We just returned home from Christmas in Arizona, but I'm not ready to write about that yet [aka I haven't uploaded pictures yet, but mostly there's more than one post from that trip - like one devoted to mountains and maybe another about driving down I-25 as the sun was setting, plus those devoted to family and another to the stomach bug from Hades that my little family, with the exception of Magnolia, got on Christmas Eve - Room 407 at the Superstition Springs La Quinta has a special bond with us now].

I'm writing my life out of order.

I don't really make New Year's Resolutions. I never have, but I've been thinking about a few things that I really want to work on. There are three to be exact. And maybe there are four because I keep feeling like I'm forgetting something that's been on my mind.

1. Get better at remembering names. I have become horrible at remembering what name goes with what face, and that's not the kind of person I want to be. I love people, and remembering names is a small gesture to show the interest I have in almost every person I've ever met.

2. Live with less. For the last few years I've been been fixated on the idea of living a simple life. I've succeeded in many aspects of simplifying, but in one very apparent way, I know I need work: Stuff. There are times when I feel like the walls are closing in on our house. We have less than the average household, but it's still way more than we need. We did a book purge today. We have so many books. Like we have to have an extra room than what we need just so we have enough room for them. I want to know what's in every drawer and closet. I want empty nooks and crannies. I want less room for stuffing and more room for living. Less consuming, more living. Stuff not defining my life, what I do with my life defining my life. More living. More living. More living.

3. People don't know you're thinking about them unless you let them know. I need to come out of my bubble and let people know they're on my mind. With any luck [and a little more effort on my part], you'll be hearing from me more often.

Play that Funky Music White [Girl]

I've been in a funk...

A clothing funk. [I'm typing this to Play that Funky Music. I can't help it.]

I've been to the mall twice in two days. With two little girls. Just me and them. Anyone with kids knows this is a big deal. The even bigger deal is that I didn't buy a single thing.

My sole mission was to find some clothes that I like more than the ones I wore one pregnancy, six months, and twenty pounds ago. When the scale said I was five pounds lighter, I thought, shoot, I can get a few things to help ease me through this transition.

It's like I don't even know what I like. Re-phrase. I don't know what I like one me. I try stuff on, and I guess it's fine, but I don't recognize the body that it's on right now, so I can't tell if it looks okay.

Total Crazy-town.
[Is that a song too?]

It's like I've forgotten how to dress myself. While I've ne'er been a fashionista, I used to be really cute. And it was pretty effortless. I went in, saw something I liked, bought it, and I was good to go. I'm totally trying, but hot dang, I need a new approach.

Enter a website I discovered today: New Dress a Day

This girl spends $1 a day for a year and comes out with 365 fabulous new clothing items at the end of a year. That's right. She hits up the thrift stores and flee markets to find items thought to be past their prime and breathes new life into them with her creativity and sewing machine. Girl, you get it.

I'm not a fabulous seamstress, but fo' real, I am a lover of bargains. As cheap as they come, I am. I'm also a lover of using my creativity. While I will not be creating 365 pieces [I'm also a lover of down-sizing/having less stuff], this might just be my ticket to rocking cute again.

It's time to lay down that boogie and play that funky music 'til I die.

PS: Tomorrow, this little family will be making its way to Arizona to spend Christmas with my family. I haven't been to the place of my birth in 2.5 years. I can't believe it. Far too long.

Best Shake-on-it Deal Ever.

This morning, as I was sorting the laundry, Jake said something remarkable.

One of the most amazing things I've ever heard.

"If you wash and dry all of the laundry, I'll fold it."

"Really?" I asked.


"Like forever?"


"Will you put it away?" I implored.

"Well, not yours. I don't know where it goes."

As I was picking myself up off the floor, we shook on it. That's a deal right there. Why didn't we come up with this arrangement sooner?

Oh, what's that I hear? The washer just went silent. Time to go keep up my end of the bargain and toss them in the dryer.

Merry Christmas to me.

Dear Mom

I've been thinking a lot about the food I eat, and how I feel as though I've finally found the path on which I feel most comfortable in terms of what I put into my body. When I wrote my last post about what really drives my desire to eat well in addition to being meat-free, I couldn't figure out how to put you in, even though you belong there. Then I figured it out. You don't just need a blurb in a post, you need an entire one just for yourself, and that is what this will be.

I started thinking about the types of meat I was consuming in eighth grade. When I made the decision to try and cut red meat out of my diet, you were completely supportive. You always made sure we had ground turkey on hand in addition to the beef every one else was eating.

When I kept getting sick after every run my senior year, I decided to cut out meat all together, and again, you were supportive. You made sure there were other sources of protein for me. I remember a lot of yogurt in the fridge.

That vegetarian experience lasted for four months, until I went to Oklahoma for the first time, and I felt bad for people having to plan around me. I had my first meat again at Katy's 16th birthday party in the form of chicken and dumplings.

You paid attention to what I loved to eat. When I was on a mango kick, there were always mangoes at home. When I couldn't get enough Bosc pears, there were always Bosc pears. You knew when I loved Orange Carrot SoBe, and would surprise me with them every once in a while. Do you remember the time you took me to the doctor because the palms of my hands and soles of my feet were turning yellow? The diagnosis was a lot beta-carotene from all of the orange foods I'd been eating.

During the portion of my life (and it's nearly half of it) that I've been trying to come into my own in terms of consumption, you've never tried to deter me or tell me I didn't know what I was doing - even when I was a gangly 13-year-old. You've never even questioned it really. I feel like food is an important part of our relationship. It's one of my most favorite parts.

When you come to see me, you plan and execute meals you know I'll love. I can't wait to see you in a few weeks and find out what you have up your sleeve. I know it will be good. Thank you for letting me walk this path that I have continued to grow more passionate about, for letting me experiment, for giving me the freedom to do what I felt was right by my body. That was and continues to be an invaluable gift.

With Love,

PS: Thank you also for taking me to a pediatrician who combined Eastern and Western medicines. I grew up thinking that was the norm, and I feel like my life is richer because of it. I wonder if Ruth Tan Lim is still practicing in her little office off of Dobson with Kachina dolls in the waiting room.

How Blessed the Day

Recently, a few people have asked me why I'm a vegetarian [though my family and I are currently pescetarians]. I have a few go-to easy answers, all of them real reasons, but not the one deep-down inside of me feeling that made me finally fully convert to a life of no meat. It's a simple answer, one word really: Peace.

I grew up singing a hymn, one that is rooted in the restoration churches of the 19th century. The fourth and final verse begins: "How blessed the day when the lamb and the lion shall lie down together without any ire." This line is based on the scriptures in Isaiah 11. "The wolf shall also dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hold of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea."

Call me a literalist, but I have always loved this imagery, and have always taken it to heart. I want to do my part to bring it to pass. In addition to kindness, community involvement, love for my fellow human beings, who I believe are literally my brothers and sisters, I feel like what I consume also adds to the equation. It's not just about what I put out into the world, it's also what I take from it. For my personal being, the very innards of my soul, me being at peace with all things in the world around me [a part of that being animals and the cultivation of plants] makes every part of me feel better.

Do I think Cows taste good? Have you ever had prime rib from Cattlemen's? Yes. Do I want to eat cows anymore [or pigs or chickens (I've never really cared to eat just a piece of chicken anyway) or any other animal]? No. Eventually, sooner rather than later, I'd like to cut fish and animal products from my diet as well. I'm still learning.

