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Showing posts from 2012

the annual REAL christmas letter

The Christmas letter is a dying tradition. I guess everyone is too busy hiding and posing their elf to recap the year. But good riddance I say. Because these letters are mostly a load of crap. Or atleast only a teensy bit like real life. The highs. What we want people to see. Or know. Or be jealous of. Showing off and one upping each other.Years ago, I talked with a friend who had had a particularly rough year and we joked….what if people wrote REAL Christmas letters. What if we said the good things, but also the bad. What if we showed people who we really were…..and then we listed some horrible things, like my son brought home straight Cs, or we have managed to rack up some impressive credit card debt…or I’m not so sure this marriage thing is really for us. We laughed, but I’m thinking those kinds of letters might be a whole lot more interesting to read. So after that I started writing REAL letters. And of course, I still hold a little back…and I’m a pretty positive girl so it is har…

Thanksgiving status

November is apparently the official month of thanks. I am reminded of this every single time I check my Facebook and people's daily status.
And I have to admit it is better reading than comments about the latest election or that they just made 2 dozen blueberry muffins from a recipe on Pinterest. Because I believe in gratitude and counting blessings even if it is not my daily status, I have gone a little old school and every morning am filling a journal with  20+ things that I am thankful for. Every single day. This constant thanks giving makes me look for it and helps to chase off the sad that occasionally tries to sneak back in. And some days 20 things feels like an awful lot to be thankful for. Even from a girl with at least that many pairs of shoes.

If you know me, or have reads this blog for long you know that i have a heart for homeless people. My church goes downtown and offers the gift of hospitality to them once a month and I used to be a regular. But recently my Saturday…

another cheap gift

Exactly fifteen years ago – I had butterflies and a new guy that I thought about all the time. We’d already shared a sloppy first kiss in the park across from my apartment. Talked music, soccer and movies we wanted to see. He pretended to watch Party of Five and watched me play soccer in the rain which meant I was pretty sure he liked me. But. It was still really new. Too new for things like birthdays. I have a tendency to overdo things. And even though I was totally and completely smitten I didn’t not want to screw it up with a big over the top birthday. I also didn’t want to screw it up by not doing enough. I was 19 and these were the things that kept me up at night. What to get my new love interest that I wasn’t even sure I could call my boyfriend yet. Without scaring him off and still totally impressing him. I remember leaving a copy of the new Rolling Stone, a mix cd and a bag of peanut butter M&Ms in his truck.

I guess it worked.
Because 15 years later I am still wonderin…

loosening my grip

Most of my favorite conversations happen over cake. Usually with coffee or wine. I licked frosting off my fingers and talked apprehensively about something in my life I wasn’t sure of. Something I wanted desperately, but wasn’t quite sure that I trusted.
My friend put her fork down, and opened up her hand. Palm up. And said this, “Hold it loosely”.I nodded. Took another sip and we moved on to other important topics like running shoes and T. Swift.

Later that night when I crawled into bed and my thoughts began to run wild I reigned them in a little with that idea. Holding the things I value loosely. Carefully. With a willingness to let them go. Or at least admit that they aren’t really mine. I looked it up online and stumbled across this quote from a Chuck Swindoll book:

“I'll never forget a conversation I had with the late Corrie ten Boom(a holocaust survivor. She said to me, in her broken English, "Chuck, I've learned that we must hold everything loosely, because when I…

there is no I in team

Saturdays are spent hauling lawn chairs and water bottles. Watching from the sidelines. Cheering and chatting with the other moms as my kids run up and down the soccer field. Or on the couch grading papers while my college team has another average year on the football field. My husband follows even more teams, he TiVos premier leaugue soccer, MLS, baseball and any other sport that they will show on TV. We support our local teams, our college team and more than occasionally the underdog.

