Thursday, May 31, 2012


Here is my final post about last last weekend. And after this, I can move on to last weekend. Which was also fantastic.

But this little moment... this had to be documented on the family blog. Because it's about my baby girl, my brilliant Leah.

Leah has taken the brunt of the move. She's the oldest, and she's the one who I had to remove from quite possibly my favorite place on earth, her old elementary school in our former city. I love my family and friends like you wouldn't believe, but you guys, taking my kid away from that school was equivalent to chopping off my finger. I haven't ever chopped off my finger, but I figure it sucks. This sucked. No, the school is not perfect- no school is perfect. But it was such a good fit for my girl. So much art, acting, music, dance... just a fantastic and unique public school environment. And her best friends were there, and the best teachers... sigh. She really felt the hurt when we moved. Being the oldest, she could totally understand everything she was losing. As a mom, those were hard emotions to walk her through.

I don't often talk about my prayers because they are so very personal. Sometimes when I read about people praying for various things, I wonder what the point is in sharing it publicly (sometimes. Sometimes I totally see the point. Other times I wonder if it's attention-seeking, and that's just plain annoying. Yes, I'm being a judgmental hypocrite. My apologies in advance.). But regardless of all that, I prayed. Prayed and prayed and prayed for a good school for my kids. And I can confidently say that God delivered, because She's cool like that. (I threw in the "she" just to have a little fun. See what I did there?).

Okay, so back to Leah. She had to adjust in a major way to this new school. While her other school focused big-time on the Arts, this school is much more academically oriented. I was sad about that initially, but at the same time realized that we needed to make that academic transition in order for Leah to be challenged. She's a really, really bright kid, and sometimes I feel like I'm not giving her enough to work with. She worked through the adjustment and then soared. Soaked everything in and was hungry for more. It was so great to watch everything click for her. She grew by leaps and bounds this year, and while some days she was exhausted, she really enjoyed the faster learning pace.

So when her teacher pulled me aside one afternoon and told me that I HAD to be at the Elementary Awards Day, I almost lost it. Because she's the "new girl." She had to catch up. She had to deal with moody girls who didn't like the new girl initially. She had to leave everything behind for a scary new world. But she did it. She got through it and succeeded, and now her teacher was telling me that this kid, my daughter, was getting an award. I was stunned and so excited for Leah to feel this honor- because she really, really deserved it this year.

I wasn't sure what award she would be receiving and I kept it all a secret from her. We snuck into the ceremony and got to hear our Dean of Behavior say a few opening remarks (oh SNAP I LOVE that this school has a dean of behavior! you WILL behave little ones! bwahahahaha):

The Dean (by the way- this is a public K-12 school, so you know, behavior needs to be addressed a bit more in middle and high school :). But the kids are remarkably awesome, thanks to the fantastic staff!) 
After his remarks, a few awards where given, and then it was time for the second grade teachers to give awards. Here's my girl on stage with her award! She was one of two students to get a MATH award!!!!
She had just been called to the stage and handed her award- my camera wouldn't click fast enough! But I love this image of her smiling down at her certificate :). 

My Math Whiz
I hope my sweet girl remembers this year as a year of triumph. Not just because she got an award- but because she put one foot in front of the other, faced her fears, and worked hard to build new friendships and new knowledge. I'm so, so proud of her!

And that amazing day ended the epic weekend of awesome events.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

moving along... stitches edition

Remember when I said last weekend (not LAST weekend, but the weekend before) was filled up with a whole latta crazy? I wasn't kidding! On Saturday morning, while playing with the babies and helping my youngest sister get ready for her dance rehearsal, my brother Kyle came through the door with a bleeding and crying Pete. He wasn't actually crying that hard, so I thought he just got a little booboo. But a lot of blood was coming from his chin... and there it was, a deep and "meaty" cut. Because we were at my parents' house, and because my dad just happens to be a family doctor who knows how to stitch up wounds, we avoided the ER! Off to the office we went, where Pete was super brave while getting stitches. I love watching my dad stitch people up and I would love to learn that! I'm not sure of nurses learn how to do that, but I'll learn on the side if I have to. I took some pictures with my phone:
brave boy and good doctor! 

all done

glad it's over! 
Did I tell you he fell off his skateboard? Does that remind you of someone else in our family who fell off a skateboard (ahem, Zach) and had to go in an ambulance b/c he couldn't move and busted his head? SOMEONE KEEP US AWAY FROM SKATEBOARDS!

