"You can make anything by writing."

-- C. S. Lewis

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Gaining Some Perspective

When Ryley was just hating her diving class this summer, she told me that she developed a trick for getting through it:

“Every time I am really not enjoying it, I think to myself, ‘There will be a time when I am done with diving and in the van and on my way home. There will be a time when this is over.’ And that’s what gets me through it.”

I am trying to incorporate that same philosophy with my job these days. Here, in my comfy chair, several hours after the fact, with my husband and daughter, and the smell of fall lightly dusting our home, it becomes easier to remove myself from the stress of the day. It’s easy to think, “Wow, that was a crazy day! Why did I end up in tears again?”

But when I’m there, in the moment, with a list of angry customers I need to call back, and deadlines to meet, and insurance companies yelling at me, and angry Mexicans in my office arguing over payroll, and my e-mail not working….It’s hard to remember that anything else matters. It’s  hard to get some perspective and remember that the world outside my office is so much bigger and that there will be a time later on when I am curled up on the couch watching a movie with my family and the workday is complete.

No, I shouldn’t go back to the office tonight, because being with my family is the most important thing.

And why can’t I get paid buku bucks to sit in my comfy chair and dream up stories on the computer all day long?


Last night was Back to School Night, wherein Ryan and I congregated with parents of other 4th graders and sat at our daughter’s desk to envision what her learning environment will be like for the next nine months. What camaraderie  there was in discussing the weight of homework assignments on students’ grades and hearing other parents question the amount of homework given. We learned that we were not the only ones who had issues in 3rd grade. Though it felt at the time like Ryley was singled out and like she was the only one struggling, we know now (much too late) that she wasn’t alone. And now I feel more freedom to speak up to teachers and talk to other parents too, if needed, in the future.

In that moment, sitting in Ryley’s chair next to Ryan, trying to make a good impression on the teacher as “Ryley’s parents” (because first impressions are key, right?), I loved being Ryley’s mommy. I loved that behind me were Emma’s mommy and Abby’s daddy, and next to me was Jason’s mommy. All are Ryley’s good friends, and their parents are good people. We are all mommies and daddies, and we all want the best for our kids. We want our kids to be loved, appreciated, valued, and exulted over by the people that teach them. I kind of wanted to suggest a group hug at the end, but I wasn’t sure if everyone else was quite feeling the vibe I was. ;-)

And then, as everyone flocked to the gym for the principal’s Power-Point presentation of flow charts of after-school pick-up lines, Ryan and I headed for the exit. We have felt our souls die while sitting in that gym one too many times. We had done what we had come to do, and we are very happy with Ryley’s teachers, the curriculum, and the 4th grade year to be.

“We’re adults,” Ryan whispered. “They can’t make us stay!” And it was a good feeling. :-)

May the school year begin!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Where the Wind Comes Sweepin’ Down the Plain

We had a wonderful time visiting my family in Oklahoma this past weekend!

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Even though it was unbearably hot….

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we made the best of it! We baked some cookies in the van; it took a couple hours, but it was pretty fun for Ryley. :-)

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Pappaw shows Ryley his impressive coin collection!

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My parents have season passes to the Oklahoma Aquarium, so we took advantage of that fantastic air-conditioned activity on Friday morning.


Mammaw and Jack….


Alyson with Will and Jack…


Ryley touches a shark of some sort…


and a stingray!



Justin has taught the boys to call Ryan “El Guapo.” So all weekend, when Ryan wasn’t in sight, Will and Jack would wander the house yelling, “Guapo! Guapo!” It was so funny!

They are also surprisingly good at using I-Phones. Several times when I had one of them on my lap, they would reach out and swipe screens or close an app altogether!

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The boys rode their first carousel on Saturday, and it was a hit!


Looks like Justin was enjoying the ride too!!!






We met some family friends for lunch…

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Then went to some other family friends’ house for swimming and BBQ in the evening!



We took family pictures on Sunday morning at a nearby park; I don’t have copies of those yet, but here’s a cute moment I captured….


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Justin and family left in the afternoon, and that evening we fished in my parents’ pond. It was amazingly successful. We caught more than 15 fish in two hours!


Pappaw was so nice to touch the bait and fish so the girls didn’t have to! :-)


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It was such a lovely few days, and it was really hard to leave! I am so grateful for my loving family. :-)

I feel like we really got some good rest while we were gone. I took a nap every single day, and I actually forgot to look at my phone for hours at a time!

Work has been insane since we’ve been back, and with a freelance writing project coming up this weekend, as well as preparations for the start of school, I’ve been feeling pretty stressed. This has not been the best summer, so it was nice to get away and rejuvenate, if only for a few days. :-) Thanks, Mom and Dad, for everything!