The Discovery- Poemy Monday

A farewell to daily slicing, an ode to motherhood, first tries, last tries. Take your pick. ūüôā


The discovery,

the wonder,

the knowing,

the unsureness,

the trepidation,

the bravery.

Getting to see it all.

The shyness,

the joy,

the heartbreak,

the love.

Getting to feel it all,

and having it come back to you.


If you chose slicing (or even if you didn’t and are still reading anyways): THANK YOU. Thank you for all of your wonderful, heartfelt, funny, poignant, clever, genius writing over this last month. I have been humbled by your comments and privileged to read your words. So thank you for a¬†month like no other. I used to hate the dreary gray month of March and you have turned it around¬†for me. Bring on March 2015!


The Day I Cried

It was an uphill battle to get pregnant and stay pregnant. I never fully let myself acknowledge that I was going to have a healthy, full term baby. When it came time for my gazillionth ultrasound, the one to determine the gender of the baby, I lowered the wall just a fraction of an inch.

I actually researched ultrasound pictures because I wanted to see if I could test myself. Yup, I knew the little lines meant a girl, and if my heart would admit it to my brain, I wanted a girl. I saw that little heart beating on the screen above me and I was transfixed. That little bleep bleep consumed all of my attention with its beauty, its life. I forgot to look for the two little lines at first because of it. Then I saw them.

We were having a girl.

She would be the seventh in the fam. I wasn’t going to win the first boy bet that has been standing since the year 2000 and that was fine with me. The day she was born was a flurry of activity around us and inside me. She was unhappy with the doctor’s decision to choose her birthdate. A c-section was ordered and I cannot retell it in minute detail. I remember odd little snippets of time. I remember the assisting doctor estimate she would weigh over 9 pounds, he was crazy right. I remember Brian peeking over the curtain and turning a little bit gray, wishing he hadn’t. I remember them bringing her over to me and I remember crying.

This is where the world of mothers hates me. Where people cannot fathom my thinking. I cried because she was real and here. I cried because my heart just burst open wide after being so closed up for so long. I cried because I was so happy. Remember that when you continue reading.

I also cried because my little girl looked like her grandpa, who is decidedly NOT¬†a girl. ¬†She was crinkly and had this really dark tuft of what could be curly hair. Her eyes were all squinty and her face was swollen. She was in fact nine pounds, four ounces and twenty two and¬†a half inches long. She did not look like a little newborn. The physician that checked her out later that week would say in jest, “Oh, I see. Been here two months?” She was so not what the cute little alien in my ulstrasound was meant to look like. I loved her with my whole heart. But I cried. I blame the hormones. But in all reality, it was a week or so before her face and head simmered down a bit and that dark tuft of hair was not so dark after all.

I had my real, live, right here, not a figment of my imagination, biggest stealer of my heart right in front of me.

And I cried.


Places Forgotten in Time


Dilapidated, decaying, decrepit. They sit abandoned, forgotten, and forlorn. That is what most people see. I’ve long since seen the beauty behind these places, being taken back by nature as they slowly crumble into exquisiteness.

I remember on any road trip always being drawn to those tall old barns standing against the Midwest sky. I’d feel an urge to explore to stop and take it all in.

The place that stopped me in my abandoned loving tracks was monumental. I was thirteen and wanting to walk in the footsteps of my great grandma, visited Ellis Island. You could see the worn treads of the stairs, the painstakingly arranged displays of polished and restored artifacts, the pictures telling the stories of the thousands upon thousands that trailed through on their way to the American Dream, the scenes reenacting their experiences.

It was a door off to my left that caught my attention, clearly reinforced and locked so no one would enter. This was before they restored much of the island. There were parts of the main building that were untouched. I was drawn to this door, to look back in time through that little window.

The layers of dust and haphazard arrangement not at all like the meticiulate displays around us made it clear that this was a room that they hadn’t ruined gotten their hands on yet. It was beautiful; a time capsule, sealed and forgotten.

It was as if time had held still the contents of that room. Papers and books stacked on shelves, sheets left out on tables with pencils laying next to them as if the writer simply took a break. Chairs pushed in and chairs not quite.

You could just see people like my great grandma shuffling along, weary from her journey yet with shoulders back, proud. Carrying all that she brought with her to this country where her family would build a new life. I could have stared and wondered for hours, taking it all in and memorizing each detail. Letting the stories play in my head.

These places are everywhere. Houses, parks, entire cities, abandoned to be forgotten. Until someone notices. Until someone captures it and shares the beauty and allows us to take a look back in time and imagine the stories.