While I have plenty of reasons that finally made me take the plunge whole-heartedly, like toxins found in "safe" food, living/dying conditions for animals, corporate takeover of agriculture and animals, genetic modification, etc., they are not the driving force behind my interest in what I consume. I want to do my best by the earth, and in doing so, the earth will do its best by me. We can be peaceful partners in health.

Disclaimer: Just in case you were wondering, I don't think less of people who eat meat, though I do think everyone should know what is in their food and where it comes from. Also, there are many a plant source that contains more protein than a good ol' steak if the next thing you were wondering was if we were getting enough of that too.


My biggest fear (besides losing the ones I love most - the fear we do not speak of) is:

Singing in front of people.

I love to sing. Really, I do. I sing all day long, but never in front of anyone. I like choirs because I can disappear into a sea of voices while still singing my controlled heart out. I sang one solo in high school. It was the last concert my senior year. (I was in a show choir called Young Spirit back them.) I knew it was now or never. My song of choice: Someone to Watch over Me by Gershwin (and Gershwin, you know, George and Ira).

I was knee-shaking terrified, but I did it. I always think about what I would sing if ever I had the chance again. It's the Napolean Dynamite dancing-on-the-stage moment that everyone secretly dreams of - when everyone figures out how seriously awesome you are for just being you.

The song inevitably changes based on what I'm thinking about at any given stage in life. Today I think it would be Words by Ryan Adams:

If everything you want is something you couldn't have

Go outside a while, look up and count the clouds

Can you draw a picture of the backyard of the house

You grew up in, can you remember how it smelled?

Don't worry up your mind

People are sick and mean sometimes

They're only words

They're only words

If everybody's grateful, how come nobody's satisfied - [my favorite line]

If a tree falls in the woods and there ain't no one around

If you heard it you could go over and whittle out a wishing box

You could write her name on something and put it inside

Don't worry up your mind

People are sick and mean sometimes

Don't worry up your mind

They're only words

Its only words

Its only words

And then there's the running list that I go back and forth on, give or take a few:

Little Boxes by Malvina Reynolds

20,000 seconds by K's Choice

Sweet Lorraine by Patty Griffin

Samson by Regina Spektor

Flight by Craig Carnelia (perhaps my soul's most favorite song)

Blowin' in the Wind by Bob Dylan

Top of the World - Dixie Chicks/Patty Griffin

Beside You by Michael Kamen (as a duet with Jake)

Lay my Burden Down by Caroline Herring

Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen (Oh how I love Rufus Wainwright singing this)

O Holy Night by Adolphe Adam/Placide Cappeau/John Sullivan Dwight (because what closet diva doesn't imagine busting this one out? Especially this time of year.)

Of course, in this dream, I'm always barefoot, and almost always playing guitar myself. Which means I should learn how to play guitar. Back in the days of my youth, I was always barefoot and playing piano, but when you marry a piano player, it's more fun/romantic to imagine him accompanying me.

Maybe someday this dream will be so powerful that it makes all this fear go away for good. Shrivel up and die, you fear, shrivel up and die.

Gold in the Morning Sun

I wake up to this every morning.
(Can you see her sweet fuzzy brown hair sticking up)

(She is a champion roller over-er)

How lucky am I?

a slip up

I always read labels. Always. ALWAYS. most of the time.

Today I overlooked something very important.

I was in the market for coconut oil and tahini. My skin is getting dry, and I wanted some hummus.

After yoga, the girls and I headed to Akin's. They had both things I was looking for, but at a price. I'm still cheap. We spent 3.79 on some juice for Cora because she was thirsty and headed to Super Cao Nguyen, lovingly known as the Asian Market.

I found what I was looking for - after discovering four avocados for $1.99. Deal of the day for sure. Then I made my way to the "curry aisle" and snagged some coconut milk and red curry paste. When I was about to give up, I saw two employees discussing a missing tea product. I asked them where I could find the two items I was on a mission to find, and I was in luck. They both responded "next aisle over."

After spending several minutes looking up and down the aisle [a few times], I spotted coconut oil. Almost instantly after that, as if a soft glow had descended from above, I found tahini. I was done. So was Cora. And Magnolia was waking up.

We made our purchases and headed home. I couldn't wait to open the bottle of coconut oil and rub it into my cracked knuckles. Before I even put anything away, with Magnolia in my arms, I took the lid off, put it to my nose to breathe in the luscious tropical aroma. Nothing. Absolutely nada. How could this be? I checked the label again to be sure I didn't grab something by mistake. This was definitely coconut oil. Then I spun the bottle around and read this:

Ingredients: Refined, bleached, deodorized coconut oil.

Can you feel my disappointment as well? Apparently I will be ordering on-line, unless someone happens to know where I can get cold pressed organic coconut oil locally without Akin's inflation. My hands are counting on an all-natural remedy.

PS: I ordered pretty much all of the girls' Christmas presents on-line today. I tried to stick with all-natural materials. I ended up ordering one plastic toy that Cora really loves. It's called a Bilibo, and we discovered them at the Sam Noble Museum. I was going to order green because it's snappy, but when I showed Cora the color selection [without her knowing why she was looking], she wanted pink. Of course she did, so I set aside my power of choice and on Christmas morning, she will have her wish.

Burns so good

First! When did blogger get stats? I've avoided an outside hit counter for some time, like forever because I simply didn't want to know. It's one of those things a person could easily obsess over, and obsessing takes the fun out of things. I did look at all of the stats for my blog upon seeing they exist. Very interesting (I hope you rolled your r's with that last sentence [fragment]).

On to important matters.

I joined the Y[MCA] a few weeks ago. Let's face it, pregnancy has made me pudgy. And I don't know why I'm immune to the great weight-loss blessing called breastfeeding. I leave the hospital weighing less the baby and all that goes with it, I lose like 3 pounds after that and that's all. Both times. I digress. I have been loving the Y, and not just for the uninterrupted showers, though those are nice. Really nice. Today's workout felt the end.

My current schedule revolves around yoga. I do it twice a week and cardio three times a week. As far as cardio is concerned, I've been enjoying* the elliptical, and I'm working up my bravery to walk across the room to the weight machines. I could bench the most in my eighth grade gym class. No joke. I was also bigger than a good number of the girls in my class.

What? Are you laughing? Really, I stopped growing in seventh grade, the other girls caught up in eighth grade and surpassed me in ninth. I got to this lofty height of 5'3 1/4" quick. So take that.

At any rate, I'm pretty sure I'm going to be doing yoga for the rest of my life.

PS: Upon completion of my shower at the Y, I realized I forgot to bring extra unmentionables. I rolled out of there commando style. I haven't done that in years.

Go Me. Yo kids is growin' out de clothes, Go sew! - It's late, can you tell?

It's a quarter 'til midnight. I just finished making one of two holiday skirts - Magnolia's to be exact. I'm sacked, but I still have clean-up from the last few hours of sewing.

Yes, I was sewing on the floor. I think it should qualify as a new yoga pose. "And now we're moving into 'Sewing on the floor.'" Let me just tell you, I rocked the crocodile at yoga today. My hair is letting me know it's time for bed. Over and out.

