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Showing posts from 2013

spin cylce

College Station is the land of tradition. I’m not Aggie….but I like to make up my own.
In the middle of town there is a big giant big open Christmas tree made out of lights. Most people just drive through the park. But I always like to get out and go stand under it. Right in the middle. And spin.
I probably started this self imposed tradition with a good buzz as a teenager and didn’t need to spin to make the lights all run together. And I have to admit it kind of feels like flying.
Spinning, swirling, lights blurring, like one of those speedy action shots in a big city.

I didn’t know this was unusual until I asked some friends to spin right in the middle of the Garylord Texan and they stared at me like I was crazy. One reluctantly put her arms out, the other I am pretty sure prayed that no one would see us. I didn’t care who was watching, I wanted to feel like that. Like flying. Like I was somehow right in the middle of all that light.
Maybe even a little bit like I was home.



Santa brought Owen a go-kart.
Santa was reluctant, despite Mrs. Claus’s pleadings that it is what he asked for and that this might be the last year he believes in him. And doesn't he have any Christmas spirit. Even a little bit. Santa was caught up in details, like who was going to put it together, how safe it was, how were we going to get it under the tree and the hefty pricetag.
Mrs. Claus only thought of her son excited on Christmas morning or driving little circles around our cul-de-sac and sent him text after text that they were on sale. And to hurry up before they were all gone.

We did Christmas morning a day early at our house. Due to Santa’s demaning travel schedule and things like how impossible it would be a to sneak an entire person sized gokart into my car before heading over the river and through the woods. He was not as excited as Mrs. Claus had hoped.
His sleepy eyes took it for a few spins around the living room and then we all piled into our real car and headed S…

The annual REAL Christmas letter

I started writing REAL Christmas letters about 5 years as ago. As a joke, in response to all the fake and cheesy ones people send out about how perfect their lives appeared on paper. A friend and I laughed about how refreshing it would be if people wrote real Christmas letters. Confessed to filing for bankruptcy or their kids straight C report card. A place where they shared the highs, but didn't ignore the lows. It would be way more honest and a whole lot more entertaining.

Most people don't write Christmas letters any more, and the Christmas cards themselves have even started to dwindle. These days we do not save our perfect lives for yearly updates. We post them in our Facebook status and on Instagram 365 days a year. And I am just as guilty. I post pictures of my kids scoring a soccer goal, not the giant tantrum they threw in the Target checkout line because I refused to buy those little toys they put on the bottom shelf. (Well played Target). I post pics of my perfect cu…

make like a tree

Something rare and unusual happened this year where I live.
Here, we usually we go straight from summer to a few ice storms that we like to call winter. Spring is also known as Tornado Season and then we go right back to summer’s so hot you can literally fry an egg on your driveway and make cookies on your dashboard. (I have done both).

But Autumn around here usually lasts about a week. That small sliver of time that Target takes down the Halloween decorations and puts up the Christmas ones.
This year, however, the crisp weather has lasted a little bit longer. Even if it is erratic. One week I am bundled up in blankets, coats and hats in the freezing rain for my girl’s soccer game, and the next I am worried that I should have put sunscreen on her.
Two Sundays ago my kids rolled up their pants, slipped off their shoes and played in the new fountains downtown for well over an hour. They were soaked. My son laid out his shirt to dry in the sun while we licked the frosting off our…

Rocks for jocks

I have zero interest in rocks. None. Unless it is one on my finger, and even then I don't really care that much about carrots or cut.
Whoever wrote my degree plans, however, thought I should take a few geology classes in both undergrad and grad school. For multiple semesters in college I sat through lectures on rocks, the age of the Earth, talked about fossils and what really killed off the dinosaurs.
I stayed awake. But. Just barely.
I also remember in labs, having to classify types of rocks. chert, sandstone, obsidian.
A few were pretty...but most were just brown stones to me.
One of the ways we had to identify them was based on the Mohs scale of hardness.
You would scratch the surface of one rock or mineral on another to see which one was harder. The values range from 1 - 10, depending on how easily it is scratched.

In the hospital they always ask you to rate your pain. On a scale of 1-10.

And those scales and numbers and ways of classifying things are useful. Sometimes.