***In other news, our NC legend, Doc Watson, has passed away after a long and musically rich life. His music and "southern mountain music" in general has always spoken to my soul. I love it. I'm not necessarily a "southern girl" as my whole family is from New Jersey and I grew up a little in Washington DC and more in Colorado before moving to NC. I've never really related to the "southern" culture although there are parts of it I love- the simplicity, the kindness, the slower pace. One thing that has always resonated with me is the mountain music. NOT the "hot new country" that is not even music half the time- but the guitar picking, banjo plucking, fiddle picking music that was influenced by Irish immigrants long ago. Doc Watson represented so much of that grassroots music. His music will live on forever! RIP Doc.

Friday, May 25, 2012

10 years of Wedded Bliss

I do have a few more updates from LAST weekend to write about, but today is reserved for our 10th wedding anniversary! We celebrated back in March with a lovely trip to Asheville (based on Zach's school schedule), but  today is the actual day. We had a big, beautiful ceremony filled with white tulips and tons and tons of music. I walked (danced!) down the aisle to Irish fiddle music and my brother's a capella group from Wake Forest, Chi Rho, sang to us throughout the ceremony. Because I'm so old, I have no digital evidence of this day. Also because I'm so old, I can't figure out how to use the scanner, so I just took some pictures of my wedding album to post here. Is that lame? Or just old school? Oh well.

Without further ado, our wedding day:
My sweet bridesmaids! Corrie, Hannah A, Anne, Susan, Cindy, Cara, Hannah VZ

Seeing Zach before the ceremony... not too much bad luck for that move :)

waiting with my girls before the ceremony... love my huge family! 

Love these moments with my mom and dad

Dad walking me down the aisle


we're hitched! 

the whole crew

our college pastors who married us! 

we still like each other

So there's a little glimpse into our celebration 10 years ago! On hollywood standards we've been married for like 50 years, y'all! Thanks to everyone who made that day special and to everyone who has been in our lives since, supporting us through life. None of us can do this alone! Happy Anniversary Zach- my very best friend in this world!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

the weekend: Nieces Edition

Did you know I have TWO awesome nieces? I do. I'm a lucky auntie! I got to see them BOTH this past weekend, making it such a joyful few days.

I got to meet sweet baby Caroline for the FIRST time! Her mommy and daddy (my brother Tyler) were stationed in Alaska when she was born, so I didn't get to meet her until now. Do you remember me asking you to pray for her? She is doing so well. Medicine is working well and she's happy, healthy, and thriving. She is beyond sweet and completely delightful! Ginna is an amazing mommy (hi Ginna!) and I know Tyler is an awesome dad, based on Caroline's pure love for his face, via skype :). She is so adorable! I got to babysit her one night and loved every second of it. Sam decided he didn't totally hate her, or my sweet niece Laela, which we've been struggling with (he does NOT like being dethroned as the "baby" of the family. He's had a realllly hard time with it, poor little dude. But he's dealing with it and getting better :).

Hangin' with Caroline!

the babies meeting for the first time... and their gorgeous mamas

just chillin', getting to know each other ;)

Sammy getting some love from Uncle Kyle, assuring him that he still has a solid "cute" status in the family

Hannah and her fiance, Chase (fellow Romanian adoptee! Yes, that is cool!), holding the babies with Leah. I think Caroline is actually doing a cute little laugh here, but maybe she wanted mama? Regardless: she's awesome. 

Cousins! All together for the first time! 

PopPop chatting with Caroline :)

And relaxing with Laela :)

My Grandparents attempting to get a picture with 5 of their 10 (TEN) Great-grandchildren. TEN! And we're not even Catholic or Mormon! (I have a lot of Catholic and Mormon friends. You all  know I love you and I'm kidding :). Also, it's hilarious, b/c we're the stiff kind of protestants that have no more than 2.4 kids, and here they are, with this many great grandkids... love it!!!) 
So that was the Niece Weekend. So much fun, and so soul-filling to get to have our kids all together. My brother Tyler was sorely missed (Army) but we hope to see him at some point soon. At this point we just want to see his cute kid, anyway ;-).

Our final fun element of the weekend will be blogged about soon. Just in case you're interested. Have a good Wednesday!

Monday, May 21, 2012

so much...

The past week has been nuts! I'll have to update you a few items at a time...

First, my sister Hannah came home from London, where she's been living for a few months. So I've been busy with these little gifts:

these are a few of my favorite things... 
Then that same sister got ENGAGED to her boyfriend, Chase! woot woot! I think they're still 10 though, so maybe they should wait a few years. what's that? They're both over 21? That's impossible!!!

Moving along... Leah had a little recital and did beautifully!

