Saturday, March 31, 2018

Day 31

Right now I am reading Cilla Lee-Jenkins, Future Author Extraordinaire by Susan Tan. It is about a little girl who wants to be an author. This reminds me of the 10 year-old me who wanted to be an author when she grew up. I wrote stories and poems. I entered contests. I wrote for my school newspaper. Somehow, though, the dream of being a writer changed into being a teacher. Luckily, I became a teacher of writing (6th grade language arts to be exact). As my career has changed (I am now an intervention teacher), I miss teaching writing. As my life has has become focused on being a mother, a wife, a teacher, a community member, etc. etc. etc., my writer self is still there, but sits on a shelf for most of the year. Enter the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life March challenge.

This is the time of the year that I get to take my writer self off of the shelf and nurture that part of myself. I think about writing--what I will write, how I will write, when I will write a lot during the month of March. I begin the month with excitement and a list of possible topics. I end the month with thirty-ish pieces of my life captured forever. Looking back over the past four years, I have quite the collection of memories and experiences.

Sometimes it has been difficult to capture the words floating around my head into comprehensible sentences to truly and fully describe how I feel.

Sometimes the words flow easily onto the screen.

Sometimes the pieces are funny and inconsequential (like pee on the toilet seat), and sometimes they capture something poignant and important (friendship, marriage, motherhood). Either way, I don't want to forget those moments captured.

I spend time reading what others write and that inspires me. I learn and connect from the rest of this amazing writing community, and for that I am better. To all of those reading this--thank you for that.

And so, on the last day of March, I close with appreciation in my heart for every minute spent on this challenge--writing, reading, thinking.

My writer self is renewed, invigorated and reminded of the power of our words and just getting out the thoughts and the memories and the moments.

Until next year, my friends...

Friday, March 30, 2018

Letter to my Sons

Dear Boys,

I love you both. We have to talk about what happens in the bathroom, though. I am beginning to regret that we ever taught you how to pee standing up. In fact, if you could start sitting down when you pee, that would be great. 

Do you remember when I showed you the Clorox wipes under the sink so that when you peed on the seat, you could wipe it up? I would really appreciate it if you started using those wipes when you pee on the seat. And just for the record, I really don't think it's your sister peeing on the seat. 

I am not sure how the amount of pee that doesn't make it into the toilet seems to go unnoticed. I feel like I missed the toilet by that much, I would know. Do you know how many times I have wondered, "How did the pee get all the way over here?" Please aim. While we are at it, your overall focus could be so much better in there. Think about getting it INTO the toilet. I have Cheerios you can use to help you aim if you would like. 

I wipe up a lot of pee. Pee on the toilet seat, the wall, the floor. I would like to not have to clean up that much PEE so that I have time to do other, more meaningful things. In fact, maybe it is time for you to learn how to clean the bathroom. Yes. It is time. I will contact you soon to set up your bathroom-cleaning-training. 

Thank you for your assistance in this manner. 

Much love,


Thursday, March 29, 2018

Trader Joe's

The closest Trader Joe's is about 45 minutes from my house, so it had been a long while since my last visit to the cheery grocery store. I recently read a blog post about favorite Trader Joe items, and I have been wanting to try many of the items on the list (including the French vanilla ice cream and Churn wine--both of which I left with today). The kids and I went to the children's museum not far from there, so it was a convenient time to visit. As we stepped through the doors, we were greeted by colorful spring flowers. A bunch of daffodils quickly found its way into our cart. My youngest child lit up at the sight of the child-sized carts. Against my better judgement, I said, "Sure, grab the cart. But stay close to me." I only had to remind her of this eight times. Like I said, it was against my better judgement.

We grabbed the typical grocery items--fruit, veggies, chicken, milk, pasta. Like a kid in a candy store, I started looking at all of the fun Trader Joe's items I REALLY came here to buy. I found raisin rosemary chips and plantain chips and pre-made pizza crust. I reminded my three children to stay close and, "Please watch out for other people." As much as I love Trader Joe's, it is small and not conducive to three young children. I grabbed a few new-to-me items in the freezer section (tempura shrimp and mango-sticky rice spring rolls). A lovely-looking berry tart also found its way into my cart. My six-year-old son tried a sample of quiche and picked out chipotle-toscano cheese to try. He likes spicy.

We headed to check-out, and I have to say, everyone who works at Trader Joe's is helpful and cheerful. My daughter helped unload the cart while the checker engaged my sons in conversation about the Yoda figurine on display and what they were up to today. We took the bags to the car and continued about our day.

For those of you interested--the French vanilla ice cream and the berry tart were totally worth the small aisle space.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

A Spring Break Day

I am borrowing a format I read during this year's Slice of Life Challenge. Below are mini-slices, brief glimpses, from day two of Spring Break. I have time stamped them for perspective. It really was an awesome day.

7:00: I slept in!! I made myself a cup of coffee and settled on the couch for a little reading and writing to begin my day.