PS: I'll post pictures of the skirts when they're on the girls. You'll fail to notice my imperfections then. ;)

A poem

I picked up the Gazette on Thursday at the Bethany library. The cover story was about the Oklahoma Modern Family. I have yet to get to that article, but I read something (Jake initially read it to me) on page 6 that has left me with a deep down sense of renewal. A sigh of relief. An affirmation that I'm okay. If you hadn't noticed yet, social issues are a passion of mine. Many of them, not just a cause or two. And politics is a natural interest that goes along with it because so much of what I feel in regard to social issues is put into make or break situations at the hands of political ideology.

Thank you, Lauren Zuniga, for reminding me about Clara Luper, Kate Barnard, Woody Guthrie, and so many others who made big strides [that seemed small at the time] toward progress. Right here. In Oklahoma.

A poem to progressives plotting mass exodus

There is a sick pit in your stomach.
A plantation in your front yard.
The static flicker of black and white.
An absurd talking picture,
where sepia skin is now villain.
You are not sure who to trust anymore.
Everyone walks backward in your neighborhood.
You are surrounded by billboards with hate-sized font.
You are looking for a secret handshake.
A fish with feet drawn in the sand.
Blue paint on the door frame.
You resent even the dirt for being so damn red.
At night you are a furious search engine.
Screaming down the track toward
some kind of Shangri-La.
Portland has no jobs.
Canada doesn’t want you.
You hear property is cheap in Costa Rica.
Even Cuba seems safer than your next PTA meeting.
Anywhere is better than here.
But here is your home.
Here is where you chose to raise your kids
because the people are so friendly.
Do not let them drive you away.
Here is where you are needed the most.
Here is where the sunset stretches its arms wide as forgiveness across stolen plains.
Here is where Clara Luper sat down at the Katz lunch counter and asked to be served.
Here is where black and white soldiers fought alongside each other for the first time.
Where Kate Barnard was elected before she could even vote.
Where hippies squatted in Paseo until it became an art district.
Here is where Charlie Christian learned guitar.
Where Wayne Coyne keeps the bubble.
Where Woodrow Wilson Guthrie played the harmonica for sandwiches.
Here is where the healing has to take place.
Tell them you are not moving.
Oklahoma is worth the wait.
Sometimes evolution feels like
the stinging cramp in the back of your knees when you grow too fast for your outdated bones.
Sometimes it feels like a house in the city
with three goats, 10 chickens and 12 wild kids.
Tear up the sidewalk.
Plant a garden.
Bake a squash casserole and invite
all your terrified neighbors over.
Say “As-Salamu alaykum” to everyone you meet.
Fill out all government forms in Español.
Check all the boxes for your race.
Ride your bike to work. Make art in the streets.
Feed people without a license.
Go to city council meetings.
Sit in at the state House and Senate.
Wear a purple boa. Don’t apologize for your presence.
Write love letters to mothers and fathers in prison.
To the wardens, the police officers, the judges.
Write love letters to queer kids and their bullies.
Tell them you are staying here for THEM.
Kiss a Republican on the cheek.
Show them how to love someone you don’t understand.
DO SOMETHING with that tight fist.
That broken heart.
That liberal mouth.
Progress is a series
of small bold moves.
Don’t leave.
Here is where
we need you.

—Lauren Zuniga
Oklahoma City

Oklahoma Gazette


N. Scott Momaday said that instead of time passing by us, we are passing through it.

I've been looking through pictures on facebook tonight. Everything changes so quickly.

Want to see the night that Jake and I first met? That'd be photo 267.
(He was 18, I was 17. Can you tell we were going to get married 8.5 months later? I could...minus the exact time frame of course.)
(He was 19, I was 18.)

Or when size 0 pants were a little roomy? Picture 213.

My favorite hair picture? 326.

The night we told everyone we were pregnant for the first time? 239.
(Thanksgiving 2006)

(1. Our apartment, 2. Church, 3. Obama's house, 4. Jake's school - and what I didn't know at the time: how absolutely in love with this neighborhood I would be. I would number every little thing I loved the most, but there wouldn't be room. We're talking minute details.)

The moment sisters met.

One of the last times sisters will see one another.

Dog Owners for three days.

A place where a big part of my insides felt right.

My fuzzy headed baby.
(Oh how I miss that little head some times.)

It goes on and on and on.

I find peace in Momaday's interpretation of time passing, though either way our existence cannot stand still. My little babies are growing up. I wonder what sentiment I will feel about this very day when I reflect back on it in the future.

Conversations with Cora

Cora: I'm going to be a doctor.
Me: Oh, really?
Cora: Yeah. (spread out over three syllables)
Me: That's great, Cora. You can be whatever you want to be.
Cora: Really?
Me: Uh huh.
Cora: I'm going to be a lady bug or an airplane.
Me: Hmm, sounds good.


Me: What did you learn in nursery (Sunday school) today?
Cora: I learned about, um, in nursery, I learned about...
Me: Did you learn that your body is like God's body?
Cora: Yeah!
Me: Do you both have hands?
Cora: Yeah.
Me: Do you both have feet?
Cora: Yeah.
Me: What else do you share?
Cora: We share dinosaurs!

Confessions of a Stay-at-Home Mom

I used to have to be at work at 7:20. And look decent, too. I did it well.

Now I think having to be anywhere before 10 AM is a trial. Who cares if I get a shower? Hair is easily pulled back, and deodorant layers well.

My house is always clean, but not always tidy. You're smart enough to know the difference. But just in case you're not: germs don't thrive well, but clutter does occasionally* get out of control.

I'm good at doing laundry if that excludes folding it, but most of the time I avoid it because I know I'll have to fold it [and put it away] eventually.

The hours between 3-5 are insanely difficult. Every day. And I'm not even sure why. Perhaps we're all just sick of each other. But we're probably mostly just tired. Hmm, maybe sick and tired.

I'm better at structure when other people impose it. It's definitely something I've had to work on - something I'm working on. When it's just me, I look like my in-law's dog, Gabby, when she forgot how to swim for a few seconds in the middle of a pond: splashing and flailing about.

There are times when I hate the way I sound when talking to my girls. Like really, was that my voice?

I remind myself a lot to live in this moment. Right here, right now. Treasure these little voices, these soft cries, grunts and giggles. Treasure this special way they need me because they won't always need me like this.

I'm always wishing I was a better mother, as I'm sure every mother does. I've learned a million things about myself already, and I know I've got many more to go. The pull always comes when who I was/wanted to be pre-motherhood clashes with who I feel I am now. I'm trying to make peace with the two.

I know for sure that these two girls were sent specifically to me, and I don't want to squander that most precious gift. They are amazing, and I want to be the amazing mom they deserve. Because I love them.

More than anything.

And then some.

Mouse Hunt

We went to Jake's parents' home in Holdenville for fall break. It was a good time. Cooking, relaxing, laughing, good weather, family, eating too much, and no, I repeat, NO mice (we've had a mouse issue for over a month now).

We got home and the first thing we did was survey for new mouse droppings. There weren't any. Wow. We'd been home for a few hours, I went into the bathroom, was approaching the toilet, heard something, and turned in time to see a mouse run out underneath the door. Naturally, I screamed.

As Jake was preparing the traps for the evening, Clyde, our mouse, ran into the den where I was sitting. It's his nightly ritual. He runs in and out of the den for about an hour with Jake and I sitting right there. He comes up on the rug in front of the chair we're sitting in, rubs his rodent face in it's shag, and runs somewhere else for a while, only to come back.

Before we left for a break, I filled almost every little hole with steel wool (mice won't chew through it). I stopped when I sliced my finger on the stuff. Jake finished stuffing the holes we can see last night (a mouse can fit through any crack/hole the size of your little finger, or roughly the circumference of a pencil) (and Jake also cut his finger - even after my warning to use gloves).

