Oreos have nothing on me

I stuffed a pillow today.

Then I stuffed my gut with way too much sopa de maiz from Iguana. If I wake up with a double chin, I won't be surprised.

I stuffed my mind with good conversations because of the great company we enjoyed over dinner. Thanks Leslie and Paul.

I took our babysitter home after I stuffed some money in her pocket.

I got home just in time to read stories, but just before we said our prayers, the sky that was stuffed with hail decided to start wreaking havoc over Oklahoma City.

We were lucky. No damage. We'll do a little go around Dot when the sun comes up to make sure, but the big hail missed us.

My eye lids are heavy, my gratitude has taken the place of the soup on my insides, and I'm off to bed. I hope we come out as well after tomorrow's storms.


I had one of the best meals ever tonight. We got home a little later than normal for starting dinner around here. We spent most of the day helping Jake's cousin and her family move to a new house in Norman, and we were tired and hungry. What I made ended up being like an Indian inspired Shepherd's Pie.

It's the kind of thing where every bite, no every chew, is something your look forward to. So flavorful and rich and warm and comforting. Yes, tonight's meal was the epitome of comfort food.

I love food. I love flavors and textures, and spices, oh how I love spices. I should take a picture of my spice "cabinet" sometime. I used to dread seeing a recipe with a spice I didn't have because I didn't want to get it and use 1 teaspoon and have it sit there for who knows how long until I would need it again. It's different now. I have a whole shelf [and a half] in my really tiny kitchen devoted to spices. And I use most of them pretty regularly.

One of my favorite phrases: You don't even know what you don't know.

Among many things, food is a great example of that in my life. I just had no idea - and I still have no idea of everything that's out there, every flavor my taste buds have yet to experience. It's so exciting.

Anyway, if you ever come over for dinner, I'm probably going to make you what we had tonight. Prepare yourself. Your experience will be ethereal.

On an ethereal note: This weekend is memorial day weekend, which also means IT'S THE PASEO ARTS FESTIVAL WEEKEND! It's my favorite arts festival. I look forward to it every year (it's always memorial day weekend). We used to live one block away from the Paseo. It was so fun to see the streets fill with cars and people. We would walk our block to the winding loveliness that is the Paseo, and just get lost in dreamland. If you're in Oklahoma, you should spend some time at this festival this weekend.

First School Year: Check

Today was the end of Cora's first school year. I decided that I would start a tradition of taking a picture of her wearing the same outfit that she wore on the first day of school on the last day of school. I almost got it right. When I was looking through photos, I realized I put her in a different denim dress. Oh well. I thought it was pretty lucky she still fit into the [wrong] dress. 

First Day of School

Last Day of 3-Day

I also realized when looking through photos, that Magnolia has changed SO much! You can read about Cora's first day here, as well as see pictures of Magnolia. What sweet Little Loves.

We went thrifting today after school [after the park after school].  We didn't find everything we needed, but I did find a small pitcher for Cora. We're going to designate a shelf in the fridge to her drinks and snacks so she can get them whenever she'd like to. The little pitcher is perfect for her to pour from. And while I was looking at St. Vincent DePaul for a Cora sized counter-height table for her to help prepare food on in our kitchen, I found an amazing pleated chambray skirt. Just my size. And clothes were 1/2 off. It's seriously sweet, and was all of $1.35. It will be perfect with the strappy wedge sandals my mom got me for my birthday.

A shout out to my mother-in-law, Tracey, who added another candle to her cake today. And to Jake, who walked across the stage on the football field of Holdenville High School nine years ago. What a day of passages.


I've been spending countless hours trying to figure out what to do with the rest of my life. It's a funny quest, despite its seriousness. It's been on my mind most of the time in the last year and a half or so. Questions like who am I really, and what do I really love, what do I really want to do, what do I really believe, and countless sub-questions that all have something to do with those main questions have been, at times, plaguing me. I've been on a quest of unknowing to know.