We all want someone to root for. And someone to root for us.
Even better than cheering on your favorite team is being a part of one.Up until my senior year of high school – I suited up for the tennis team. But tennis is really an individual sport. Even if you are wearing matching windpants. Occasionally I played doubles – but two is more of a duo –not so much a team. Senior year, title IX, and my school started a girls soccer team. No one had ever heard of Mia Hamm even though she had already won her …

what she said

The other night my 4 year old came home with homework. Ugh.
Homework.
Which is already a beating to get through with my 7 year old. Who is kind of dorky and actually likes reading books about spiders and asks me to make up 4 digit numbers for him to add and subtract.
My 4 year old is much more interested in Justin Beiber, the boy down the street, squinkies, tutus and anything with glitter than she is about numbers, letters, or even writing her own name. As far as colors go – she only cares about pink and purple and makes up her own stories to any books I try to read her anyways. And they better have a princess in them.

I was not ready for two rounds of homework. For two kids sitting at the kitchen table whining about their pencil not being sharp enough or not knowing what to do next. And Tess was particularly helpless on her little worksheet that asked her to circle six of each item because they were not pink, they were not Justin Beiber, and there was no dancing or princesses of any…

100 miles

Lately, I have been trying to do one thing at a time.
Sort of. Well at least less of 20 things at a time. Less texting while driving. Less playing while working. And less trying to improve everything in my life all at once. So, I took a little advice ala Gretchen Rubin and focused on one area or thing a month.
This month’s goal was specific. Run 100 miles.

And I’ve been a runner for years. Even though that doesn’t roll off the tongue too easily…the “I am a runner” part. Because someone who wears double digit pant sizes and runs double digit minute miles hardly seems to qualify as a runner. But, I have lost count of the number of races I have finished, I’ve taken ice baths and lost a few toe nails…even before this month’s undertaking. So, I’ll say it again. I am a runner.
However, I doubt I have ever logged that many miles in thirty days.Partly because it isn’t just me -there are little kids and afterschool pick up lines and getting to work before the sun and soccer practices and dance…

My drawers

Her son brushed his teeth, and then went to close the drawer. His mom had slipped out of the room to tuck his younger sister into bed. I looked down to see a tiny plastic container with just a few toiletry items inside. I tried teasing him and asking if the makeup inside was his. He giggled and said that it was his mom's drawer. Then pointing to the one on the opposite side was his dad's. And I thought to myself,  no way does this family of four share a single bathroom. I don't even like sharing toothpaste with my husband.

And it had been a good night. An evening spent with an old friend, but to be honest it wasn't quite the night that I had envisioned. I was in town for a conference and she had picked me up from my posh hotel for dinner. And instead of taking me to local eatery and laughing over a bottle of wine, she pulled into her inner city neighborhood. Like my house, there was chalk all over her driveway and multiple scooters strewn in the front lawn. Unlike min…

Lift

I have what I like to call an inherited fear of heights. Which means I close my eyes on roller coasters and stay away from the edge of balconies.

I love plane tickets and getting my passport stamped and new places.
"Going on a 'venture" as Tess would say.
But that usually means finding myself at 18000 feet in the air.

I like airports for people watching. And the trapped feeling. That you really can't be doing much productive...so you might as well plug in your headphones and read a book. Or five. Or take a nap on those ushaped pillows that aren't really comfortable anyways.

I do most of my flying alone so there is the topic of seatmates.....
But on this particular flight...my kids are on board and fascinated by everything. The tray tables. The sky mall magazine. The teeny tiny bathrooms. The beverage carts that keep running over my feet. And my son is staring out the window at the wings asking how it works. How it gets in the air and doesn't fall back down. …

pick up lines

All day I feel rushed.

Hurried. Behind.
Even after the bell. I rush to get copies. To set out supplies. To put my objectives on the board.
And out the door. To pick up my own student.

And I hurry up to wait. In a ridiculously long line that wraps around the block.
The crossing guard taps on my window to let me know that I have crossed the line.
I check my phone. my facebook. my email.
I wonder if I can grade papers. but last time I tried they just ended up all over my floorboard.

I've always felt lost on my elementary son's campuses. Like I just don't know all the rules that all these other moms have been given. PTA. carnivals. Field trips. I show up. but. I don't know many people and mostly I dont even see the point. and honestly they dont even want me. So i stop going, except when he asks.
And then I move mountains to be there.