Somehow over, “Mom I need to tell you something” which my daughter says no less than 347 times a day and the radio…I heard a sickening crunch. The one that sounds like money and insurance claims and fiberglass bending in ways it shouldn't.
Even though I couldn’t see a thing, I was pretty sure that I had just backed into something.
And yes, my car does have one of those little back up mirrors. Apparently I need one that beeps as well.
I pulled forward and got out to inspect the damage.
It was dark and late and all I want to do on a Friday night is crawl into bed, so I never noticed that some little car slipped into a space perpendicular to my own. So close in fact that I couldn’t back out at all and eventually would have to move cones out of the way to escape through the front.
Immediately I saw a volleyball size dent in the side of the parked car.
I looked around and the parking lot was empty. Everyone was still inside the stands intently waiting for the second half of t…

pablo and maria

I love summer. I love the smell of chlorine on my kids skin and sunscreen and an excuse to eat ice cream every single day. Not setting the alarm and no nagging papers that I should be grading. Time to actually eat breakfast. To stay up late. Time to put away the laundry and be completely caught up on my TiVo daily. Going out on a weeknight. I even like all the sweating.
Summer is my season.

The summer before last was pretty epic (and I know I am too old to use that word and be taken seriously). But, really it was uh-mazing. I spent a week in the mountains, a week in Vancouver and pretty much the rest of the time at the pool and the lake. It left a lot to live up to. I pushed through a long Spring and an exhausting school year just trying to make it. To summer. I had high hopes for cleaning out my house. Room by room. All the lessons I would plan. All the friends I would see and all the adventures my family would have.

And it was a big fat let down.

June couldn't have sucked more.

Are zombies nice?

For months now my daughter has been playing an annoying little game, asking me if everything is nice or not.
From the back seat I hear, " mom, are cats nice?"
"Most are, but you should always ask the owner or approach a pet carefully."
"So some cats are bad?"
"Not necessarily, some just don't want to be petted."

I turn up my music back up.

But again, she pipes up from the backseat, "princesses are nice right?"
"Well, I've never met one but I'd guess most of them are nice."

And it goes on like this for weeks.
"Are grasshoppers nice? Are frogs nice? Is the neighbor's dog nice? Are zombies nice? My American girl doll? Chickens?"

"Yes. Yes. Yes. No. The price isn't. They make nice nuggets."

"What about a tiger?"
"Well, a tiger might try to eat you."
"So it is mean?"
"Not necessarily, it just might be hungry."

Owen growing even more annoyed than I am…


Dear Owen,

You have gotten used to sleeping in all summer. Not wearing shirts or shoes that require laces. 6:30 am will come as a rude awakening. Your dad will wake you up. Hopefully give you the outfit I picked out and give you a poptart or eggo or something, because chances are good you will all be in a hurry and grumpy. But hopefully he will remember to get a quick picture of you before you go. Because it is a momentous day.

Your first day of third grade. And third grade seems so much bigger and older but still has just a bit of that innocence left. Like you still might like me to be the chaperone on your field trip or show up to eat lunch with you in the cafeteria. And I am well aware that these days are numbered.

I don't want to do the math on how long ago my own third grade days were. They warned us that third grade would be hard. There were times tables, long division and cursive writing to learn. And I want you to learn those things (except for long division, I think that…


I am easily inspired and influenced.
Once I watched an omni movie about climbing Mr. Kilamanjaro and suddenly I wanted to climb a giant mountain. (sidenote - I hate peeing outside). I read books on simplicity and I take half the things in my closet to goodwill. (sidenote - I have a small zulily addiction).  I watch an episode of the barefoot contessa and suddenly I want to throw a dinner party. (sidenote - I hate cleaning my house which can put a damper on having people over). I go to the gym and suddenly I want arms like Jillian Micheals. (I hate protein shakes and group fitness classes scare me). I read some Shane Claiborne and suddenly want to quit my job and serve homeless people. ( sidenote -I love Starbucks, my job and do not know how to sew on a button much less my own clothes). The workshops and speakers that 90% people I work with roll their eyes at and think are silly make me want to take notes and be the next Ron Clark (sidenote - It is summer but I'm pretty sure that …

with room

Preface: I have been pretty absent in this place for a while. Writing has been a struggle. Something I want to do, yet I just don't. I think it is less about the writing and more about reisisting being seen. They are both getting harder.....which makes me feel like I better force myself to do both before I forget how. I'm writing again...but it is a struggle. What is coming out is a little forced. Some are writing exercises. (This was, it said to write for 10 minutes on coffee). But I've been learning something else in this season.... that many of the character traits we admire are not innate. They are practice. I've been re-reading The Gifts of Imperfection, by Brene Brown and she lists 10 traits of people who live wholeheartedly. These traits aren't things we are born with. They are things we chose to practice...over and over...daily to become. I used to think that patience and gratitude and authenticity were those kinds of things. Gifts we were given. Not thing…