8:30: I returned from a quick run--lots to do today, so it was abbreviated but I'm so glad glad I squeezed it in. I love how I feel post running.

10:00: I have my three kiddos plus one and we are off to the trampoline park to meet friends.

11:30: These trampolines bring the kids so much joy. My oldest one figured out how to flip today. Eek!

1:30: My friend and I took six children (ranging from age 4-8) for sushi. First time for all of the kids. They put us in the back room (big surprise there). Five of the six kids tried it. Two really liked it, one kind of liked it, one did not like it and one picked all the meat out, "because I don't like the rice and the green stuff." My friend and I patted ourselves on the backs for an experiment that turned out all right. I mean, no one cried. Success. Seriously, that sushi experience could have been a slice all by itself. This really was a highlight of Spring Break.

3:00: I splurged for cupcakes for the kids because they ate sushi and nobody cried.

5:00: I am sitting at the kitchen table at my mom and dad's house, enjoying an adult beverage and catching up with them while the kids are playing games. Visiting my parents kind of feels like a mini-vacation.

6:00: My mom's lasagna is the best.

9:00: I am hanging out with my husband and my parents. The kids have gone to bed. My pajamas are on. Life is good.

Spring Break is the best.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Super Uncool Mom

Do you remember when you were a kid and a song would come on and your mom (or dad) had NEVER heard the song before and you would think, "My parents are so lame. They don't even know who __________ is." That was me today. Only, I wasn't the super hip kid. I was the super unhip parent. I'm not even sure if unhip is a word, but that was me today.

I assumed I would embarrass my kids at some point in their lives, just for the simple fact I exist. Moms are so embarrassing. I also assumed that I would be somewhat up on the music--that I would KNOW what the kids are listening to these days. I was wrong.

Today, my son had a play date with his BFF. As I was driving the BFF home, I told him it was his turn to pick a song. He said, "Thunder." Thunder???? I was clueless--no idea. I was thinking in my head, "Thunder Rolls?  No, that can't be it." So I asked him who sang the song. He gave me this look like, "Duh!! How do you not know that???" He informed me that it was Imagine Dragons. I am slightly familiar with them as my son likes the song "Believer" and knows how to work Alexa and Amazon Music, so I have head this song enough to sing along to it. As my own song looked at me with the same, "Duh!" expression on his face, I knew it had happened.

I am not nearly as cool as I thought I could be. Somebody go ahead and find me some mom jeans. :-)

A Cup for my Coffee

I open the cabinet to grab a cup for my morning coffee. Handwritten on the cup is, "Best friends forever, never apart. Maybe in distance but never in heart." I smile. This is so true.

I think of us in college, laughing on bar stools, dreaming about the future.

I think of her moving across the ocean to follow her heart.

I think of standing next to her on the day she was married overlooking the sea.

I think of introducing her to my infant son, and the joy in her eyes as she met him.

I think of the laughter.

I think of our kids playing together so naturally--growing up together through these summer visits.

I think of the comfort I felt when I heard her voice on the phone outside of my husband's hospital room on one of the most difficult days of my life.

I think of the wine we drink, the stories we tell, and the laughter that rings out when we sit with our husbands and catch up after a year of being apart.

I think of all the talks we have had about motherhood, husbands, teaching, family relations, life.

I think of how understood I feel. She gets me. She accepts me. Unconditionally.

I think that the ocean that separates us really isn't that big.

I think of how necessary she is in my life.

My kindred spirit, my best friend.

Sunday, March 25, 2018


I slip on my running shoes, put my earbuds in, choose music and off I go. The air is cold, the scenery still. A lot of brown on my horizon, but still beautiful. Spring is not yet showing. And honestly, the way the wind is howling around inside my hood, it is not feeling like spring either. 

When I run, I am taking care of myself. Physically and emotionally. This is for me. It is for no one else. I think. I don't think. I sing. I remember. I work through what I need to work through. Sometimes I walk.  I always feel better when I am done.

When I run, I listen to a lot of 90's hip hop music. Sometimes I wave my arms around like I just don't care. 

When I run, I am not fast. And that is okay. A mile is a mile, no matter how many minutes it takes.

When I run, I am doing something I never thought I could do. Running? I was never a runner. A mile seemed impossible. What else can I do that I never would have thought possible? 

When I run, I am reminded that I can do hard things. I can set goals and meet them one 1/4 mile at a time. And even if I don't meet the goal, I still accomplished more than had I stayed at home. Sometimes you just have to show up. 

When I run, I learn that many things in life get easier. Not easy. Easier. 

Today while I was running, I thought, Running is like writing--the more you do it, the better you get. That is the whole point of this month-long make writing a practice our get better...and to get our words on the page (or screen). 

When I run and when I write, I am making a commitment to myself to show do hard matter how fast I am or how lovely my word choice is...because it will get easier...and I will get better.