Monday, May 30, 2011

Snips and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

I come from a family of all girls. Our world was one of hairbows. Barbies. Nail polish. Giggling. Slumber parties.

I've gotta confess - I don't know all that much about boy stuff. Like sports ("What's Death Valley?"/"Who's Dabo?" Sorry Bon!). Or bugs. Or light sabers.

But oh, when I held precious little Rivers Harvey McClain, who is most certainly all boy already, I was certain I could make some serious exceptions.

Would I sit for three hours to watch his Little League game? Absolutely.

Would I let him show me some creepy crawly from the backyard and ooooh and ahhhh over it? Without a doubt.

Would I do my best to play light sabers? Darn tootin.

Anything for this boy.

I am lucky to teach 5th grade on the same team with his beautiful mama, Mrs. Bonnie McClain. She is already the coolest mom ever! No stress. No constant freaking out about germs or rashes or exact feeding amounts. (I just maaaaay have overfed him by a few ounces...he is a growing boy! How was I supposed to just rip that bottle away?!)

Anyway, Bonnie was just as positive and cheerful as ever. Coolest Mom Award goes to you, hands down.

(And can I just say, I have some gorgeous friends? How does a woman look this good a day after delivering a baby?)

From about halfway through her pregnancy, we could tell that Rivers was gonna be a good little athlete. I could frequently feel him doing some high scoring gymnastics in his mom's tummy. When I held him tonight, I could feel him trying to kick and stretch through his swaddling blankets. He's a pistol, alright. Bon and Adam say they know they're in for a ride!

Now I know:
At first I couldn't wait for Rivers to get here. Now I just can't wait to go to one of his Little League games.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Big Bird Scare

I got home from eating dinner last week and was stunned when I saw a big bird.

Nope. Not this kind of big bird.

This kind.

That's right. To my horror, I saw an owl lying in wait in the bushes directly in front of my windshield, literally two feet in front of my car. It was an owl with a beak sharp as a T-rex talon. Its demonic yellow eyes were piercing through my very soul even through the dark of the 8:00 night.

To be fair I didn't ACTUALLY see the eyes. They were closed. I figured the direct beam of my headlights was causing him to camouflage himself by shutting his beady little bird peepers. Well, this killer wasn't fooling me.

In the bushes I could make out his pointy little tail and his soldier-like posture. I knew this owl was ready to strike, ready to plunge towards me the moment I stepped out of the steely gray protection of my Saab. I had a brief daymare of this owl making a beeline for my forehead, knocking me over in one fell swoop, and pecking my eyes out.

Of course, I did the one thing I always do in a crisis.

I called my mom.

"THERE'S A HUGE OWL IN FRONT OF MY CAR!!!!" I squealed at a high enough pitch for only the local dogs to hear.

"Honey, it's not going to hurt you," my mom said, annoyingly rationally.

"MOM!" I wailed. "It's going to peck my eyeballs out and eat them for dinner! I'M GOING TO GO BLIND!"

"Aww honey, that's okay. I can get you a seeing eye dog," she said, "But I guess that wouldn't be good because you don't like dogs."


"Well," my mom sighed. "Flash your lights or something. See if it flies away."

I did.

Nothing changed.

The killer just sat there, still as one of those soldiers in London that you can spit on and they won't move. The ones with the dumb black helmets that look like Marge Simpson's hair.

"Honk your horn then," mom suggested.

I did. Several times. The dern owl didn't fluff a feather.

"Just go on in...I'll stay on the phone with you," said my mom patiently.

"No!! I'm not getting out of the car NOW! Not after I honked my HORN at him!!! Now he's DEFINITELY going to peck my eyes out!!!" I shrieked loudly. "Forget it!! I'm moving my car!!!"

I warily pulled out, then shook myself out of my bird-induced hysteria and pulled back in. "I'm getting out!" I cried to my mom. "I'll call you back as soon as I'm in the door!"

I hung up. Gathered the vestiges of my waning courage. Opened the door of my car a tiny crack.

Suddenly the motion detector light on the side of my building came on.

I craned my neck to look closer at my feathered killer.

I called my mom back and said all in one sentence:


Now I know:
I may need to check into getting contacts. Or avian-aversion therapy.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

New 'do

I'm getting my hair diiiid tomorrow, and by a sweet twist of fate my Aunt Phyllis sent me a link where you can upload your face and change the hair on

What perfect timing! Now I just need to decide whether or not to get the extenshiiiiins....

Anyway, should I go for:

Fergie hair?

or Katie Holmes hair?

or Taylor Swift hair?
Or Heather Morris hair?

Or Gwenyth Paltrow hair?

Or Rihanna hair?
Or Blake Lively hair?
Or Sienna Miller hair?

Or Jennifer Hudson hair? (I think we can all agree bangs just aren't my thing...)

Or my personal favorite, the look I think I'm going with....

