I can really move under pressure)
10 minutes to get to school
20-30 minutes to unload ( I am on the second floor and down a few hallways…..)
20 minutes back to Tina’s. Back by 1. I miss lunch but there is still plenty of swim time.
On the way to B&N, I think if I leave Owen at Tina’s I can do the hole moving thing even faster – maybe pick up some sonic drinks on the way back as a thank you.

Most people would laugh at my plans, but I am Michelle. I am super fast paced. I read fast, I write fast, I talk fast, I eat fast. I have never been one for details…….I’m all about quantity. My friends joke that if you give me 15 minutes I can mow the lawn, go to starbucks and write a blog.
So story time sucked. Owen was screaming about the trains and we missed most of the stories and the craft. High pitched screaming and tears when he had to share the trains. I got him outside and slightly calmed down and into tina’s car and I was off. The clock was ticking.

And then I see the sign that says “due to accident, expect LONG delays”. Ughhhhhh. I start looking for my escape route. I remember the wreck and the problem was that the service roads by the wreck do not connect.. They take you right back on the interstate still stuck. I consider for a minute to just turn around and go back……….but figure it will just put me a little bit behind. When else will have help and the dolly. I finally make it off I20 and hit my back road. Lots of other people had this idea too. All I can see are cars, but at least we are moving ( occasionally) unlike the cars where I came from. I call Shaun and adjust our plan. I ask him to pick up lunch and meet me at the school. I take a minor wrong turn, but eventually make it back to my exit. I pull into my driveway and note the time. 12:20 --- it took me over 45 minutes to get home. Panic. I call Tina and tell her it will be more like 1:30. I also noticed that traffic was also blocked going the opposite direction behind the wreck. Mental note find a new way back.

I start loading in a fury. The tubs are heavy. Really heavy. But the stress of a time crunch has made me super girl and I lift like crazy. Shaun pulls in. What isn’t he supposed to meet me at school?? O-well he has a sandwhich with my name on it and we load in less than 7 minutes ( at least something is ahead of schedule). Shaun goes in and I eat and wait on him. 3 minutes tick by ( can you tell I am in a hurry) and I go in after him. He says he will meet me there and to go on ahead. I fly to school ( 1 minute less than I budgeted) and figure I’ll take a few loads up while I wait. A few turned into 5 and Shaun finally pulls in. He is feeling a bit ill, but that doesn’t stop me from loading up his dolly in a hurry. I want to show him my new beautiful campus but instead I am sprinting. We dump the load by the door and go back down for one more. Sweating and panting we are finished in less than 20 minutes. I check my watch, about 1:15 – I can almost make it.
Shaun advises me on the back road to take to get there. So far so good, and then I see one of those signs. Be prepared to Stop, and then brake lights. Lots and lots of brake lights. One side of the road goes for about 5 minutes, and then the other. Ughhh. Of course he stops my group just in front of me! The clock is ticking and I feel bad about them watching Owen. Swimming with 4 is no easy task, and when I last left Owen he was in an all out tantrum. I finally make it through and take the over pass onto 20. Odd. There are 4 police cars stopping everyone in front of me on top of the overpass. Crumbling bridges in the news start running through my mind, but sadly I think I am worried more about how long this delay is going to take rather than my own safety. Only a few minutes and then I am moving again. Of course there is a cop directly in front of me …so I can’t make up on any time I lost by speeding. I go through my ipod trying to find a good song. The slow ones don’t match my pumping adrenaline, the fast ones only make me edgier. And then it hits me. I asked for this.
I am doing a study with some friends. Last week’s was on the 1 corinthians definition of love. You know the whole love is patient, love is kind…thing. I need practical application so I suggested that we each pick one of those things and really work on it and come back next week with a solid example of how we practiced it. Mine of course was patience. I figured Shaun and Owen would provide me with plenty of chances. I, however, did not remember to practice my patience in any of them. I guess God figured I needed some extra help. I finally breathe a little bit easier, settle into a mellow song and drive the speed limit the rest of the way.

nonsense to the most of you

She questions her next move.
She isn’t the only one.
Age doesn’t provide all the answers.
It doesn’t protect us from fear
Or rejection or insecurities.

She is supposed to worry about these things.
We are supposed to know better.
Or at least we are expected to pretend we do.

