Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Our Snow Day

By 2:00 p.m. Sunday afternoon, I was finally convinced that we'd get our snow day. And, as predicted, the snow began falling steadily at about 6:00 p.m. Ahhh...the joy of the impending snow day. Another glass of wine? Why yes, I don'thave to get up in the morning. Watch something on late night t.v.? Why not? There's no reason to go to bed early. I slept in on our snow day until 8:30. 8:30!!! Sleeping that late almost feels like what sleeping until noon felt like when I was a teenager. It was glorious.

We spent our snow day like most other Memphians - walking around our neighborhood, making a snowman, and making our bellies burst with hot chocolate. We enjoyed meeting several of our neighbors on our walk. I even have a few sore muscles from shoveling snow and essentially doing endless repitions of squats while building two snowmen.

Two snowmen? Yes. Two. The first we built in our front yard. While putting the last nandina berry-button on our snowman, our neighbor, a seven year old girl I'll call E, came by and asked if she could help. Bummer. We just finished. E looked disappointed, so we offered to help build another snowman in her yard. E lives with her mom and newborn brother, both of whom would not come outside because of the cold weather. So, we decided to help her build her snowlady in her own yard. We even had it face a window so mom and baby brother could see.

Next up, snowball fight. I don't think E enjoyed that too much since Charlie has horrible aim. And by horrible aim, I mean he would try to aim for your back, arm, or leg but would inevitably smash the snowball in your face or the worst of all of the terrible places to be pelted with a snowball - the back of your neck. Aghhh! I hate when that happens. Just writing this makes me cringe thinking about the feeling of ice cold snow smashing me in the neck and then trickling down inside my coat, only to melt leaving me wet and chilled.

I finally suggested we go inside when I felt the aching cold in my toes and realized our clothes were almost soaked. Into the warm we went for a little hot chocolate therapy. No lie - hot chocolate is my favorite thing about winter. That and watching my boys giggle and play in the snow, all bundled up in their winter gear. I LOVE snow days.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Simple Things

While discussing the new year with my husband the other day, I realized that I feel rather apathetic about it. Thinking back over the past year does not bring me much of a sense of accomplishment, and I really do not have anything to look forward to during this new year. Yes, I will watch my children grow and discover new ways that they can make me laugh. Yes, I hope to get more fit, read more, and more or less take better care of myself in both the physical and mental capacities. But I just don't feel like there is much around the corner in 2011. It's just more of the same. Now, I know that consistency is not a bad thing. I just really like change. I'm the kind of person who thrives on have something big to look forward to. I'm sure there will, of course, be all kinds of change in the coming year that I am unaware of at the moment. For now, though, I feel the need to reflect on all of the wonderful simple things that make my life happy.
  • My children
  • My wonderful husband who always forgives my bouts of insanity
  • A house to call home
  • A job with a decent income
  • Great friends
  • Good food and wine
  • A healthy family and health insurance
  • My new book club
  • A current library card with no holds on it
  • A (hopefully!) income tax return since we spent an arm and a leg on a new energy efficient furnace and air conditioner last summer (we have not had an income tax return the entire time we've been married)
  • Enough painting supplies to last me a while
  • Parents who love our children and will babysit them almost whenever we ask
  • Our YMCA membership
  • A possibility that we will be able to get out from under a large chunk of our debt this year
  • A Christmas Wii so I can play "tennis" almost any time I want
  • A newfound desire to write on this blog again (since summer, I pretty much felt compelled to write nothing for fear it would be a long string of complaints)
I am sure I am leaving things out of what feels like a What I am Thankful for Thanksgiving post. But I think it captures where I am right now at the beginning of this new year. Hopefully, next year, I'll be able to write about all of the wonderful unexpected adventures I have experienced in 2011. For now, though, I am more than satisfied.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sunday, June 6, 2010


Yesterday, we drove to the top of a 13,000 foot Colorado Rocky. The views were magnificent. We even saw several herds of elk in the valley. There may be a permanent indention of my white-knuckled grip on the door handle of the car, my jaw is still a little sore from me clenching my teeth, and my heart continues to flutter a bit when I think about the steep and narrow ascent on the road to the top of that 13,000 foot mountain. But once we reached the summit, it was worth every moment of slight panic. Charlie is so excited that he got to "walk on top of a snowy mountain!"

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Days 1, 2, and 3*

One of the greatest parks I have been to - Fossil Creek Park. Now, this is how a city park should be done.

Charlie, moments before he fell asleep IN his ice cream. I kid you not.

Peace in the car on Tuesday.

A rest stop in Kansas. Now I understand the phrase "wide open spaces."

* The photos are in reverse order, and Iam just too lazy/busy to reorder them.

Monday, April 26, 2010


Roxy was my baby replacement. When Neal and I moved into our first house back in 2004, we immediately started thinking about having a baby. We got pregnant a mere four weeks or so after our move and lost the baby nine weeks into the pregnancy. We were, of course, devastated. That kind of loss is never easy, and we were completely ill-equipped for dealing with it. A couple of weeks after the miscarriage, we decided to fill our void by getting a new puppy.