Prima Ballerina

Then, Pete graduated from Kindergarten! (I'm pretty sure he was just born?!?!) 
He INSISTED on wearing his red chucks. He loves these shoes more than anything. Pretty cute! 

waiting to sing... 

while the kindergartners were singing, this is what was going on the back of the gym... 

Shenanigans! Dancing along to the songs :). Sam, "S" (Leah's bff at school), Leah, and "W",  a fellow 2nd grade friend and older bro of one of our soccer players. CUTE KID ALERT. 

That's my boy! (and his teacher- one of the BEST OF ALL TIME!)

growing up fast :). sweet pete! 
That was only the beginning of the weekend... more to come... stay tuned!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Do you love avocados? I LOVE them. I'm developing an addiction. My favorite way to eat them is on toasted (with melted Cheddar) sprouted wheat bread. Just slice one up and throw it on a sandwich. Delicious! But here's the thing. Why don't we do anything with those gorgeous avocado pits? Or maybe we do, and I just don't know about it? They are so beautiful. Like we should be able to make hardwood floors out of those guys. Or at least do something useful with them. Throwing away such beauty seems cruel. (when I'm not super, crazy busy, these are the kinds of thoughts running through my head. I'm interesting to live with).

One more random thought for the day: Fleetwood Mac. One of my favorite bands of all time. I remember sitting in the parking lot of my high school, after having received a mixed tape (yes, I just wrote that) from one of my boyfriends. You see, I did have a few boyfriends before dating Zach. Yes, this is shocking considering we started dating at 16. Also a bit frightening. DAD. Letting your daughter date that young.

Anyway, I would sit there and listen to this music, some of the greatest of all time. I'm so drawn to words- how they are sung, at what pitch, how they weave together to reflect something. Anything. As a teenager trying to figure out who the heck I was, music was my beacon. Still is. Fleetwood Mac was fun and serious and gave me a glimpse into real life, and how it would feel to keep growing up. I thought I wasn't cool, listening to Fleetwood. I hid it in my car, but one day my friend John (fellow moody deep thinker) heard me listening to my tape, and gave me the look of approval. Like, "wow, you are cool. This music is what moody deep thinkers listen to and we are cool." Once I saw that a friend liked them too, my love for Fleetwood grew deeper. I still listen to them all the time- it is perfect music for long runs and reflecting. And remembering the boyfriend who made that mixed tape, and laughing at myself for thinking that guy was worth it :). But hey, thanks for the tape!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother Schmother

Happy Mothers Day to all of you who love kids... whether they're "yours" or not! It takes a village! I think this "holiday" is dumb with a capital D, but only because it was invented by Hallmark. But I did get to go out early this morning with two good friends and run 6 miles! Yes, there it is folks, I'm nutso! My idea of a great morning is to get my ass out of bed at 6:30 and go running for miles and miles! WHO KIDNAPPED THE REAL ME??? Anyway, we did have a great run and my foot felt... the same. Which is awesome, considering it could have felt a lot worse. So I'll take it. I iced it down and stretched really well and it feels okay. So we're going to diagnose this as a tendon thing, not a stress fracture thing, and if the pain holds steady or gets worse over the next 2 weeks, I'll go see a person who is actually qualified with a medical degree to tell me what's up. For now, I'll do the self-diagnosis and treatment thing.

May is one of those crazy-busy months, with tons of end-of-dance, end-of-sports, end-of-school parties and on and on and on for 3 different children, plus some work for me, so I'm in one of those "head spinning around like a crazy person" modes. (Zach's back in school and realizing that "summer semester" does not equal "easy semester). Once next week is over things should calm down, and we'll (me and the kids) settle into a summer routine. That means going to the pool, and that's about it. So excited!

Here's a glimpse into why being a mom is fun: Spitting contests at dinner. We're so mature.

strange children... 

Captures their personalities perfectly... (notice the top button on Sam's shirt. One must always button the top button, in Sam's world...)

so attractive

the wars begin... such drama

Karma Sam, Karma... 

Notice Mom (me) in the far left corner swooping in before the fist actually hits a face... 
"Every single thing I know about one thing is true for the other," she said. "I can talk about writing, or faith, or motherhood. All of them are messy, beautiful, screwed up."--Anne Lamott

Thanks Anne. That's truth, right there. Happy Weekend, all. Enjoy your messy, real lives... it's all worth it! 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


Oh look! I'm blogging again! That's what happens when you have an injury and can't run, are done with your class, have taken care of all the teacher end-of-year thank you notes, and believe that cleaning your house should be against the law. Or at least someone should come clean for you. And cook. And do laundry.

The actual point of this post: my blond-headed child. He's crazy. Total daredevil and makes me nervous on a daily basis. Recently he wanted to make a bike ramp, and so he did.
A 6 year old with power tools! Not dangerous at all! 