This morning when I woke up, I found one of my steel wool stuffings displaced. Oh no you didn't, Clyde! Today I will be stuffing that hole with even more stuff.

I don't know how much more my heart can take. I'm a huge ball of jumpy anxious nerves. I have a baby, and she needs tummy time, but I don't like to put her on the floor, even on a blanket! Cora likes to throw things on the floor, and I have to constantly remind her not to because the mouse might get it. I even bought bleach! I never use bleach. We got a gallon when we got married, and I got rid of the jug still full of over half it's contents when we moved to Chicago. I don't do chemicals, but I do with Clyde around. And I hate to say it, but I will. I will just for the sake of illustrating what a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad situation this is: He has left droppings in more than one of our shoes! AHHHH!

So that's it Clyde, vacate or die. I repeat, VACATE OR DIE.

Some things are better left to the professionals

Or so I thought.

It all started after I had Magnolia. My highlights were growing out a bit, and I decided I wanted something new, or old. I wanted the same hair color I had in high school. You know, when I was outside all the time in the hot Arizona sun. I had lovely wheat blonde hair with almost as light as can be natural highlights.

I decided to take matters into my own hands. If I could do this myself, I would save so much money. The color was beautiful, minus about an inch and a half of brassy roots. Apparently, my pregnancy had caused some greater darkening at the roots, so they didn't process the same. I got a toner the next day. Eh. My roots went from fiery brass to banana yellow.

My next step was going a a bit darker to a medium champagne blonde. Still hints of brass. I concluded with a medium ash blonde, which I was okay with for a bit, and then it started to fade. I still have a brassy section, but my roots are my natural color again. Oh how I've missed it. I can see the beautiful light sections (much lighter than the shade my hair is now) coming in around my face, and the dark blonde making a comeback. I never realized how much I loved my hair (in its natural state), until it wasn't there anymore. I especially love it in summer time when the sun works its magic.

As I've watched my roots come in, I thought, hot dang, I'm going to have to find a good colorist to match my natural color, but there are SO MANY colors in my natural color, it would be difficult to get it spot on. I was thinking an all over dark blonde with some Balayage highlights.

But today I came across Ombre hair. Definition: Basically letting your roots go wild. I've never been a huge fan of roots, but this is trendy right now, and I'm growing my hair out anyway. I can get my natural color back without dying my hair again (doesn't that sound funny). It just has to stay trendy long enough for my super slow growing hair to get to a point where I can lop it off again. Here's a lovely example:

Bless this trend. And speaking of hair, here is Magnolia's (and mine). She would like you all to know that hers is coming in brown. And I would like you to know not to be deceived by the hue in this light. I'll see if I can dig up another in all of its brassy glory.

Ah yes, here. On Magnolia's blessing day.

(4-generations. Don't worry, Cora cooperated for a few.)

PS: Here's my natural hair color (in the middle of a Chicago winter). Yes, I was pregnant with Magnolia.

PSS: I got pretty close to my natural color with my last dye, but my natural hair is simply not an all over color.

Weekend Recap

On Friday, we went to Seminole, OK to watch Jake's cousin Kory play football. He's a senior, and this season had the honor of being named offensive player of the week. It was a good game, a GREAT fourth quarter, a pins and needles overtime, and a loss for Seminole by one point. They'd lost a previous game by one point as well. The other team had a crazy accurate quarterback with a good arm. Stigler (the other team) beat every other team they played by at least 40 points. One of my favorite movies is Elizabethtown and one of my favorite quotes comes from it:

"In that moment, I knew success, not greatness, was the only god the world served."

I suppose success in football is a win, but greatness is the entire Seminole team kneeling in prayer between the fourth quarter and overtime. I value greatness.

(I copied this from the school athletics site, can you tell? ;) Kory is #87.)

Cora left with Gram and Offey at half time. Jake, Magnolia and I made our way home. We decided we were hungry around Shawnee, but we didn't stop. Instead we stopped at Big Truck Tacos in OKC and took it to Crown Heights Park.

Yep. We were eating Big Truck Tacos at midnight at a park. It was like old times (minus the sleeping baby in the back and the fact that it was BTT because BTT didn't exist in our old times).

Saturday began with General Conference. Uchtdorf spoke about living simply, which has come to be a sort of motto of mine. I don't publish everything I write on here, but many are about living a simple life. I strive for it. I ache for it. I'm happiest when I'm great at it. Needless to say, his words sang to my soul.

In between sessions of conference, we picked up a Chipotle burrito to share and drove to Lake Hefner. It was the perfect day, and we found the perfect spot on a rock wall facing the lake with wind blowing through the trees right in front of us. I love that sound. Wind rustling leaves. And fall smells so good.

We picked up some mums and pumpkins to decorate with, keeping in mind Cora had decorated a pumpkin at Gram and Offey's. That evening, we watched Angels and Demons, followed by a National Geographic special on the Vatican. It's all so fascinating - and seriously cuddle worthy, for no apparent reason.

The highlight of Sunday was picking up Coco. We met in Shawnee at a park to picnic with Vaughn and Tracey. A park where a sort of medieval weaponry competition was going on (the weapons were made of foam). Youth and Old Age kept creeping through my mind as there were teenage boys warming up in one open area, and adults dressing in the full armor at a table on the other side (I didn't see the adults' weapons, but their protective gear led me to believe they were made of more than foam).

We didn't get to see what they were actually there to do, but in the midst of it all, a group of softball playing teenage girls showed up. The teenage boys really stepped it up a notch when the girls got there. The girls carried on with warm ups. After a while a few of the girls went over and the boys graciously let them hit them with their own weapons. It was so a scene out of a movie. Pretty soon more girls joined in, some taking photos, the boys posing as tough-like and proud as can be, until they were all just mingling. VICTORIOUS on the boys accounts. They were wrapped in black and red material, mind you. And those girls were cute. Really cute.

It felt complete to have our little family back together again. I loved some "alone" time with Jake. All in all, one of the best weekends on record in my book.

Last but not least, the reason why I thought I should write this post in the first place. As we were driving to the football game in Seminole, we could see a fire from some distance. I jokingly said to Jake "I hope it's not the stadium." Luckily, it was not the stadium. It was, however, an old school. This was the school for colored students in Seminole back in the days of segregation before every student could learn together in the school I was staring at across the field. As I sat in the stadium remembering the smoke in the air, and thinking of that old school burning to the ground, I wanted to do cartwheels.

(I also copied this picture. I like it. It is the current Seminole High School from the front. The stadium has an impeccable view of the back and its three stories of bay windows.)

PS: Cora's pumpkin was a "Junkin' Punkin'." It's awesome,so is her name. Cora named her SheenaCake, and it is so funny to hear her ask "Where SheenaCake?" Plus, it's fun to say. Try it. Out loud.

The Sweet Luxury called a Shower

I know it's going to be a good day when I get a shower in the morning.

While showering, I kept hearing the fridge open and close. I've been brought some unusual things while in the shower - like juice and a cup [first it was just juice. I recommended the cup]. This wasn't new. It's more of a "What'll it be this time?"

Showers are sacred to me. I do my best thinking in them. If there was a waterproof computer, I'm certain I could have published several novels by now. Though these days, I'm always hoping I can stay in long enough to get wet, or that I've past that point where catastrophe doesn't strike in the middle of washing my face or while I have shampoo in my hair.