IT- A Family Tradition on Flashback Friday

Christmas Eve. It meant my grandma and grandpa’s house. It meant arriving at 4, eating at 5 and presents as soon as the last plate was cleared off and not a minute sooner. With five grandchildren, three siblings with spouses, two grandparents and every other year a great-grandma, you can imagine the present pile. It took up the whole back wall of the basement. Once¬†IT started getting wrapped, I would inspect that pile with a suspicious eye.

I vaguely remember when it started, but most of my first memories come from pictures of weary, untrusting faces with hands shaking each box, peeling off a corner to peek into it.  Another gift giver trying her best, and failing miserably, to disguise the laughter fighting to burst forth. All because of IT.

At first IT was just boxed and wrapped and tagged with some dodgy moniker. The ladies in our clan then decided that a more cunning disguise was needed. Gift opening now took on a devious nature as IT made the rounds from year to year. That cute snowman cookie jar? Could be hiding IT inside. That tiny red box? You could smoosh IT up inside. That giant red box? Merely a decoy to disguise IT. No one was immune. I remember someone bought a giant red teddy bear to match IT and a full 2 minutes going by before anyone realized the bear was donning IT.

IT was first given to my aunt by my grandma. A lovely, thoughtfully chosen gift. Or so she thought.¬† Even years later she was baffled by the tears streaming down everyone’s faces as my aunt held it up. The following Eve, my aunt decided that payback was needed. She carefully and artfully wrapped IT up again in the same box and added it to that pile at the back of the basement. My grandma opened it and again was baffled by the tears streaming down our faces.

And so the passing of IT, from woman to woman in our family began. As new baby girls were born, someone in the family would be internally cheering. For we had a new recipient of IT.

IT made the rounds every Christmas Eve and did much more than make us creative gift givers. It brought us together in all its hideous glory. The laughter and the memories have stayed with us long after IT was retired to a shelf. Each of us had a turn or two with IT. Most of us spent the year trying to figure out how it would find its next home. One of us decided to wear it bravely. All of us remember it fondly.

slice picture 15

 The original, stylish horror in red, black, and white with ruffles. Preserved in glass for all eternity.

Big Fat Wife Fail

All morning I am okay. All afternoon I am free sailing.

Somewhere around 4:00 the thoughts start creeping in.

What will I do?
How will I do it?
Is he going to be frustrated?
Should I start?
I don’t want to.
So I don’t.
Oh, he’s definitely going to be frustrated with me.
I wouldn’t know where to start.
Mom? What do you think?
I can’t do that!
I’ll mess it up.
I guess I could try that.
Oh no, the car is pulling up.

5:30, the door swings open.
Kisses, hugs, daddy’s home.

What’s for dinner?


Operation Get Out the House

We’re pretty sure we are raising either a top-level negotiator or a politician. It is not our intent, although I am certain we are perpetuating it. Spring break is¬†the perfect case in point.

Day One- plans to go to the mall are derailed by the need to rehearse the now famous recital dance. They are further knocked off course by an absolute must do: eating a snack. She knows that she can hold food over our head to get any whim that has crossed her fancy at the moment. We ultimately end up at the mall only when she has exhausted all those whims and is ready to go.

Day Two- Up at 6 am and by 2 pm the plans to hit the grocery store are kaput. First, all the friends need to take a nap and be wrapped individually and sung to. Of course they all like different songs. Then, the food carrot is dangled before me. She eats as if she has never eaten before. Her steely resolve is not even thwarted by my secret power, her kryptonite: milk, and our lack of it at this juncture.  Apparently, now that she is in going into kindergarten she is above drinking milk. We are up to plan L at this point.

Day Three- Up at 6am and out of the house by 8. There might be hope for us. We have a couple of secrets up our sleeves that she has not caught on to yet. At some crossroads in our near future, I am sure she will come wise to our tricks. In the meantime:

I am shopping today. At many stores.
I might watch some real television.
I am eating when I like today.
I am eating what I want today.
I am taking my time today.

Maddie is going to her grandparent’s house.

The Anti Dance Mom

My niece has taken to dance like a fish takes to water. I’ve so enjoyed endlessly teasing my sister-in-law about it. We joked about her being the perfect anti dance mom persona. It worked for a bit. Syd is just too good and like any mom, she is now her biggest cheerleader. She is a dance mom. I vowed that this would not be me. Maddie loves to sing and dance, but not with a¬†love that requires days of practice and rehearsals¬†each week,¬†toe shoes,¬†jazz shoes, tap shoes, an arsenal of makeup,¬†and costumes abound.