Kate Middleton Princess hair, complete with tiara!

Or should I just get highlights and look the same?

Cast your vote now!

Now I know:
Playing with your hair virtually is way more fun than in real life.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Song Saturday #10 - Happy Mother's Day!

When I was a baby I had blue eyes. I'm really glad they turned green so I could have a chance to be as beautiful as my mom.

She has eyes that are warm and caring, deep with wisdom and enlightened by experience. Her life has not been easy, but my relationship with her has been. Mostly because my mom is a living example for all around her of what it means to show love through selfless service and giving.

Because when your two-year old kid throws up right in your face, and you take care of them before going to get a shower yourself - that's love.

When your five-year old kid wants to watch "The Wizard of Oz" until the tape breaks, and you let her do so without complaint - that's love.

When your ten-year old kid sings "The Sign" by Ace of Base until you want to break the cassette tape yourself, but you listen appreciatively anyway - that's love.

When your twelve-year old kid wants to get better at volleyball and you throw the ball to her in the backyard for hours and hours every night - that's love.

When your fifteen-year old kid procrastinates on doing a project until the night before and you running through Wal-Mart to buy styrofoam and paint at 11:00 pm - that's love.

When your eighteen-year old kid leaves for college and you put on a brave face and smile even though your heart is breaking inside because you have to leave her - that's love.

When your twenty-one year old kid calls you crying in the bathroom from her day job and you tell her that nothing is permanent and she supports you if you want to quit - that's love.

When your twenty-six year old kid is a teacher and has a class party and asks you to help, you make 30 homemade meatballs and drive them down to Greenville and love on those kids like they were your own - that's love.

My mom is love. And I am so happy that I get to tell the world that today.

Now I know:
And I love you for giving me your eyes

Staying back and watching me shine
and I didn't know if you knew

So I'm taking this chance to say
that I had the best day with you today

I'm five years old and it's getting cold
I've got my big coat on
I hear your laugh and look up smiling at you
I run and run
Past the pumpkin patch and the tractor rides
Look now the sky is gold
I hug your legs and fall asleep on the way home

I don't know why all the trees change in the fall
I know you're not scared of anything at all
Don't know if Snow White's house is near or far away
But I know I had the best day with you today

I'm thirteen now and don't know how my friends could be so mean
I come home crying and you hold me tight and grab the keys
And we drive and drive until we found a town far enough away
And we talk and window shop till I forgot all their names

I don't know who I'm gonna talk to now at school
But I know I'm laughing on the car ride home with you
Don't know how long it's gonna take to feel okay
But I know I had the best day with you today

I have an excellent father
His strength is making me stronger
God smiles on my little brother
Inside and out he's better than I am

I grew up in a pretty house and I had space to run
And I had the best days with you

There is a video I found from back when I was three
You set up a paint set in the kitchen and you're talking to me
It's the age of princesses and pirate ships and the seven dwarfs
Daddy's smart and you're the prettiest lady in the whole wide world

Now I know why all the trees change in the fall
I know you were on my side even when I was wrong
And I love you for giving me your eyes
Staying back and watching me shine and I didn't know if you knew
So I'm taking this chance to say that I had the best day with you today

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Five Senses of Appreciation

It's Teacher Appreciation Week. And boy, do I ever feel appreciated.

On Monday, I arrived to school and was given a gigantic, poster card signed by all my students. My eyes feasted on the sweet notes and drawings put there by 26 kids I will simply never forget:
"You rocked out my fifth grade year!"
"I'll never forget you!"
"You are like a mom to me. I love you so much!"
One girl even took the time to draw out individual letters on taped together index cards. She said that the letters spell out a word that describes me and she is giving me one each day this week. She gave me "M," "G," and "A" before I figured out that the word is "AMAZING."
On my worst day, on my hardest, most difficult, most patient-deficient day, I will read these words and will get a shot of 100% pure encouragement.

On Tuesday, I arrived to school and my students filed in, each carrying a flower. My nose took in the sweet smell of light pink peonies, fresh lavender, bright blue irises, and deep red roses all bursting into bloom. Each time I get a whiff of that gorgeous handpicked spring bouquet on my desk, I smile because I know I am loved.

Today, on Wednesday, I finished a long day. The bane of my existence is figuring out what to eat for dinner. But I didn't even have to think about it tonight, because my precious room mom cooked up a taste bud-tingling meal of fresh caprese, cannelini beans with fresh basil and tomato, and a whole loaf of chewy, crunchy sourdough bread. I ate that meal and was filled up - not just with food, but with gratitude.

Each day I've felt the big hugs from the kids in my class. I feel the smile lines around my eyes getting a little bit deeper. I feel my heart growing bigger with the love that I feel for each one of these unique children that God placed in my life this year.

I'm not sure what the rest of the week holds, but I know it's going to be difficult to feel any more appreciated.

Now I know:

My work to me is not a job. It is my joy.