It almost makes me wish for the advantage
Of that miserable ache.

lost in translation

Owen hasn't quite mastered the English language. I'm not worried, i still say a few things funny myself........these are my favorites.
1. wimming - translation swimming, it used to be just 'ming! must be said with much enthusiasm.
2. nack - translation snack, this is what he asks for when he wakes up from a nap
3. belbow - translation elbow. very cute. my new favoirte body part
4. nanny - translation banana, this is one of his favorite nacks.
5. waygo - translation frozen waffle, altertnate translation legos
6. mooey - translation movie, must also come with paw-corn ( popcorn)
7. meeelk - translation milk, yuck and he thinks so too!
8. dina-swore - translation dinosaur and followed by a big roar!
9. goodie -translation anything yummy like cookies, candy or icecream
10. peas - translation please, said cute enough guarentees he will get that goodie.

there are lots more, but some things he shouldn't say like frog...turns into another 4 letter f word. recently we just got back from the beach. At church on Sunday he kept saying, "mommy beach, mommy beach". We got a few funny looks.

christmas in july

For my writers group, we are working on an advent book of devotionals. It is hot outside. I sweated through my tshirt before 10 am. I went swimming and added at least a dozen new freckles to the bunch. Back to school supplies line the grocery store aisles, while I sit at my computer and try to think about Christmas.
It is kind of nice actually. Freeing. No presents to buy or cards to address or parties to attend or family commitments. Just Christ’s birth, which is of course everything.


I didn’t let them read 1 Corinthians 13 at my wedding. You know the whole love is patient, love is kind, etc. It seemed too cliché at the time. Everyone reads that one.
Recently I read it for a study I am doing, and I tried to not just run over the familiar words. Love. Agape. The expectations are too great. Who is ALWAYS patient, ALWAYS kind, ALWAYS trusts, ALWAYS hopes, ALWAYS perseveres, NEVER envies or boasts or is proud or rude…..I could go on. There is an obvious Sunday School answer to that question….but it’s not what I am getting at. I love my husband in a way that I know he is home, but I am often proud. I love my son in a way that I don’t think can go away. EVER, but I’m not always patient. I love my friends and family in ways that there isn’t much I wouldn’t do for them, but sometimes I fail them. That is my biggest hang up really. The last, love never fails line. It does. Often. I have learned the hard way, that it is even supposed to. Well, at least the kind with skin on. If it didn’t we wouldn’t turn to the love that meets all the requirements.
The Greek word for fails is ekipipto, which means to be without effect, to be in vain. In other words love is never in vain. This I can handle. I mean, I told my loser high school boyfriend that I loved him. And I meant it, as much as I could at 18. Love is like advanced Calculus. It takes practice. It builds. Not too many people can do it properly. We make mistakes. My 2 year old loves me, but if I neglect to give him his snack or don’t let him watch Cars ( again) he will turn on me fast. When I was in grade school I had a new best friend every few weeks. In junior high I had a new crush that I was “so in love with” even more often than that. In college it was friendships I tried to balance. I loved them and I knew what that was supposed to mean, but we started to spread out across the state. I started forgetting birthdays, writing fewer emails and missing events that I should be at. I was failing. Others were failing me. They weren’t there when I needed them. I broke up with boys, friendships faded. If we failed --- did this mean I didn’t love them. Or vice versa. I don’t think the tense ( past or present) of the verb matters so much as that none of it was in vain. That it had purpose. That we had meant it.

diet..........ughhh....Day 1

ok, so this weekend i was at the beach. the beach has a magical quality of making you want to lay there and soak up sun one minute, but also to get moving the next. hit the waves, go for a walk, throw a frisbee. Maybe it is just all those other skinny people in bathing suits, but regardless of the motivating factor on my first afternoon there I thought I would go for a jog. Anne Lammot ( a kick ass author) wrote an entire chapter in her book Traveling Mercies about being comfortable with her thighs in a bathing suit. She even named them her "aunties". My thighs do not have names and for everyone else's benefits I think I should keep them covered at all times. This means my bathing suits all have cute little skirts or shorts to match. On this particular day I was wearing a cute tropical tankini that came with matching board shorts. So about a half mile down the beach my inner thighs were burning. If you are skinny you have no idea what I am referring to. Your thighs do not touch. Ever. But while jogging mine experience enough friction to start a small fire. And speaking of fire they were burning so bad I finally broke down and took my shorts off ( of course i had bathing suit bottoms underneath). I was near tears......all the salt and sand and plastic shorts managed to wear through at least the top 2 layers of my skin on my inner thighs. I walked back with my aunties hanging out and very bow-legged like i had just ridden a horse and immediately went in to assess the damage and change suits. It was official, i had some serious fat rash.
So, now for the diet. ughh. 10 lbs by oct 1 ( that date b/c that is when my new insurance sarts meaning i can start trying to get pregnant). The only way i can lose weight is with:
1. competition -- me and my sister racing. The first one to 10 gets a free night of babysitting for a hot date.
2. accountability -- in leu of paying for WW ( weight watchers for you skinny poeple) online, i figure i will just post my weight each week on here. I saw a website where this guy took a picture of himself every morning and posted it. I'll spare you.
3. reward -- i always work on the reward system. If i make the 10 lbs by Oct 1, my mom pays for a pedicure.....