I started to worry a bit when we began taking Maddie to the recitals to see Syd dance. My little wanna be ballerina plopped her little feet on the floor of that aisle and did her best to copy each dancer on the stage, shushin everyone around her that dared to utter a sound.

I began to chew my lip when daycare offered dance class. It’s just for little ones. It couldn’t possibly give her the bug. Nope. I was in the clear. She liked it. She was still shy. She didn’t love it.

I kept my fingers crossed during her first recital. She didn’t stand there but she didn’t stand out either. Meaning, she did a fantastic job but not a job that threatened my anti dance mom status. We were still in the clear. Dance was still just fun.

I have begun to sweat a little bit these last few weeks. The leotard and tights are making more appearances. With microphone in hand, she twirls around the living room belting out song after song choreographed  with the increasingly steady precision of a lanky four-year old.

The last two days have me stuck between proud inner dance mom and head hanging in resignation anti dance mom. The recital regalia from last year was taken out and donned. Moves are being practiced. “Shhhh….mommy, I am rehearsing. I need it quiet.”

Then I hear that sweet voice singing some Nat King Cole, maybe Frank Sinatra… wait.

Nat King Cole?! Frank Sinatra?!

L is for the…
is this for real?
O is for the…
once a week she goes to class, how does she know it?
V is for the…
did she just say “that’s not right” and start over?
E is for the..
look at that concentration and seriousness…who is this kid?

Oh crap.
It’s early yet, but I’m pretty sure I am going to be a dance mom.


Book Spine Poetry on a Poemy Monday

There have been a lot of book spines under scrutiny lately. Teachers and writers perusing the stacks for the perfect choices. Stacking and restacking to find the perfect combination. These book spine poems are inspiring and a perfect way to play with words without the pressure of coming up with said words. Perfect for beginning poets, perfect for writers looking for new ways to say things. Give it a try! You will find that you love it. Here are a few of my most recent tries compiled in one office and then another and finally from my daughter’s shelves.

slice picture 14The call of the wild.
Ralph tells a story.
The forever dog,
interrupting chicken,
never smile at a monkey.
Animals nobody loves.



slice picture 12How to write your life story,
in my momma’s kitchen.
Looking back,
big book of WHY.
The memory string,
Treasures in the dust.


slice picture 11

We’re going on¬†a bear hunt,
I wish I were a princess.
My monster mama loves me so.
I love you through and through,
Dreams come true.


A Wall of Love

I left the fours walls of my own classroom for the four walls of many different classrooms this year. It has been a roller coaster of challenges and rewards. Through the year I started to notice that there has been a piece of my own classroom that I have been missing.

In my own classroom I had a small section of wall devoted to it. I’m talking about love. Yes, we had a love for learning and a love for knowledge for sure. But there was also just plain love. Love for each other. Love for the school. And love for the teacher. This was third grade. There’s a lot of love.

The wall held notes, pictures, cards, and drawings all done by the hands of students. It was a selfishly favorite part of my room, always. Notes with a misspelled name about how much fun they had on our field trip. Pictures of our class with their arms around each other making funny faces. Cards to a misspelled name in honor of any random holiday. Drawings of sharks, drawings of me, drawings of themselves and our class. Every last one special.

If I am being honest, I have missed that wall this year. It’s nice to be on the receiving end of all that love, even when the tricky name is misspelled. It’s silly I know. I get to walk down the hall and talk to the little ones and the big ones now.¬†I get to see classes full of many more kids with the same love for learning and knowledge.¬†And it has been¬†amazing. But…

What makes me think of this now? I’ve been in all these rooms since the fall.. why now? Because I got this just the other day:

teacher love

It’s on my new wall now. It might be in an office but I have two of those now, so I get two walls. The name is still misspelled. The feeling is still the same.


Jet set slicing from my couch

As I was leaving work yesterday I could help but feel a twinge of jealousy. I have to say, I’m slightly envious of my fellow jet-setting slicers. They are flying away, driving away, getting away. They are going to be long distance slicers for a bit- held close by the long reaching tentacles of the web.

Last year I enjoyed slicing from the sunny sky in a plane. This year I will be slicing¬†under the occasionally sunny¬†sky in my yard. Last year I was slicing on¬†the slightly chilly beach with sand between my toes. This year I suppose I could slice from Maddie’s¬†sandbox¬†in our very¬†chilly backyard. Last year I sliced from¬†my sister’s comfy couch amidst the bouncing of three pieces of my heart. This year I¬†will slice from my own comfy couch, with one bouncer who owns my heart. Last year I sliced on¬†the escalator at the world-famous San Diego zoo. We go to the mall next week, and there will be escalators. So…