A 6 year old with power tools and no teeth... I'm sure he's really careful in everything he does... 


He got air! 
Being a mom is fun :). And scary.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

I have nothing to say

Really, nothing.
Just plunking along through the week, and worrying about election results, which I will not discuss here, although most of you who know me know that I'm a liberal Christian and I don't like laws that define too much... so... I may or may not be living in a state that is about to over-step the "separation of church and state" thing in the constitution that my Army brother and many good friends defend on a daily basis... our constitution... So you know, just hoping that our state doesn't over-step its rights and actually take freedom away from various people. Also, I really like this song by my friend Derek Webb. Well, he doesn't know we're friends. Wait, does that make me weird? probably. I think he'd want to be my friend though, right?!?! :)

In other news, I ran 5 miles today- not at the pace I wanted (averaged a 9 minute mile) but DARNIT my foot hurt like a b*@%$. It's been sort of bothering me, but was fine at the beginning of the run, and then got worse, and now it's been a couple of hours and it still hurts, and hurts to walk. What's a girl to do??? Google "stress fracture," of course. And the proceed to get very pissed off at a bone that may or may not be broken, so that wasn't very fair of me. Sorry bone. I'm going to wait-it-out and see how it feels in the morning.

Happy Tuesday to you all! If you're in a state with primaries or amendments on the ballot, exercise your right to VOTE! Go! vote! xoxo.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Marking the Good

I have a friend, Michele, who always talks about "marking the good" (I may have gotten those words off, but you get the idea), especially when writing/thinking about her daughter who has special needs. I LOVE this idea. Right now, I want to bitch and moan about 1000 things that are happening around me (racism, homophobia, cancer, just a bunch of bad things affecting people I love and making me sad), but you know, everyone in the world can come up with a laundry list of complaints about the world. We all have a story, we all have things that bring us down, break our hearts, and make us want to flee reality. Don't worry, I'm sure I'll write a downer post soon, but...

Instead I'm going to "Mark the Good." There is a time and a place to be sad and let it all out. But right now I want to stamp out the bad with the good.

*I LOVE to hear my kids laugh. Right now Sammy has the best belly laugh in the world... He just DIES of laughter throughout the day, giggling at anything that strikes him as funny, and who can NOT laugh along with him??? It's contagious :).

*I have the best friends and family in the world! So thoughtful and wise and kind. I'm so lucky.

*I'm DONE with Microbiology! I finished with a 100. That's what I wanted and that's what I got. I love it when I reach my goals.

*Running feels great right now (inside or on a trail... HEAT!), and I'm going to finish the week with a 4 or 5 mile running, hitting my run-20-miles-this-week goal.

*I'm grateful for my part-time jobs.

*Leah and Pete both LOVE school. They love their teachers and their friends and learning and playing. I love their teachers, too. Teachers rock! They deserve so much more than we give them... I'm forever indebted to my kids' good teachers.

*I have a rockin' husband. He is kind, smart, funny, generous, an excellent father.

*We live near Trader Joe's!

*We haven't completely depleted our savings.

*Our kids got to play on a slip-and-slide yesterday!

Alrighty y'all. BE the change you want to see ... have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


I do love the South. I live in a really diverse area- outside of the cities, so it's not as "educated" out here, but it's diverse, friendly, slow, and happy.

What I DO NOT LOVE is the heat. Yesterday I went out for what was supposed to be an easy, enjoyable, 4 mile run. Oh heck no. I forgot that by the time I was out of my class, it would already be 85 degrees. I was like "Oh, no problem. I'm used to this. Just ran 3.5 in the beach humidity." WRONG. Holy mother of $*#*@. Whatever that means... you get my point. So in the past few months I've happily run up to 13 miles on a regular basis, and then BAM, it gets hot, and I can't go past 3.5. I mean, I was dying. Heart rate wouldn't come down, blah blah, so I started walking at 3.5 (I've never let myself walk before hitting my milage goal).

This post has no point. I'm just letting you in on my little heat problem. Hello treadmill. We'll be getting to see each other a lot this summer. Sigh.

In other news, I have a test, a quiz, and an little oral presentation on clostridium botulinum on Thursday. Then I'm DONE with the semester! woooooot! Anatomy and Physiology part ONE are coming up this fall. throw a little online Stats in there, and I only have one more pre-req to take before applying to the ABSN nursing program. At least that training will take place in the air-conditioning.

tata for now...

*Edited to Add: Today is my Dad's birthday! We were able to drive up to their city yesterday evening for a little b'day celebration. Happy Birthday to the best dad ever!!!!