All the while, I've been trying to come up with something that, in addition to being fulfilling, is also financially sustaining in order to have a more comfortable life in terms of finances for not only the future of Jake and me, but also for our girls. Being a parent changes everything in the financial outlook. Before having kids, being a teacher and musician were completely comfortable ideas, but being on the other side with the mountain of educational debt and the molehill of income, it complicates things a bit.

Sometimes, it's easy to answer all of my pressing questions, but then I realize the answers to those questions in terms of careers are not something society values much with money, though humanity would tumble to pieces without them. And then my idealist feels disappointed that I'm thinking about money instead of fulfilling the dreams of my inner self, but my realist says, "Let's be reasonable. You also need security." Oh, and it also says, "Snap out of it, Magnolia needs a diaper change." A realist keeps it real after all.

I actually applied for a few teaching jobs for the fall. It's been such a relief to hear that I didn't get one, and I don't mind that I haven't heard from the other yet, and it's my dream teaching job at this point. I haven't even followed up yet! This is so unlike me. But a REALLY BIG part of me knows that all of these sweet moments of watching my little babies grow up are so fleeting. I can work for the rest of my life, but I can't rewind time, and me being home with my girls is our normal. I've had to work really hard at embracing stay-at-home-motherhood. It was so hard for me to wrap my mind around its importance (about my importance in doing it) for a long time.

I've really spent so much time trying to figure out what to do when this phase of my life is over, that I feel like I've missed out on living in this moment, being present for four-year-old Cora and one-year-old Magnolia. Getting a job feels like the practical thing to do in terms of finances, but everything on my insides is saying, "NO!" What I'm learning now because I'm finally embracing my role will be worth more to me and my life than any monetary gain. That's the other amazing thing about motherhood, it has the power to teach you more than anything else you can experience. Like patience...and how to remove melted blue crayon from a load of clothes that have gone through the dryer.

What I really want to talk about are definitions. In constantly facing the above questions, I've had a hard time claiming these things that make me tick. Here's an example I love to write, but find it difficult to call myself a writer because I'm not publishing anything. I feel a little dead inside when I'm not creating, but am hesitant to call myself an artist because I have nothing in a gallery. The list goes on, and one of  the shocking discoveries is that I'm trying to define myself by monetary value. I'm not paid for my writing, it has no value. I'm not paid for my works of art, they have no value. I contribute nothing to retirement...you see the pattern. I know I'm not alone in this. How do we shift the perception - the understanding of how we define ourselves. If I was brave enough to claim "writer" or "artist," what would happen. If I felt my worth from the inside, would I ever question the immense value of this time with my girls? Would I lose the fear of creating for no one, the apprehension that blocks my mind when I think of writing something nobody cares about or that it would be written off by the people I hold most dear? And in losing the fear and gaining the freedom to just be, would I exceed every expectation I have for myself?
A voice keeps saying, "Let go. Let go. Let go.... Don't live your life based on the expectations of others."


This weekend was lovely. Cora was awesome at her soccer game! She stuck with the ball the whole time. She's youngest on her team by a year. Sometimes, she gets distracted by dirt, but yesterday, she had her game on.

Jake was playing for AMDA auditions downtown during her game and sent me a text that he was worried about where he parked Scoot. After the game, we drove through downtown to see if we could locate and perhaps save Scoot if he was in peril. To our delight, we got stopped at a light, and stopped at the opposite light was Jake! He was done two hours early.

We went home, staked our baby trees, and finished getting ready to go to Jake's parents' house. We enjoyed family time and were able to meet my brother-in-law's boyfriend Preston, who was visiting from Denver. I was glad that I knew I liked him in the first 1/2 second of meeting him. Church held a wonderful video message from Kris Judd who is one of the Presidents of the Quorum of the Seventy in Community of Christ. Her message was "Vulnerable to Christ's Touch."

