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Showing posts from August, 2010

spitting image

My son is the spitting image of his daddy.They are like little and big versions of the same person.
The only visible difference I can see is my husband has clear blue eyes and my son deep brown.
And it doesn't end with physical traits. He likes Star Wars,Legos, soccer and even Flogging Molly and the Ramones. Just like his dad.
But his crazy. he gets that from me. And I taught him all my moves!

and now some of you might be seeing why my sweet overenergized 5 year was struggling with kindergarten, sitting still, and following directions. But for the update he is starting to figure out school....even though i still haven't mastered the lunch card or the pick up line. We are celebrating 3 stamps (good days) in a row. With a dance party of course.

squeaky clean

Today I went to the dentist.
Problem, the last time I remember going I was pregnant with Tess.
She is about to turn 2.
I pretty much avoid the dentist because…
a) I am not a regular flosser…..unless twice a year counts as regular.
b) I hate having conversations while someone else’s hands are in my mouth.
c) and I am especially afraid of the part where the actual dentist walks in and tells me that I need another crown…or worse. In other words. Empty out your savings, and there is no payment plan.
And my dentist visit today shaped up to lots of the things I avoid.
Long wait in the waiting room with only crappy magazines to read. Forget Ladies Home Journal. Give me some People. I usually have at least 3 books on me at all times, but somehow I managed to leave them in my gym bag, shaun’s truck and dresser.

My hygienist was a little too perky and asked me the same question 4 times. I wondered if she had been hitting the laughing gas. And if she would share.

The lady took 20 Xrays. And I am not …

round after round

A few weeks ago, I had coffee with an old friend.
Actually she is an old student.
One of my firsts and my favorites.
And now she is all grown up and about to take off to join the Peace Corps.
(and I am super jealous)
So we caught up over some joe, while we were both in town.

And our quick cup of coffee turned into over a few hours.
We talked about travel and family and books.
And faith, and doubt.
And she is at that age and stage where it is all exciting.
It is all a book waiting to be written.
Where you can’t help but see God’s hand everywhere you look.

And she has been growing and reading and asking a lot of good questions.
Some of the questions I have been asking myself.
And at least three times she led into conversations with,
“how do you resolve….”
grace, but the gospel’s obvious calls to action.
passion for justice, while friends and family sometimes seem to be more passionate about the new TV lineup, or shopping or whatever.
Trusting and waiting, with going and doing.

And the teacher…

a rough start

The first week of school has been rough.
On Owen.
And Shaun.
And me.

There have been lots of tears.
And not the Monday-I-can’t-believe-my-baby-is-growing-up-kind.
But the bad notes home kind.

And I knew my kid was in for a rude awakening when he hit kindergarten.
And that is partly my fault.
I have a pretty high tolerance for crazy.
And he pushes those limits.

And my kid’s school means business.
And is all about rules.
And sitting still.
Following directions.
And listening.
And not being silly.
Which are all pretty tough for a 5 year old boy.
Especially mine.

Who had to sit out at recess on Day2.
And the notes started coming home.
And I thought I was ready.
But not that soon.
And not when that was the first and only thing I was hearing.
I got to hear about how bad my kid was before I ever got a letter telling home telling me how to add money to his lunch account or what to do when he is absent.
Or even that his teacher is looking forward to the year.

Inside me something horrible welled up.

the first day

I have had 11 first days as a teacher.
And I usually stress over what to wear and what to say,
just like I did in junior high.

But after 11 years I have the first day routine down pretty pat.

Today was Owen's first first day.
And it changed things.

There were a few tears.....but this blog isn't even gonna go there.
In the last school post I wrote about the million questions I had about how it would be or how he would do.

And it all boiled down to one.
Will his teacher love my kid?

Not, what kind of degree does she have?
Nor, What fabulous lesson plans did she come up with?
Not how fun and warm and inviting her classroom looks.
Or even what she is doing to get him ready for the state standarized tests.

But will she see him? Will she encourage him? Will she love him?

And today as my kids filed in.
I passed out syllabi, I showed funny video clips, I occasionally even light things on fire.
But I thought about my little boy with his lego backpack and darth vadar lunch box.
And decided that my show c…

Meet the teacher

People keep asking me how I am or if I am going to cry.
And few weeks ago, I kept saying no.
I mean, I am used to dropping Owen off everyday at school. Or I’m at least used to Shaun dropping him off.
I am used to school. I do it everyday.
But. The first day is Monday.
His and mine.
And I am not ready. And I don’t just mean that my syllabus isn’t copied and that there are boxes all over my room.
That would be true.
But I am having doubts about my kid entering this world. The kind with lockers and buliten boards and hall passes. And tests.
A world where from now on, he will be receiving a grade. Where he will be compared, judged, scolded, and ranked.