Aside from the fridge opening and closing, I kept hearing little things dropping, but no screaming. We're good.

Enter crying. Oh, there's the screaming.

"Cora, come into the bathroom, mama's in the shower." [Still crying. Becoming more frantic] Coco, come on, come to Mama." [There was already a water trail from the bathroom to the office when my shower was interrupted the first time. I heard some banging right after I got in. She was trying to plug the computer charger into her phone, and in frustration that she couldn't make it work, she started wrestling the charger until it became twisted around her ankle.]

She finally comes in holding a cracked egg. "It's broken, Mama."

It's more than cracked and less than all over the floor. I jumped out and saw 11 other eggs lying in the hallway, a rolls distance away from their overturned carton. Afore mentioned egg is in the bathroom sink, and I'm in the hallway surveying the damage. I find two with hairline cracks and everyone else is okay. Phew. If she was sad over one puncture wound on an egg, I can't imagine what more egg devastation would have done to her.

But alas, I got to take a shower before breakfast, and a cute little blonde I know got to eat two eggs for that very meal.

Dear Magnolia

Every time I look at you, I can't help but feel happy.

And sometimes I don't want to be - happy that is. Like when I'm tired and you're awake.

And as hard as I try to avoid looking at you, I always give in. And your eyes light up, and I light up. And then you smile, and I get giddy and say "Goo." And you say "Goo" back, and that's it. I'm gone. The happiest person in the whole wide world, just because of cute little you.

And I love you. I love you. I love you, like never before.

PS: I'm sorry your allergies are bothering you. I'm sorry you have allergies. But you are my daughter, and I'm afraid I am a severe allergy sufferer.

Dear Cora

I swear your legs grow a little more each day. And I'm certain your mind grows even more. I was looking into some activities on to try and avoid repeats of two of the four days so far this week. It's been a little lazy. I'd like to change that.

At any rate, I was looking at the activities that you should be doing at your age, and let's get right to the point, they were lame. You are beyond them. You match better with kids who are at the end of four, rather than the middle of two. It made me feel this huge responsibility to keep that going. You're smart. Really smart. And I'm not just saying that.

You are sweet and kind and have a strong stubborn streak. I love that streak because I know it will be great for you in the future. I know you'll know how to put it to good use, even if sometimes I wish you would just go get your shoes at this tender stage in life. I love it just the same.

Dear Jake

The lawn looks great. I'm glad you mowed today, even if I wanted to. It's just after 5:30, 5:32 to be exact. Cora and I just finished our pancake dinner, as per her request. Whole wheat buttermilk pancakes sans buttermilk syrup because I just couldn't bring myself to eat all that syrup, even if it is divine. I also discovered that the perfect pancake setting on our stove is 4. My last two batches haven't been my best work because it seems I have no recollection of how to cook on an electric stove top.

At any rate, I feel like you should have been home at 5:15. Working until 6:30 is an adjustment. I suppose it's because we've been so used to our 8-12-5 food schedule. Cora is taking a bath in which she is "making" you some salmon chili. "I'm making salmon chili for Jake." Nolia is waking up, so she's about to join her big sister.

Have I told you lately that I love you? There's no one else above you. You fill my heart with gladness, take away all my sadness. Ease my troubles, that's what you do.

PS: Cora's also "making" you some pie.

Easier than I thought

Cora is potty trained. Thank you, 3 Day Potty Training by Lora Jensen, and thank you, Connie Burton, for sharing it with me. It didn't take all three days. It took one little dribble of an accident and she knew what to do (she finished going on the potty, mind you). No nightmare stories, no loads and loads of extra loads, just a sweet little-big girl in big girl panties. This is day 9 of only panties.

Cora also spent her first night away from us. She stayed with Gram and Offey (Jake's parents), and did really well. Better than me. I cried when we left their driveway. Not too much, hmmm, not to many tears at once, even if did happen on more than one occasion.

Magnolia is getting so much better at taking naps. She used to wake up the second she was put down. Now, she falls asleep and stays asleep after we put her down. I thought this day would never come, however, Cora is trying to give up her nap. 3 PM is a trying time in this house. Everyone is tired, and no one is asleep. I've decided to start doing something around 3. Today, we're going to the grocery store. Maybe. Irony of all ironies, I haven't heard Cora since the second sentence of this post. She has gone almost 3o minutes without making a peep before, so I'm still not convinced.

I'm currently uploading a video on facebook. It highlights Magnolia and her cute round head and sweet face. I recorded it about 2 weeks ago. About 21 seconds into it, she toots. Those who know me best know how (I just heard Cora) much that makes my heart sing.

"Hi, I'm 25, and I still think flatulence is just about the funniest thing ever." [And I hope it stays that way because everyone needs something to be that funny to them.]

I watched it over and over with Jake, and we were laughing so hard we were crying. Well, I was crying. Jake doesn't cry. Did you know that? We've been married for 6.5 years, and I've never seen a single tear fall from his eyes. If I didn't know how awesome and in touch with his emotions he is, I would think it was weird, but alas, it has become normal. And back to the video for a second: I'm so amazed at how well I was able to hold it together.

And finally, I'm glad our secure home network is up and running again so I can get back to really important things like facebook, blogging, and checking my email. I dreaded making the phone call because it took about an hour and a half with ATT when I was canceling/restarting service. This call only took 1/2 hour, and the outcome was successful.

Dear Blog

I'm glad you are okay. The window that popped up saying you had been removed made my heart sink.

I gathered a laptop, my wallet, and my phone and headed for the closest secure network I know - OCU. (I love you, OCU, and your secure network.)

I promise I won't log into my google account from an unsecured network ever again. I couldn't help it. Our internet at home wasn't working. It was a bad decision. Maybe we can save more people from doing the same thing.

Your password is changed. You are better protected, and I'm going to start backing you up. I love you too much to not do so. If I could hug you, I would.

Here's to a long, lovely life together. And also to getting our home internet back up and running soon. Until then, Over and Out.

Baby Facts and a Burning U-Haul

Cora and Magnolia went to the doctor this morning. I think I'm really going to like their new doctor. She's young, totally put together, has an 18-month-old daughter at home, and is expecting twin boys at the end of November. Oh, and her husband stays at home with the kids. I love non-traditional family dynamics. Both girls looked great.

Cora weighs 31 pounds, and is 36.9 inches long.
Magnolia weighs 10.2 and is 22 inches long. She also got three shots. Oh man, I had to choke back the tears this time.

On Saturday, we were driving back from meeting Grammy's sister, brother, and granddaughter (Hannah, Leo, and Sarah) at a McDonald's between OKC and Tulsa. Traffic came to a quick slow, and we saw shredded rubber from a tire, and broken lights strewn about the road. I looked ahead, and there was smoke. We came upon a caravan of cars pulling smaller U-Haul trailers, with the big one in the front. It was missing the front driver's side tire, and the bottom of the cab was on fire. There was a man in the door of the cab scrambling to get things out. Jake pulled over, and so did my mom in the car behind us. Jake and Don ran back to see if there was anything they could do. Semis were pulling over and running back with their fire extinguishers. One trucker had several gallons of water than Jake and Don were throwing on the fire.