When we got home, I pulled a lot of mail out of our mailbox and found that someone had stolen both mine and Jake's identity and had opened credit card accounts in our names. The fact that both of our identity's were stolen makes it easy to know the source. Both accounts were opened two days after our first donation to the plasma center. I have no doubt that their information database has been compromised. Something flattering about the situation: We have great credit. I'm impressed with the credit lines that were offered. It's a really serious situation, I don't want to make light of it, but I just think it's funny that while someone who isn't us is opening substantial amounts of credit in our name, I'm researching clothes dryers that won't burn our clothes like our current one does, and has been doing for over a year, but I've just "lived with." And while flattering, it is REALLY funny, that while our credit is excellent, anyone would ever extend that line of credit with all of our student loan debt. I can't imagine how many more years that would take to pay off.

PS: We've contacted all of the appropriate credit agencies and the accounts have been closed. I'm calling CSL Plasma's headquarters tomorrow to make them aware of the fact that information is being stolen from them. Hopefully this will be a one time thing.


I planted 72 petunias in our front flower beds a few days ago. I dug the holes with a kitchen spoon. My hand is a little sore.

Today I pulled four-hundred-seventy-million weeds in the front yard. Jake helped. There are about four-hundred-seventy-BILLION left. We're going to re-seed the bare spots soon because I'm pretty sure the soil has reached the right temperature for optimum germination. Our yard is teaching me patience. With the exception of ripping it up and starting all over, there is no quick fix for a lawn that had been neglected for years. I do know: O'Connor's fertilizer works wonders. I'm hoping that someday, all we'll need to take care of our lawn will be its own clippings and corn gluten meal.

Back to petunias. I just love them. They grow so happily and look pretty for so long. I'm partial to them because they're really my first little flower love. Even if I neglected them, I could water them back to life in a few days. When planting 72, I failed to remember the amount of dead heading that just one healthy petunia takes. I will be busy. I like being outside.  

I played about 10 songs on the piano yesterday. They were simple. I only attempted two keys. The one with no flats or sharps, and the one with one flat (c and f respectively - I just asked Jake). It was fun. Jake asked if I ever played with my left hand. The answer is no, but kind of yes, too. When I was in eighth grade (or so), I got Angel by Sarah McLaughlin, and I worked and worked that song over. I don't know that I ever got it just right, but I really wanted to. It took so much time, I had to write in [almost] every note/fingering. I always think it's so funny the disparity between Jake's ability to sit and read lines upon lines of notes and not even have to think about where his fingers go, and my ability to plunk out two keys with one hand. We're both musical, but I have no ability to express that in any way other than my voice (which I rarely do in front of anybody), and formerly as an occasional page turner during Jake's recitals because I could "read" music.

I was able to help with the Letter Carriers Food Drive for the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma. My jeans are dirty in all of the right spots. There was a group of girls scouts there. They were so cute, and so eager to help. I love watching children work. I can't wait for my girls to get a little older. This would have been great for them with the sorting of different types of packaging. I met a couple who are major volunteering extraordinaires. It was fun talking to them about all they do in the community. They had major roles in the memorial marathon. My extra favorite part was how they talked about bringing their kids everywhere they would volunteer and how all of their children, who are all grown, are involved in the community still. I hope I can set that kind of example, even though I don't think I'd ever want to juggle all that they do. Like I was blown away with everything they help with. Cool, cool people. All around.

And lastly, tomorrow is Mother's Day. I have no gushy post, just a picture.

23rd Street and this day of mine

Jake is gigging it up in Stroud, OK tonight. I'm not expecting him until after ten or so. I just put the girls to bed. Magnolia is talking through two doors. She talks for a little while before she goes to sleep, probably to her gathering of friends who sleep with her every night: Puppy, Owl, Giraffe, Amelia (her stuffed dachshund, just like Uncle Parker's, though his is not stuffed...unless she just ate), Peanut, and tonight she just had to have two babies.

I spent almost three hours in the kitchen. I made a new recipe that was super delicious, but I was the only one who ate it. Jake has a lot of leftovers for an after-gig snack. After that, I made some peanut butter cups, and then I realized Jake didn't pick up chocolate chips, so I made some chocolate. Have I ever shared that recipe? Cora ate two peanut butter cups, which was impressive because they are rich. Goo had half of one. I had one and a half (do you eat all of your children's leftovers, too?). I also had several pieces of the leftover chocolate. I put cashews in it. It was good, but I prefer almonds.