We found Roxy, a golden retriever, in the newspaper. We drove out to Arlington (or beyond?) to select our new puppy from a family whose dogs made adorable golden retriever puppies. We paid a modest price since they weren’t technically pure bred, which we did not want anyway. When we got to choose our puppy, we sat in a room with six rolly polly fuzzy golden retriever puppies. If you ever have the chance to play with multiple golden retriever puppies at once, I recommend you take advantage of it. It was one of the most adorable moments of my life. We chose Roxy because of her calm disposition, her coloring (darker red), and her huge head. We immediately fell in love with that dog’s beautiful, giant square head.

On the way home, we threw out different names trying to come up with the perfect fit. Neal’s mom, who came along that day, suggested Roxy, and we instantly knew that this would be our new dog’s name.

Once home, we adjusted to the demands of a new puppy – the training, the chewing, the whining. Roxy was always a pretty good dog, though, with the exception of her odd obsession with gnawing the paint off of the bedroom walls. To this day, I never figured out how she managed to do that or why.

Over the past five years, Roxy was always happy, always goofy, and always ready for fun. She understood when I was upset and would let me snuggle with her when I needed it. She quickly grew from a fat floppy puppy into a giant of a dog. Weighing in at over 100 pounds, Roxy was a big girl. She would let me curl up next to her on the floor and use her as a pillow while watching television. Although large, Roxy was also gentle. She never once growled or snapped at either of my boys, who loved to chase her, pull her ears and tail, and generally cause her anxiety. I think Roxy’s only faults were her stubborn refusal to come in the house when commanded and her inability to recognize her own size and strength.

About a month ago, Neal decided to take Roxy to the vet because of a mild limp. Once there, the vet took an X-ray of her leg. She immediately knew that Roxy was sick. Really sick. She told Neal that Roxy had a huge tumor on her leg and had bone cancer. The vet said that tumor was so large that the cancer had probably already begun to metastasize in her lungs. She gave us the option to amputate the leg, but her chances of living another year were slim.

We decided that the best thing to do for Roxy was to euthanize her. This has to be one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made because she seemed so healthy. It was all just so sudden. But our main objective was to do what was best for Roxy and we both agreed that ending her life would be the best way to avoid her having to face any further pain.

On the Tuesday during my Spring Break, we put my Roxy-girl to sleep for good. It was one of the most horrible things I have witnessed, but I am relieved that she is no longer in pain. I now have the babies I so desperately wanted back in 2004, but Roxy, my girl who helped me get through the pain of losing my first baby, is gone forever. I miss her dearly. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about her and cry just a little bit. Rest in peace, Roxy-girl. We miss you.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Under My Skin

I have always had decent skin. I have never really needed make-up. While my sister suffered from horrible acne in high school requiring multiple treatments including oral medication, I was able to get away with not washing my face on occasion and rarely ever wearing make-up. On a few occasions, people have even complimented my skin. The only time I ever have had any blemishes have occurred around that hormonal time of the month when most girls’ bodies go berserk. But now, everything is different.

It is no coincidence that I started having problems with acne in August, the same month I started teaching high school. At first the few bumps around my chin did not bother me because I knew they were due to stress and lack of sleep. I figured that once I got over the hump of being new to the teaching world (new for the second time), I (and my body) would settle into some sort of balance. Well, I apparently have yet to find any balance because I am still tired, still stressed, and still have acne problems similar to a 15 year old. There was even a period of about 6 weeks in the fall when I would touch my face upon leaving school each day, and every single day, I would find a new pimple. I finally stopped checking, but I am sure I am still breeding at least one new pimple per day. It is driving me crazy.

Now, thanks to the acne, I have to wear make-up every day. Each morning, I sit in front of the mirror and carefully apply foundation and concealer to hide the hideous red blotches on my face. In the past, a blemish here or there would never bother me and certainly would not encourage me to put on make-up! Now, though, I feel I cannot leave the house without attempting to hide the splotchy mess that is my face.

I really feel for all those who have suffered and live now with acne especially as a teenager. It’s hard enough to be a teenager, let alone one with a target smack-dab in the middle of your face for all to see. Yes, I’m sure it is looks worse to the individual than to the outside world, but the teenage years are hard enough. And even as an adult, it is hard not to be hyper-aware of your acne when you feel it screaming off your face.

I found myself close to tears this morning when I looked in the mirror. I can’t explain why it is such a big deal to me, but for some reason, my skin problems are really bothering me. I am sure much of my frustration just comes with being bothered by it at all. More likely is that the acne serves as a reminder of the stress that I am under, and feeling overwhelmed is never a good thing. Each red blotch has one of the following on it: a sleepless night, a difficult student’s name, a worry over being good enough at my job, a worry about whether or not I’ll have a job next August, about 60 professional development hours I have yet to complete, a worry over being a good enough parent. Unless I can find some seriously bad-ass skin treatment, my only hope is that by June, the stress will be gone along with the pimples.