wishin and hopin

My kids are constantly asking me for quarters. They want to put them in anything that has a slot for it and a nob to turn. I swear you could put broccoli in those coin machines and my kids would beg for change and gobble it up.
I remember being the same way. Always wanting the crap in the little machines strategically placed by the exit of most restaurants and grocery stores. My dad usually had a pocket full of change and more often than not handed it over so I could buy stickers, jewelry that turned my fingers green and gum so hard and stale that I am lucky I didn't break any teeth.
Eventually I outgrew this and realized that these machines were full of crap and I started placing my change in denim purse zipper pocket to save for more important things like a banana fudge popsicle or a giant pickle at lunch. Later when I turned 16 the change pooled in the cupholders of my car for half price drinks at Sonic or 59cent tacos. In college quarters were in even higher demand saved for …

Like riding a bike

Sometimes when I am overwhelmed I just start typing. And often I don't even know how I feel until I see it typed on the screen. The words fly out faster than my fingers can keep up. I rarely take the time to capitalize letters or spell things correctly. I just type. Because  somehow everything seems to make more sense when I do.

My son on the other hand, seems to be physically in pain any time he has to write something that comes from his head rather than from the passage. If you ask him to write 10 things about spiders --he would write 20, but If you ask him to write about his day or favorite food he gets a stomach ache, breaks his pencil, and just stares at the blank page. I try to help him offering topics, ideas, even leading sentences.
He tells me that they won't work.
They they are no good.
That he can't write about that.
That I don't know what a "hook" is. Or that it isn't "expository" writing.
These are the nights of homework I dread.


The hospital hall looked long and daunting and I stepped into a bathroom to wait out the contraction. Because by this point walking and talking through them was out of the questions. I didn’t bother to change out of my pajamas because I was certain, despite the steady and consistent pain coming every few minutes. That this was a false alarm. The nurses were going to send me right back home. Clearly, I didn’t know a single thing. About labor or being a mom.
Eventually I made it to triage and realized that I wasn’t going anywhere. I was dilated and this kid was ready to make an appearance. A few short hours, and an epidural later, I was at a 10. But she told me not to push. That the baby was not in the right place or location or something like that. All I know is that it hurt like hell and that I had thrown up for the first four months of my pregnancy. I was down to about one pair of pants and two shirts I was comfortable in and I could not sleep for more than 45 minutes without gettin…

happy plates and kangaroos

My daughter occasionally tells me that she made a happy plate. Which I predict is a phrase she learned at school to encourage them to eat everything that they are given.
Which I'm also guessing is something that doesn't happen very often unless they serve up regular doses of Oreos, chicken nuggets, French fries, and crazy bread. Because that is pretty much what my daughter considers a balanced meal.

My son will eat anything except chocolate. I thought this was due to my fantastic parenting and mature and adventerous palate. Then I had another kid and she blew that theory completely out of the water. Despite the fact that she would be happy to live on a diet of cheetos and fruit snacks, I refuse to really make meals a battle. I'm no short order cook, but if she'd rather eat a corn dog than the pad thai the rest of us are partaking...what is an extra 30 seconds in the microwave. My kids are tiny and I want them to grow, but I know better than to force them to…

on the catwalk

I am afraid of heights. I close my eyes on roller coasters. I spend most of my time on a ski lift trying to decide If I fell off if I would survive. I choose an aisle seat on an airplane over a window one - even if it means that my big toe will get run over by the beverage cart or I will get woken up every time my seatmate needs to potty. The London Eye made me want to hypervenelate...and didn't feel the need to linger too long on the observation decks of the Sears tower, the Space Needle or the Empire States Building. The Capilon Suspension bridge in Vancuver almost made me throw up. It didn't help that my husband and brother tried to make it sway and bounce as I attempted to make it across while not soiling myself. In the rain.

When I was 11 my parents sent me to camp. Sleep away classic summer camp for most of July. I loved it so much that I went back almost every summer until I was 21 and still keep up with some of the people I met there. I vividly remember pulling in th…