Today I donated plasma for the first time. I've never even donated blood. For a long time, I didn't weigh enough, but having babies has taken care of that. There is a perk to little love handles, who knew? I didn't know what to expect. I think there's always been a stigma (whether real or just in my mind) about selling plasma. Like it's desperate or something. Really, the plasma is a donation and the money is a compensation for your time. I never realized how much they take from you. It's a substantial amount. I enjoyed being on the "floor" in a super comfy bed/lounge-y thing surrounded by people from all walks of life. I was trying to read, but I found myself people watching most of the time - slyly of course. We were all in there being vulnerable together, for whatever reason, with our blood being sucked out, altered, and put back in. I think I'll be a regular.

The donation center is four blocks from my house. I walked. On 23rd street. Sorry if you're not from Oklahoma City and don't understand why 23rd street is a big deal. It's the street my university is on, about a mile down. The mile or so that borders our neighborhood used to be amazing, with a theatre and high end shopping. Urban flight took its toll, but it's on the upswing. There are a lot of fun restaurants and businesses coming in. I have high hopes there there will be a full renovation of the Tower Theatre.

Anyway, in all my years in Oklahoma City, for the hundreds if not thousands of times I've driven on 23rd street, I've never walked along it (with the exception of crossing it to get to Gatewood Elementary when I was a volunteer Spanish teacher for a semester during college). I passed by Joe's Pawn Shop, and I want to go check out the guitars. I also want to go into Lillian Strickler Lighting someday. That store has stood its ground for decades.

I love my city. I often wish I could tweak things here and there (it has been transforming faster than I ever thought it could in really amazing ways), but it has so many interesting quirks, and today I realized there are several more I want to explore almost literally, right out my back door.

The littlest things

Jake spent most of the morning and part of the afternoon installing a new garage door opening apparatus. The garage door has always been automatic, but I've never had a remote for the car, and the garage door opener was so old that even universal remotes wouldn't program with it.

We've had the new system for a while, just sitting in the garage, but not much time to install it. Last week, the keypad that we used to get into the garage went out. It was inconvenient to get out of the car and go through the backyard to the garage's side door to push the button to open the door. Major problems, I know.

To make a long story short, I now have a remote in my [still unnamed] car that opens my garage door. This is huge. It's raining, so what? Except that our garage is detached so weather doesn't really matter. What does matter is that I don't have to get in and out of my car multiple times because I'm either opening or closing the door. That will save me almost two whole minutes each day.

I am really going to live it up with all this extra time I'm going to have.

PS: I was going to do my first vlog tonight (you know, video/blog). It was going to allow you to witness the magic of remote garage door opening. Unfortunately, Magnolia was having a hard time falling asleep and Jake was marathon grading, so I didn't want to just peace out and have her be hysterical and him not be able to do what he needed to get done (grades are due tomorrow at noon). I think we can all thank her.


I turned 27 four days ago.

I spent the whole year I was 26 never quite sure how old I was. I always thought it was 25 or 27. I feel sort of like 26 deserves a do-over.

What's that? You mean you can never stop time and put it in reverse? Hmm.

I picked my mom up from the airport on the very day I officially gained another year. I had a nice long weekend with her. We did girlie things that can be difficult with small children. We went shopping. I tried on clothes without the dressing room door opening. I ended up with a new pair of greatly needed jeans, and some other clothes including some sweet 70's-esque strappy wedge sandals.

We also got - drum roll, please - mani-pedis. My nails are Big Apple Red (OPI), and I am loving them. I rarely wear nail polish, but these little flashes of red are quite pleasing to my aesthetics.

I took her to the airport today REALLY early. It was a nice, very different, change of pace to be completely pampered for a whole weekend. I mean, for real, I sat in a chair that massaged my back while someone rubbed my feet. Over the top.