My heart was pounding as I thought about our recent move, and how nothing went right, but at least what happened to that family didn't go wrong with us. It just cost us a boat load of extra money. When the tire blew, the wheel cranked hard to the right, and pulled the driver's hand with it, injuring it in the process. It crashed into the barrier between lanes of traffic, and somehow he was able to pull it over to the shoulder. We drove past just as his wife, in the car in front of him was getting out. They were moving from Michigan to Texas, and no doubt had family following in the little caravan. I can't imagine what it would be like, standing on the side of the road in the middle of Oklahoma and anticipating all of your possessions burning up right in front of your eyes. The active fire was put out while we were there, and I don't think it reached the trailer. The fire truck was on its way, and luckily it had rained a bit the day before so the grass of of the shoulder didn't burn like it could have.

I've been thinking about that family, and hoping they're settling into their home in Texas and that his hand is feeling better. And I'm feeling grateful that despite life's inconveniences, I still have all of the things that matter most.


As soon as I found out I was pregnant the first time, I told everyone with whom I crossed paths. I got the confirmation phone call at school, so many of the first to know were members of the OCU community. One response I clearly remember was given by the administrative assistant in the Humanities office.

"Aww, now that perfect little body is going to go to $h#*."

I was a little caught off guard, being that was her first reaction, but I was on cloud nine, so I didn't think much of it. Six weeks later, I miscarried. No poopy body that time. And after Cora, I held onto those "last 10 pounds." And after Magnolia I'm holding onto those last 30 pounds. I know she's only 3 months old (in 2 days), but fo' shiz. I counted it a victory that I didn't have any stretch marks on my tummy, despite the fact I have them on my sides, hiney, and thighs. I've read that women are much more inclined to the pear shape while in child bearing years because that is generally where the body stores fat for breastfeeding. Mine is storing a lot of it.

And so I've gone on two little runs for the past two nights. I ran the whole way, yes indeed. When I got home last night, I couldn't wait to take the car out to see how far I'd gone. I was hoping for a mile. To my delight, the odometer read 1.6 miles. Tonight I ran the same path, only backwards. And it was fabulous because the remnants of Hermine were over my head. I love running through puddles and in rain.

My path takes me for a loop around Northwest Classen. Every time I see that school, I am in awe. I don't know the specifics on who designed it, but kudos. It's a fabulous example of Mid-century Modern. Perfect details on an overall simplified exterior, like the overhangs one drives/waits under. As I ran around the sidewalks, I felt my connection grow. It's the place I took the exams to become a teacher, where I student taught, and where I had my first teaching job. It is more than just the great students. It's alive to me.

If I've always thought flowers had souls, I most certainly think buildings do. I've also been making little housekeeping notes as I round its corners - the piece of awning on the west side that is loose at the top, the namesake sign on the marquee that is slipping down (and that fact that there are no announcements on the marquee), the ivy that can't decide if it wants to grow or die along the fence, etc. I try to imagine what it was like when it was brand new. Especially since I think it's still so glorious. I wish it didn't fall victim to the kind of fixes school districts do in order to save money, mostly on the interior: dropped ceilings, some blocked transoms, big black internet boxes, intrusive air/heating units. Those four things alone have drastically altered the feel of the interior, as far as I can imagine, from what it originally looked like inside. I wish it could be fully restored. I wish everyone could see how beautiful it is. Every classroom has a whole wall of windows, a whole entire wall, and the afore mentioned transoms let the light spill out into the hallways. And there's a courtyard, and a smoke stack, and I loved getting to walk the halls every day.

What I wish I would have said

I'm walking across the grocery store parking lot on my way to the car. Magnolia is in her car seat atop the cart, and Cora is holding my hand.

I'm blindsided by a man hanging out next to his car.

"Now that's a sexy mama."

I didn't even turn my head to show my look of disgust. I didn't want to acknowledge what he said. It's not the first time I've heard something of the sort. It's not the first time I've been irked, but this the time I'm tired of just letting it go - a "boys will be boys" sentiment. I used to carry rocks with me when I ran in high school to toss them at the guys who couldn't resist yelling something at me when they drove past.

Really? Sexy mama? Dude, I haven't taken a shower today. My two-month-old spit up down my shirt not long before I left the house. That's right, between those luscious bosoms is remnant spit up. Women were not created to be the object of your sexual desires.

And how dare you reduce me to "sexy mama" in front of my girls.

If e'er I'm trying to be sexy, it's not for you or anyone else for that matter. I know there are women who don't help our cause. They've fallen victim to the idea that such attention from men is a good thing. Well, Women, we were not created to be the object of a man's sexual desires. We're more than our reproductive organs and clusters of mammary glands. Sure, I like to look good, but again not for any one else. I don't turn into a recluse if my hair isn't done and my face isn't "dolled" up with makeup.

So back to the fella in the parking lot, if you think a woman looks nice, and you feel the need to make a public comment to her, don't make it in reference to penises and vaginas. Any woman should be able to go anywhere at any time without having to worry about being the object of someone's unwanted affection - in whatever way it comes across. You yucky schmuck.

Dear Kiersty

There was a happy package sitting on my front porch today. I was on hold with insurance people trying to change my address when I spotted it. And I opened a Chicago utility bill before the box because there wasn't anything nearby that I could find to easily cut through the tape. The bill was a disaster, and waiting on hold for 30 minutes didn't help. Cora woke up from her nap just in time to help with the opening. I went for a knife while she sat looking at the "present." Boxes are always presents to her, and presents always mean birthdays.

Your thoughtfulness turned my world right side up in about 2 seconds flat. First I saw all of the hair accessories. Magnolia was sleeping, so I tried most of them on her. And they are so cute. Then I saw the bag. "Now that was unexpected!" Did you really make that? Because WOW! It's beautiful. Every fabric is perfect. I've even been admiring the stitches. And those pleats. And the internal pockets. They're orange. Orange! Orange is the happiest color. And last but not least, I saw the Boppy cover. I told Jake I was going to take my Boppy everywhere just so I could admire it. My old cover was not very exciting anymore. I hope you had as much fun making everything as I did discovering it all.

A little while after the excitement was over, Cora came up to me with the box and said "Happy Birthday!" She had placed my running shoes inside. What a special treat.

Thank you, Kierst.

I love you.

Deco Delights

Oklahoma City is home to some fabulous examples of Art Deco architecture. If you've been downtown, you can't miss the art museum, courthouse, civic center, and municipal building. I love them. The clean lines of the buildings mixed with geometric details is just about the perfect combination to my aesthetic senses. It's no wonder I love Frank Lloyd Wright, as he used this same combination.

What really makes my heart sing are the gems tucked away various neighborhoods throughout the city. Yes, there are beautiful homes that are perfect examples of Art Deco style. And I've been taking note. I'd like to document these homes and get as much of their history as possible. I'm so curious about who the builder was. Did a single architect design all of them? I can't wait to find out. I hope everyone else can appreciate them as much as I do.

I took a picture of one last summer for my "Oklahoma Favorites" album. This particular home is on the corner of 40th and Shartel.

A well-designed home does not need gables.

A Walk Through

Tonight we went to a picnic at OCU. We walked through several buildings that have been renovated in the 3 years since we graduated. Every time I walk through the Tom and Brenda McDaniel University Center, I am thrown for a loop. It's infinitely cooler now. Even though I thought the crazy fireplace lounge area was beyond cool back in the day.