We met his teacher the other night. Turns out I taught her son not too many years ago. Owen was off playing within seconds with a friend from his soccer team. Tearing the room apart. Ecstatic when he saw a big tub of legos. He will be just fine. But I wasn't so sure about me.
I was suddenly filled with questions.
The basic ones. Like how do I put money…

friday playlist: too much icecream, not enough tunes

captain my captain.

As teachers, every year we sit through convocation.
It is essentially a grown up pep rally.
We all wearing matching shirts and sit with our schools.
Elementary teachers sometimes do “cheers” and get out their clappers.
High school teachers grumble under their breathe, text on their cell phones and some skip out entirely.
Often the speakers ask us say silly things to our neighbor, or worse. Dance. The speakers are usually good. Have written best selling books and tout a lot about building relationships, positive attitudes, raising test scores. Blah.blah.blah.

And this year, we had another well known speaker. I dreaded it, even though I had bought his book not too many years ago. Because I don’t like being packed tightly in a gym when I have so many things to do in my room. I don’t want another person to tell me how positive I need to be. Or that I can make a difference. And I certainly didn’t want to dance.
I came prepared. With my cell phone, sour attitude and matching shirt. I wondered how …


Last night, after a long day of inservice, silly games and speaches about Bloom’s taxonomy, I ended up in my home town.
Where I was headed was just a few blocks from the house I grew up in.
I’m not sure if it was hearing Miranda Lambert’s new song too many times on the way up there, or hearing another friend read a piece about her hometown the night before at writer’s group….
But I turned into the old neighborhood.
Which looked familiar and so different all at the same time.

I once knew these streets like the back of my hand.
I had cruised them on bike and foot and eventually in my first car.
Past the bus stop.
Past old friend's houses.
Until I turned on my street.

My parents haven’t lived here in over a decade.
They moved out soon after I left for college.

I drove by slowly.
And it looked like my old home.
But not.

The same street number blazed on the curb.
It was the same doorstep that I had many good night kisses on.
The same two trees that I used to climb and hang upside down from.

But the flow…

I never

A month or so ago, a friend encouraged me to enter a writing contest with this prompt. I ignored her. Then my writing group picked it as their assignment for the month. I planned on skipping. At the last minute I decided to give it a shot. I wasn't sure what it was about the prompt that bothered me....until I started writing.

I never thought I’d….

That is the prompt.
And I considered skipping the assignment entirely.
Even though I always do my homework.
Because I really didn’t know the answer.

A first I just didn’t think I had anything exciting to add.
I haven’t been or done anything amazing.
I have traveled less than I’d like.
And I’m grateful that tragedy hasn’t touched me too closely.

And I told someone else that I hadn’t written my response because I never really had my life all mapped out to begin with.
Not really.
But I did follow the typical path.
College. Marriage. Career. More college. Baby. Another baby.
And I don’t really know that the next step is.

But the honest truth is that my lif…

final day and friday playlist

ok last day of camp.
and I am worn out. completely drained.
out of some pictures and tunes will have to suffice.

and a note about the tunes. urban impact week took me back to my urban roots.
well sort of.
at least me driving around in my country club neighborhood with the windows down blaring this music out of my stereo.
be warned -- i think all of these songs are parental advisory and completely offensive. these are nothing close to the sleepy churcy songs I usually post.
and don't worry, i grew out of it.

Did I leave any "classics" out??

altered part two

Camp day 3. (feel free to catch up here and here)

The kids are comfortable.
A little too comfortable.
We are all hot and tired and kind of getting a little short with each other.
Names are easy to remember.
I know my way around.
I don't feel lost anymore.
There is more than enough food at lunch today and it is good.
There are even brownies.
I try not to notice that some of the kids are wearing the same clothes they wore yesterday.