I got a call early this afternoon that what I bought myself with a portion of the birthday money from Jake's family had arrived. I've worn this pair of sandals almost everyday for the last 2.5 years. They are literally falling a part, but I love them, and I was going to try to make it another season, but I'm pretty sure it's any day until I wear a hole through the sole (I think a post all about my beloved sequin sandals will be in the near future).

After my whole injured foot incident, I decided my everyday footwear should have more support, so I splurged and bought a pair of Chaco sandals. They didn't have my size in the style and color I wanted, so they [MetroShoe Warehouse - go visit, they are awesome] ordered them, and the Chacos are now on my feet. I think we're going to be long-time friends. Really long time as they can be re-soled and re-strapped. And even if there comes a day I grow weary of them, I can send them back to Chaco and they will re-make them and send them to someone who needs a pair of shoes. But I doubt that will happen. I'm a wear-almost everything-I-own-out type. There are some things I get tired of before that day arrives, but not many.

27, wow, I have high hopes for what you and I can do together this year.

Some Favorite Lines

There are so many songs that have a line or two that fly through my mind seemingly without reason. I don't know why certain lines have found a permanent place in my thinking. I'm sure it had a lot to do with the context of my life when I heard them. At any rate, here are some of the most frequent fliers:

The sun comes up, I think about you...
(Losing My Mind, Follies)

Your skin smells lovely like sandalwood. Your hair falls soft like animals. And nothing else matters to me [...] I want to kiss the back of your neck, the top of your spine where your hair hits, and gnaw on your fingertips and fall asleep. I'll talk you to sleep.
(Sandalwood, Lisa Loeb)

Belief makes things real, makes things feel, feel all right. Belief makes things true, things like you, you and I.
(Belief, Gavin DeGraw)

Let me run through a field in the night, let me lift from the ground 'till my soul is in flight. Let me sway like the shade of a tree. Let me swirl like a cloud in a storm on the sea.
(Flight, Craig Carnelia)

You are my sweetest downfall. I loved you first, I loved you first. Beneath the sheets of paper lies my truth.
(Samson, Regina Spektor)

And when he knew for certain only drowning men could see him [...] He sank beneath your wisdom like a stone.
(Suzanne, Leonard Cohen)

Jesus said mother I couldn't stay another day longer. He flies right by and leaves a kiss upon her face. While the angels are singing his praises in a blaze of glory, Mary stays behind and starts cleaning up the place.
(Mary, Patty Griffin)

When I lay my burden down there'll be no mourners outside my window. Put my body in the ground because my spirit will be free at last.
(Lay My Burden Down, Caroline Herring)

Something in your eyes, makes me want to lose myself, makes me want to lose myself, in your arms. There's something in your voice, makes my heart beat fast. I hope this feeling lasts for the rest of my life.
(Feels Like Home, Chantal (Kreviazuk)

And we're all so strong when nothing's wrong and the world is at our feet. But how small we are when our love is far away, and all you need is you.
(20,000 Seconds, K's Choice)

There's an unrest inside me, and I think I'll go mad [...] I've such grand aims with so many names that I grow numb. But one's surely bound to come because I wish it so.
(I Wish it So, Juno).

Forty years go by with someone laying in your bed. Forty years of things you say you wish you'd never said. How hard would it have been to say some kinder words instead? I wonder as I stare up at the sky turning red.
(Long Ride Home, Patty Griffin)

If everybody's grateful how come nobody's satisfied [...] Don't worry up your mind. People are sick and mean sometimes. Don't worry up your mind, they're only words. It's only words.
(Words, Ryan Adams)

It's in the easy silence that you make for me. It's okay when there's nothing more to say to me. And the peaceful quiet you create for me, and the way you keep the world at bay for me.
(Easy Silence, Dixie Chicks)

In a world that can bring pain. I will still take each chance. For I believe that whatever the terrain, our feet can learn to dance. Whatever stone life may sling, we can mourn or we can sing [...] Grateful, grateful, truly grateful I am.
(Grateful, John Bucchino)

If there's ever an answer, it's more love.
(More Love, Dixie Chicks)


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