I love the bookstore, even if it did replace the former bowling alley where all of Alvin's movie posters once hung. My favorite part of the evening was walking through the rows of books and breathing them in. It's such a comforting smell, one that is tied to memories from my early days on Earth. I'm always drawn to the ENG[lish] section. I enjoyed seeing the books my old professors were assigning. The most interesting class was in the REL[igion] section. It's a course being taught by Dan May. The title of the course wasn't listed, but based on the reading list, I would love to be in it.

Random words walk through my mind every once in a while. One of the more common ones is archipelago [n. a large group or chain of islands]. It's been wearing a path through my brain matter all night long. islands]. It's been wearing a path ng. a large group or chain of island

Batten Down the Hatches

This post is for my posterity. Maybe not that far ahead. Maybe it's just for me to breathe a sigh of relief when I look back on it in a few months. A victory moment for sure.

The things that went awry with our move also took away our financial cushion, about $1,000. We've tightened our belts so that when September 1st rolls around we'll have about $50 after we cover our financial obligations.

But that $50 has to last us all through September because Jake doesn't get paid until the end of it.

That's right, almost October.

And by tightening our belts, I mean not spending anything at all. And by $50, I mean to our name(s) (yes, checking and savings combine). It's a little scary, and I try not to think about it. I don't even want to drive anywhere because gas takes that much more out of our little net worth, but we have people to see and things to celebrate, and I wouldn't miss them. I've been distracting myself with thinking about/researching MFA programs, and putting books/cds/movies on reserve at the library. I'm totally trying out Jillian Michaels's 30 Day Shred - when it's my turn to pick it up from the library of course. I could potentially have a hotter body before we get paid. Holy Smokes! And I'm looking forward to it, considering I weigh as much as I did the day I had Cora.

I've been trying to look at the positives (you know, without thinking about it too much), like I'm glad we won't be $50 in the red, hopefully. And how things like this make one industrious. We played in mud all morning. Mud is fun. And I'm glad it's Way Back Wednesday at the Zoo, so we can have a family fun day for $2. And glad that it's a bit cooler out, so fun and outside can go together. And air is free, except that while Jake attempted to fill up his bike tires, our air pump broke, but not before Josephine's tires were fully inflated. I've missed that girl. I wasn't going to ride her in Winter in Chicago, and when it warmed up, I was about to burst with baby. It had been a while, but she forgave me.

And glad that everyday Magnolia is getting chunkier and Cora is getting smarter. And Jake is getting sweeter. And our home is getting cozier, and our front porch is getting more use. And we're meeting neighbors who are inviting us to things and bringing us cookies. And I saw one of my old students (a favorite for sure) drive past today. He's a senior this year. I hope he's thinking about college.

It's hard to start somewhere without a cushion, but at least it's a place we know. And we know that this is a temporary predicament, as uncomfortable as it may be. So here's to the end of September getting here soon, and to not being so worried about our bank account that we forget about the business of living until it arrives.

And so it goes

We recently moved from Chicago to Oklahoma City. (Didn't we just move to Chicago? Yes.) And this move has made me, the girl who doesn't mind moving, realize why so many people hate moving - because I am joining the ranks.

It all started on Wednesday when we called to confirm our reservation with Budget. Reservation canceled. No trucks available for at least two days after we need to move. We realize Budget customer service is horrific. This is the last day in their "72 hours to return a call." I'm anticipating filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau as I'm sure my call will not be returned after our experience thus far.

We called and called...and called every self-move company. We found ONE truck in all of the Chicago area that would hold all of our stuff. Rather than $950 for the truck and car dolly (still totally outrageous), we got our ONE truck for $1,700. Yes, you read that right. $1,700.00. (oh, and if we wanted something to pull our car, an extra $500.) The extra money is totally my Chariot Cougar II money (jogging stroller/biking trailer).

We could have hired a moving company! And not worried about a thing (except that they may have canceled our reservation as well). This was Thursday. I'm still thanking God for friends to help Jake load the truck and drive our car to Oklahoma.

Jake and Andrew drive for 14 hours on Friday and get to Oklahoma City around 8:30 PM. I went to make sure our house would be ready for our Saturday move-in. It is except for new carpet in two of the bedrooms. That was anticipated because the carpet layers were going to be there first thing Saturday morning. We got to the house at 9:30. No carpet layers. The house seems a little warm, but the windows had been open all night to help with the fresh coat of polyurethane on the wood floors (totally gorgeous, by the way). Meemaw and Peepaw were there to help us move in along with the Roses. The truck is unloaded fairly quick. Meemaw brought a huge bowl of veggies from the garden, and homemade bread. A few hours go by, no carpet, house is still warm.

I walked out to inspect the a/c, not having a clue what to look for, but it was obvious. It's a chunk of ice. We turn it off, call a/c people. We were done doing all we could do around 1:30 (we couldn't move into our bedrooms. Jake waited ALL DAY for carpet layers and a/c repair man.

Carpet layers arrive. Things are looking up. They take one look at the carpet that is already at the house to install and say: "It won't work." Great. A/C guy gets there - an easy fix. Jake gets home sweaty and gross.

Sunday: Our morning starts at 4 AM with Magnolia. Around 5:30, Cora rolls off of her air mattress and wakes up. I realize her diaper has failed. And we're out of diapers. I've never been so grateful for 24 hour Wal-marts. Vaughn and Tracey get there at 10:15. Vaughn brings yard stuff. The yard is looking infinitely better. We picked up glass from the yard from a broken window, television and large fish tank. The previous occupants left a mess. It is currently sitting on the side of the front lawn waiting for big trash pick up day. I can handle it because I know it is temporary. We strategically moved boxes around from room to room to get what we could set up. Dining room: check. Even though it has all of our mattresses and some boxes around. Den/study/the room for all of our books: check, with the same exception of being full of bedroom boxes and furniture. Same story in the living room. But it felt so nice to get some things done.

The highlight: Unpacking my dishes. It was better than Christmas, and maybe my birthday - combined. Oh Fiesta, you make my heart happy. And happier that all were intact. Oh, and we moved in Winston and Lucille (our washer and dryer).

We went to Holdenville to spend the night. I think I pulled 3-4 hours of interrupted sleep. After about hour 2, I realized I was getting a migraine (they happen when I don't get enough sleep). My saintly husband went and got the only medicine that helps my migraines go away, and the good news is that it is, in fact, feeling better. Jake just called the carpet people, still no crew available. So it has been 2 days, and we've not really been able to move into and live in our house. At any rate, the last four days have been a nightmare. Nothing has gone the way it was supposed to.

It's not all bad though. Our house is really cute, has a fenced backyard (that will be getting new sod on Saturday). Oh, and there are poles for a clothes line, I am going to cloth diaper Magnolia, and I think it will be fabulous to hang them out in the sun. Corner lot, cute neighborhood. We'll be able to move into our bedrooms eventually, right? We were able to stay with our friends, Ashleigh and Andrew. Ashleigh kept us fed and comfy. Vaughn made us some kick booty pancakes for dinner last night. My headache isn't making tears leak out of my eyes anymore. Good, good.

I'm missing two particular friends in Chicago. I'm pretty certain moving to Oklahoma was the right thing right now, but it doesn't make leaving friends any easier, especially ones that I don't think we had enough time with.


We've been packing up our possessions. By "we've," I mean mostly Jake. Today I went through my clothes to separate the clothes I don't want anymore from the ones I do - which is a difficult task when my body is still out of kilter. But I succeeded. I also took all of my maternity clothes out to put back in their tub for another rest.