But the pick up line I have mostly avoided on a regular basis until this year.
My husband drops off. And in the past I have picked up la…

room to grow

My son has been working on it for weeks. Wiggling, pushing his tooth back and forth with his tongue sometimes even until it bled. And I couldn’t have been more ready for it to fall out. His first top tooth fell out about a week ago, and the lone one left was hanging on by a thread. Pointing the complete wrong direction. I sent him to school day after day with this crooked snaggletooth praying it would be gone by the time I picked him up. Until finally, yesterday he pried it out and came running triumphantly to my room before 7 am, tiny tooth in hand. On a Saturday. It is hard to fake excitement before I have had coffee and he has lost enough teeth by now that the tooth fairy is ready to take on a second job just to keep up. And even without my contacts in, I could see the Grand Canyon of gaps across the top of his mouth and I suddenly couldn’t get enough of his gummy grin. It reminds me of his guy:
And I know that soon, this big empty space will be filled with 2 giant grown up teeth …

tan lines

Today I was the first day back to work, and as I was pulling on my khakis I noticed something. Tan lines.
On my backside. My much lower backside.
And I’m used to tan lines.
Tank top, bathing suit back, and even the horrible knee sock soccer referee lines I sported back in college.
But these particular lines haven’t shown themselves since I was a teenager.  And for good reason.

I have never been too into my body or appearance. I work out regularly, but I rarely try the new fad diet. I spend more cash on coffee than I do clothes. The seasons change more often than I get my hair cut and a single tube of mascara can last me years.

Ignoring something is not the same as embracing it. The truth is I could lose a good 20 lbs. I wish I knew how to put on eye liner the right way. I’d get a massage weekly if I could afford it. And I’d rather have a pelvic exam than go bathing suit shopping. Or wear one in front of people. And if I have to, I am covering up my pasty white thighs that are too big.…

5%

I like to have friends with skills I don’t have. How to change a tire.
Bake.
Brew a really good cup of coffee.
Those things come in handy.

I also have quite a number of friends who are amazing photographers.
And since I have ridiculously cute kids, they keep me and my house in studio quality prints. Usually for the cost of dinner or a bottle of wine. Sometimes even less.
I am spoiled. Completely. I know.

So when one of these super photographer friends asked me to “model” for her I agreed to whatever she wanted. As long as I got to keep my clothes on.
She talked about this shoot for months.
Her “vision”. Hair. Makeup. Accessories. A dress. Lighting. Location.
All very artsy. And over my head and I was pretty sure she had pegged the wrong model for this shoot. I am more of a baseball cap kind of girl than what she was describing.
I just told her to tell me where and when to show up. And to expect me to be a bit awkward behind the camera but that I’d try my best.

She has shot my family d…

lines

I hate lines. Sometimes I will leave a store without what I want because the lines are too long. I will often go eat else where than wait the 20 minutes to be seated.
Patience is not one of my virtues. The thought of spending hours in line at six flags to ride a 30 second roller coaster is not even a little bit my idea of a fun afternoon. And just thinking about going to Walmart gives me a rash.

Even less than I like waiting in line, is making them. Drawing them.
I am not the best disciplinarian in my house. Or my classroom. And I do think discipline is good and necessary and usually out of love. However, I always struggle with my role in it. I struggle to be the one doling it out.

I live my life more in a continuum than on a particular side. I hate picking sides.

So yesterday. When everyone was posting away on facebook about chick fil a, I went to a zumba class (go ahead laugh, everyone in the same room did!) and ate leftovers for dinner.

And was relieved to wake up this morning w…

sup

A few weeks ago I had a pretty perfect weekend in mansion (if it has an elevator and it is totally a mansion!) on the lake. As part of the package, there was also a 3 hour stand up paddle board less thrown in.
I was very excited about this. And equally nervous about making a big fat fool of myself.First off, most of my friends are like semiprofessional athletes not to mention younger and skinnier! One dances in NYC. Another medals in triatholons. And the fact that I’d have to wear a bathing suit for it did not help my confidence level. Now is also a good time to disclose that I have a love/hate relationship with the B word. Balance.

However, the whole idea seemed beachy and dreamy to me.  My husband is a mountain man. He likes to go where the air is thinner. And ski and fish and get altitude sickness. I like those things (minus the atltitude sickness), but I love the water. I spent summer vacations at the beach, long summers on the Guadalupe, weekends on a sailboat and love everything a…