I forgot to weigh myself first thing in the morning. ( once again for you skinny people, you weigh less when you wake up, naked and just after peeing), but i did strip down and pee first. 155.

I went to Target and bought all kinds of healthy crap. I am mean when i am hungry, so i have to eat plenty.......I just need to make better choices and not waste any calories. I am trying to drink lots and lots of water and plan to hit the Y tonight. no excuses.
I'll spare you the Bridgett Jones-esque list of what i eat everyday.....but will post my weight and thoughts each week and maybe a few recipes.
Now, if you'll excuse me........I have to go make a smoothie.


1. What’s the one book or writing project you haven’t yet written but still hope to?
some random essays and thoughts that are random, but tangled and make sense as a unit, paid for blogging, some modern day proverbs.

2. If you had one entire day in which to do nothing but read, what book would you start with?
i rarely i'd just go to barnes and noble, but a coffee and a rice krispie treat and read all the pretty books. there is one out i have my eye on......everything i learned about being a girl i learned from judy blume

3. What was your first writing “instrument” (besides pen and paper)?pretty journals and new pens (ok, that is still pen and paper...but not like big cheif tablets or anythings)

4. What’s your best guess as to how many books you read in a month? school year ( non holiday month) 4-6, summer atleast ten ( 4 this week alone)

5. What’s your favorite writing “machine” you’ve ever owned?“writing machine”? laptop, but i am still partial to a good gel pen and a new journal. i write differently than i type.

6. Think historical fiction: what’s your favorite time period in which to read? (And if you don’t read historical fiction–shame on you.) i suppose shame on me too. i occasionally read historical firction......but i like memoirs does that count? i like pretty current stuff.......but like to read about people and places in parts of the world i don't know. i like to learn something as well as a good story when i read.

7. What’s the one book you remember most clearly from your youth (childhood or teens)?ok, i'm going to break this one up into eras.
kindegarden: bernstein bears
elementary school ( 2-4th grade). i heart ramona quimby. the whole series. also partial to tales of a fourth grade nothing and superfudge.
junior high: across four aprils ( hey..that is historical fiction right?)...and of course are you there god it's me margret ( haha!)
highschool...i know this is cliche but a seperate peace, catcher in the rye and cold sassy tree. i still love a good coming of age peice.

birthdays and the beach

Last weekend was my friend tina's birthday party fiesta....complete with pinatas and mojitos. Tomorrow I will be sitting on the beach hopefully with one of these in my hand and mint in my teeth...Here's a recipe ( copy and pasted from the if you want to join me.

3 fresh mint sprigs, 2 tsp sugar, 3 tbsp fresh lime juice, 1 1/2 oz light rum, club soda In a tall thin glass, crush part of the mint with a fork to coat the inside. Add the sugar and lime juice and stir thoroughly. Top with ice. Add rum and mix. Top off with *chilled* club soda (or seltzer). Add a lime slice and the remaining mint, and serve.

who says two is terrible?

This morning, I got plenty of strenuous cardio for way less than the 30$ a month most gyms charge. For the low low price of 3$ and a mandatory pair of socks – I spent a good hour+ chasing a few two year olds around bouncing bonanza ( think an old grocery store filled w/ bounce houses). I’d bet the sweaty pit stains on my white t-shirt that I worked out just as hard as if I’d gone to an aerobics class. This is a pretty normal morning.
Well, change out the bounce house with the park, or swimming, or the science museum, or the zoo, or library story time ( you would think that would be low impact – but chasing my son around and trying to get him to sit on his mat like the rest of the toddlers is enough to get my heart rate up). On good days there is a stop for coffee along the way.
Next comes lunch. Half the time it is shared with friends, the other half it is mac and cheese or pb&j. Turns out I love pb&j and little Debbie even more fiercely than I did in grade school. Then my favorite part of the day…..once I can finally wrestle Owen down is nap time. I usually get a bit of a snooze in myself……followed up with some reading, cleaning, ellen, the internet or my least favorite laundry until Owen wakes back up. Then, my second favorite part of the day……..snack time. I also partake in this one and we head back outside to play until “DADDY DADDY DADDY” comes home.
Two is supposed to be terrible. My summer has been anything but. My kid is funny. We laugh and hug and wrestle and play chase. Yes there is the occasional daily meltdown……and plenty of minutes spent in time out. Sometimes he whines and destroys and asks to watch CARS over and over but no one does it cuter. He howls at the moon and dances to any commercial with music in it and dips anything and everything into catsup. Sometimes he shares his lunch with the dog and body slams the cat and colors on the carpet ( or couch or wall or floor or yes, the cat). Last summer he was just learning to walk. He still stuck everything in his mouth. His vocabulary consisted of about a half dozen words, now we run and talk back and state our opinion. He tells me when he needs a new diaper or juice or his shoes off. “momma” has turned into “mommy” and it makes me melt almost as fast as the snow cones we share. Two is completely un-terrible.