My maternity clothes share the tub with all of the things I decided to keep from my college courses. Going through the extended version of that collection before we moved to Chicago was quite the task. I wanted to keep it all. But alas, I kept a stack a little over a foot tall, and part of that is a huge binder that houses my teaching portfolio. The portfolio was a huge deal in my education classes. It was supposed to be a really important item that I used in interviewing and getting a job. I haven't pulled it out once since I graduated, but since it was ingrained to be of infinite worth, I keep it.

Toward the top of my pile was a poem I wrote in what ended up being my favorite course. I took it my very last semester (Spring 2007), and had to have special permission to be in it while I was student teaching. It was at the perfect time: 4-5:15 MW. I needed that class. I miscarried my first pregnancy the week before it started. It was called Literature and Spirituality, and I was in terrible pain during our first meeting. After class, I went to the bathroom and passed a blood clot somewhere between the size of a golf and baseball.

Our assignment for the poem: Write a poem that describes your spirituality. On the back of the poem I turned in, I wrote: "Can I apologize for this poem? Of course I can... My spirituality in a poem... I don't think I had enough time. I don't know that I know enough to bring it down to a few lines rather than an epic. This poem is my eclectic spiritual self. ;)"

When my professor gave it back, it had a sweet note, along with the letter grade. I still appreciate her thoughts. I thought I'd share the poem here, as I've been pondering how different this poem might be if I were asked to write it today.


I sat listening to Burgundy Shoes
And thought the simple melody
Before the words come
Might be the right theme for my life

I opened a letter from my father
A picture of my great grandfather fell out
He had the largest cockfighting circuit in the nation
I cry at the thought of anything dying
I'm afraid of spiders
But I save them

My waist was 23 inches in high school
Now it's 24, having come down from 26
It can be 23 if I pull the tape tight
But somehow that's cheating
I don't run 5 miles a day anymore

I have everything
and something is always missing
I am fulfilled and never content
I am interested and bored out of my mind

I am floating on my back in the Pacific Ocean
Thinking of nothing
Except for sharks pulling me under
I'm suspended

I wake up

There's no ocean
or mountains
Long flat streets with no sidewalks
Bradford Pear Trees blooming
Accents I don't understand

And I love it
But it's still not mine

A Temporary Farewell

Dear Chocolate,

My baby's tummy doesn't really like it when I eat you. I feign to think of life without you, but for now it's the right thing. I was sleeping in a chair so she could be upright. And she had to be upright so she wouldn't spit up 4 to 5 times after each feeding. Don't worry, we'll catch up again some day. And in vast quantities. Until then, my friend, I bid you adieu.


A Place to Hang our Hats

We have scoured craigslist for months. We've searched Daily Oklahoman classifieds. We've followed leads of friends. We've found places that we love, offered to pay double rent to secure our spot until we can move. And we still don't have a place to live in Oklahoma City.

The catch(es): 1. We're "out of town." 2. We have kids.

I wish they could know that we're really out of town in Chicago and just trying to get back home. AND having children does not make people bad tenants. (I even understand apprehensions - I've heard horror stories of how children have destroyed rentals...but we have awesome kids.) We run into the same problem each and every time.

We just got an email of our latest fall-through. It was a cute duplex just a block away from Edgemere Park. Did I mention first floor, and a garage? I have never been a mother on the the first floor. Imagine carrying your groceries the length of a football field, through four doors, three of which must be unlocked, plus going up a flight of stairs - with off-spring in tow. Granted the garage was detached, but a designated spot off of the street. I believe this last one tried harder than the rest, but in the end, the result was the same.

I'm about ready to give up our dream neighborhood. There's one more duplex that is also a block away from Edgemere Park. It's supposed to be available August 1. That property owner told us about it last month, but he's horribly slow at replying to email so we're still waiting to hear. That's another thing, they rarely say no right off, so you spend several days, even up to a week remaining hopeful. Why is our old neighborhood so special?

It's perfect.

Biking distance to OCU for Jake (no second car - which we can't afford right now anyway), biking distance to grocery stores and fun things to do. Beautiful old homes that I spend hours dreaming about who has lived in them, the changes they've seen, how they've watched the trees grow. And most of all: the series of parks: Sparrow, Edgemere, Crown Heights, Douglas. I love it there.

So. We have our moving truck reserved. The date of our move is set. We just need a place to drive up to, unload our lives in and get to work living them again in Oklahoma City.

Pray, send good vibes, do ceremonial dances. Do whatever you can think of to help send some lightning inspiration to one of these property owners that Jake and BrieAnn are potentially the most phenomenal tenants they'll ever have.

Off to my motherly duty of feeding Magnolia. She's 26 days old today. Can you believe it?


Jake loves A Prairie Home Companion.

On any given Saturday evening, he would be content in front of the radio for two hours listening to Garrison Keillor and tales from Lake Wobegon. We were able to go a live performance of A Prairie Home Companion this past weekend. Dream come true. Yes.

The performance was part of the Ravinia Festival. We went with our friends, Matt and Lisa, and it was really a night I'll never forget. Sure, Garrison was great, but the atmosphere screamed summer. Summer in all of it's glory. The perfect evening one reads about in books, and hears about in days gone by.

We entered the gate and were greeted by other Ravinia-goers spread out on an expansive lawn with tables and chairs and blankets set up. Picnics all around. And the smell of wine. We found our spot under a tree, spread our blankets and began sharing good food. The show began. We laughed, exchanged glances, felt the truth in the music of John Prine. The show ended, but the evening did not.

We read passages from Dandelion Wine, bits of James Agee, and took part in meaningful conversation. I thought about and mentioned how long it had been since I'd seen the moon. After a while, the double in double feature began. It was a piano concert filtered through speakers out to us. Everyone was quiet. Cora wanted to dance. Lisa, a dancer herself, danced with her, for a long time. It was beautiful to watch. We walked down the dirt road along the train tracks back to the bus that took us to our cars that would take us home. We saw a few fireworks going off in distant places in Chicago.We stepped onto our street, the smell of wine still lingering in the air.

I will miss Matt and Lisa. A lot. They're some of our all-time favorite friends.


I was pouring myself a glass of water from the Brita pitcher we keep in the fridge. Magnolia was cradled in one arm, and Cora was sleeping. The water was chasing a peanut butter bar. They are a weakness of mine, and this is the second batch since Tracey has been here.

Have I mentioned that my hips are about two sizes bigger at the moment? They are. This didn't happen after Cora. I don't know if it's just from weight gain, or if it's a side effect of a vaginal delivery. You know, pushin' a baby through rather than having her lifted out of my abdomen. At any rate, peanut butter bars and water it is...and the 6 pecan pancakes I ate for breakfast at The Original Pancake House.

When I placed my empty glass on the counter, I looked up and saw a name tag from my days as a teacher. Did you know I was a teacher? I was. A high school English teacher. I call it my life before I became a mother. I have a magnetic name tag to prove it, and it lives on my refrigerator. I wore that with pride and seeing the word "Teacher" with "Northwest Classen High School" written underneath it brought a wave of bittersweet.

I love that place.

I love those kids.

My freshman are going to be seniors in the 2010-2011 school year. Wow! Time flies. I'm so thankful we'll be back in Oklahoma City. I'd been trying to figure out how I could get there for graduation with two kids and Jake in school. Now I won't have to worry about it.

Teacher/Mother - With the exception of having to get dressed in the morning - they're very much the same.

Northwest Classen "Knights"


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