It is pretty obvious that some of the camp summer work staff (not ours) is less than thrilled to have us here.
I’m sure they are nearing the end of their summer, and let’s face it.
They are used to rich white church camp kids.
Not kids with tattoos and nipple rings and foul mouths.
The staff is a little low on patience and understanding.
The counselor I am working with wins major props with me for telling off a life guard for basically being a jerk to our kids.
Because by now. On day three, they are very much our kids.
Also, maybe bb guns ( loaded bb guns) might not be t…

camp day2: not enough

One thing about camp that I was least looking forward to was eating in the cafeteria.
Well we are eating IN the cafeteria, but not going through the line.
I guess to save money.
Yesterday there was a big box of hot dogs, and chips and Capri Suns.
I was still pretty hungry after my one hot dog.
Today I was hoping for pizza.

Instead there were trays of chicken nuggets, another of hashbrowns (odd combo) and another box of clementines. I saw two volunteers frantically making plates as kids filed in and found tables. I went to help. Since I wasn’t wearing gloves they told me to pass out oranges. I reached into the box and felt something a little gooey. Not what I expected with oranges. The first few I pulled out were moldy. Something green and fuzzy was growing on the outside. I almost gagged. I started to let someone know, but figured they already did. So I pulled out most moldy ones and set them aside. I brushed the fuzz off the others and started passing them out.
I started to tell the other …

camp day 1

I have always been a camp girl.
But it has been almost a decade since I have done anything other than look at old photographs.
This week I am back at camp.
Urban Challenge Week.
Which is really just a nice way of saying kids from area shelters and a children’s home.
I have been looking forward to it all summer.

Until I went to orientation last week.
And after learning more than I ever wanted to know about sexual predators and promised not to give anything but side hugs and to wear a one piece bathing suit.
I started to worry a little bit about the heat.
It has been 106+ for like the last two weeks.
And they said the camp has very little shade. And there will be lots of walking.
And a little bit about the urban part. What will they think of a middle aged white girl?
I am not 21 anymore. These kids aren’t going to think I am cool.
And maybe, like most non-profit organizations, they go a little easy on the organization.

So I showed up ready to go this morning.
Keep in mind I know no one.
I know where n…

friday playlist: so hot you could cook an egg

my favorite scar

When I was ten I fell on a piece of glass and sliced open my left hand.
The scar is thick and a little lumpy because I waited too long to get stitches.
On my other hand is larger white scrappy scar from a bike injury. The involved me trying to beat the boys.
My knees are thick with scars. More bikes, tennis courts and plain old clumsy.

My son has a few already and he gladly shows them off.
They are a testament to his toughness.
The one on his back shows that he did in fact survive jumping (and falling off the bed).
There is one on his chin that the ER doctors glued shut – we no longer practice diving in the bathtub.
And a little one on his hairline that received a few staples.

But I have a favorite scar.
It is about 6 inches across and marks a thin pink raised line across my lower abdomen.

My son’s delivery ended in an emergency c-section.
After all the pushing and blood I really didn’t care how he got here.
Even if it involved slicing across my belly and eventually 19 staples.
Every nurse that cam…

things I don't do.

I just finished reading Shauna Niequist’s new book, Bittersweet. And first off, no, this is not a blog tour. I actually paid full price for this book. And it might be the first book that I have paid full price for in years. But it was worth every penny. Really. I could write lots of things about this book, but mostly I just suggest you read it ( or Cold Tangerines if you haven’t already read that). It will make you happier and hungrier ( she talks about good food a lot). One chapter she mapped out the things she does and equally important, the things she doesn’t do. In other words we all have only a fixed amount of energy. When we choose to do something, we are ultimately choosing not to do other things. So it is kind of important to figure out those other things ahead of time. My “things I do” list would be eerily similar to hers and so instead of plagiarizing I’ll only post my “things I don’t do”. And let me clarify – everything on this list is something I used to do, I should do or…


My son is in the why phase.
We’ve been here a while actually.
And most of the time it makes me want to pull my hair out.
I try to give him answers when I can.
Because I think all that asking is part of how he learns.
He is a sponge soaking up every little piece of information that he can.
Even if I think it isn’t important or doesn’t matter.
He wants to know.
The conversations are frustrating because we always get to a point where I don’t know or am exhausted of talking in circles.
And cave in and say just because.
Which oddly enough satisfies him, at least until he thinks of his next question.

If you have never lived with a 4-5 year old something as simple as cooking hamburger meat involves at least a dozen whys.
“Why are you cooking the meat”
So we can eat it?
Because I am hungry and thought you might want dinner?
But Why?
So we can grow and have energy?
Because your cells need energy from food to do work?
…I contemplate talking teaching him about ATP and cellular respiration and the Kreb…