sundays once a month

The wafer is easy. Thin and tasteless on my tongue. I do have to try really hard not to bite down or swallow until permission is granted. I know this is important. I try to pray the right things or at least clear my head.
This is my body broken for you.
The juice well, as I see it coming down the aisle to me, I worry that I might drop it.
This is my blood poured out for you.
Grape juice. That small tiny plastic cup is never enough. After my spiritual shot I just want more. I am taken straight back to the 3rd grade. All that is missing is a side of graham crackers.
Sometimes after these Sundays, I go to the store and buy a bottle.
I pour myself a tall glass over ice and it only takes less than an hour for my stomach to cramp. I should stick with wine.

Going Home

I don’t spend much time in my hometown anymore. Most family events ( holidays, birthdays, etc) are at the lake. When I do go back to BCS it seems like a strange place. Like most college towns, it is always under construction. It is weird to have this familiar place be so foreign to me, to have to ask for directions or suggestions of where to go. Even my parent’s house is new. What remains of my old bedroom is in one big brown box somewhere in the corner of the attic. Me and O slept upstairs on the day bed. I slept on the top part, and him on the pull out trundle bed. Most of the first night he kept trying to climb up tome, but by morning he was on the top, and I was on the floor. I’m not sure which remote to use or where to find a fork.
I experienced the same kind of stumbling around with some of my old friends. Some of it was easy enough. Margarita swirls and guacamole makes everything easier. But then there were new boyfriends and jobs and babies to get straight. Someone took a jab at my blogs. We got slightly heated when it came to religion and made bad uncomfortable jokes when it came to ex-husbands. It was good to see everyone, but sad for the slight uneasiness we all occasionally felt. It felt like the city. Good and familiar and comforting but occasionally new and confusing. People and places had new names. Frustrated to be lost in a place I used to know so well.

first ladies

Some first lady trivia……… ( answers after the last ?)

She believed that the deaths of her three children were punishment by God for her husband's involvement in politics.
a. Lucy Hayes b. Helen Taft c. Pat Nixon d. Jane Pierce

She wrote a weekly newspaper column while First Lady.
a. Florence Harding b.Edith Wilson c.Eleanor Roosevelt d.Rosalynn Carter

3. Temperance advocate whose husband, as President, banned liquor from the White House -- leading to this First Lady's new public nickname.
a. Margaret Taylor b.Ida McKinley c.Lucy Hayes d. Angelica VanBure

4.Her first child had a candy bar named for her.
a. Frances Cleveland b.Alice Roosevelt c. Nancy Reagan d.Hillary Clinton

5. She met her future husband at a country club dance, and later said, "I married the first man I ever kissed…."
a. Nancy Reagan b. Barbara Bush c. Hillary Clinton d.Mamie Eisenhower

6. She helped raise funds for Johns Hopkins University Medical School -- on the condition that women be admitted as students.
a. Nancy Reagan b. Florence Harding c.Edith Wilson d. Caroline Harrison

7. She convinced her husband, while he was a state legislator, to vote against an import tax on snuff, which she used in public.
a. Louisa Adams b.Dolley Madison c. Eleanor Roosevelt d. Lou Hoover

8. She served as her husband's secretary and advisor while he was President, and was the first First Lady to attend cabinet meetings.
a. Abigail Adams b. Rosalynn Carter c. Eleanor Roosevelt d. Sarah Polk

1-d, 2-c, 3-c ( lemonade lucy), 4-a (baby ruth), 5-b, 6-d, 7-a, 8-d
* quiz ?s taken from

………..oh but I actually have a point……………
Acts 13:50 “The Jews, however, incited the women of prominence who were worshipers and the leading men of the city, stirred up a persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their territory.”

a little background…..basically Paul and his friend Barnabus had visited several cities to spread the good news of Christ. The whole city had gathered and some of the Jews were jealous of the crowds. Because of their reaction they spoke boldly to the Gentiles and many of them converted. The Jews got a little irritated ( this was “their God” ) and this ( vs50) was their evacuation plan for Paul and his friend. ( in case you were wondering….Paul shook the dust off his feet and moved on to the next town!)

…… for the connection…….
Notice who the Jews purposely incited first! WOMEN! God has given women the gift (and burden) of influence. The biggest political influence back then ( and I believe it still is today) is women. We may not make the cover of Newsweek very often, and so far no woman has ever been president, and we still tend to make less money for the same job…. but WE ARE the wives and mothers and teachers! Apparently ( even if they don’t act like it)…….some of those men are listening to us. Take a look out your car window tomorrow if you happen to be on a Texas highway and thank Lady Bird for her beautiful influence. Too bad about Eve though.