Things I Find in the Dryer

me:  Carter!  You can not leave Steve in your pocket.  Don’t you remember what happened to Sheep?

carter: In his sweet little angelic voice – Sorry momma but sometimes I forget things.

me: sigh…

This is Steve.  He is from Minecraft.

Dryer Items Steve 

Steve’s journey through the wash ended without loss of limb and will probably make for a good story to tell his friends over a tiny mug of beer.  Steve is o.k.  (Although I do worry that Steve may have developed aquaphobia from his ordeal.)

The same cannot be said for Sheep (who is also from Minecraft).

Dryer Items Sheep

Sheep was not always this mangy.  His “wool” used to be a vibrant red color and was sleek, not tattered.  Sheep has developed a deep distrust of pockets, where he once found them to be warm and cozy.  And said pocket is no longer white, but permanently stained a deep pink.

And lastly this, from the dryer.

Dryer Items Y

Why not.


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Confusion and Delay

It has been a long time since Cody and Carter liked Thomas the Train but the expression “confusion and delay” has continued on as part of our household vernacular.  On the Island of Sodor, whenever there was a mix up or a mishap (which, lets face it, happened in every episode) it was referred to as “confusion and delay”.  For some reason Husband and I found this expression funny and so we started using it and haven’t stopped.  It is a great expression and I highly recommend you try it out sometime.

Well, this week at Chase Manhattan Bank there was confusion and delay of the not-funny-at-all kind.  Someone did not do their job and that has led us to not receive the keys to our house, not to close in a timely manner (which incidentally legally opens the window for the sellers to be within their rights to simply up and walk away from this many-month-in-the- making-deal.) There is no reason for them to walk away, but they could (and I think I would simply have a nervous breakdown if that happened).

The closing date has been pushed and the keys-in-our-hands date is now looking like it will be Monday.  Not only am I disappointed, but that means we lose this weekend for cleaning and moving.  This is more critical than it sounds because Carter’s birthday party invitations have gone out with the date of May 24th on them and the location, our new address.  No stress.

To add to The Week of Confusion and Delay, Cody is on day number two of staying home with a fever.  At one point yesterday when his temperature was a glowing 103.2 and the Tylenol and Advil were both on board and not doing much, I started to get that panic-rising-in-the-back-of-my-throat feeling and fully expected him to start seizing (he has been seizure free for 13 months!).  He did not seize.  His temperature dropped and we continued reading The Mouse and the Motorcycle as if I had not just had an internal panic attack.

On the plus side, while Cody rests, I have been finding great ideas for the next school year and have been organizing my school related electronic file folders (all this in an effort to not clean the house, mind you.) Hopefully the confusion and delay will be sorted out, there will be no nervous breakdowns or seizures, and everyone will return to and stay at their rightfully normal internal temperature of 98.6.

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Simple Sunday – A Double Special Day

Happy Mother’s Day to all you amazing, strong, brilliant mothers out there.

It is not only Mother’s Day here at Casa de Wrong Feet but it is also Carter’s birthday (you can read about his exciting arrival if you wish – a post I wrote quite awhile ago).

My baby boy turned seven today.  We had a very low key celebration, for both him and I.  A simple day that started with a morning dog walk from which we came home to find Husband had cooked us all breakfast.  Carter opened some gifts (the 100 pack of Pokémon cards and the four pack of Minecraft books were the favorites).


We ran errands, had lunch, ran more errands, I lesson planned and the boys watched a Myth Busters.  Dinner was Carter’s choice (mac and cheese) followed by a small carrot cake (also Carter’s choice).

He asked if he could have his birthday party in a couple weeks when my mom comes to visit – he wanted his Grandma there to celebrate with us.  It will be the first, of what I hope will be many gatherings in our new house.  (We get the keys on Wednesday!  (I am so excited by this that every time I say it, I can’t help but squeak a little.))

It was a good day, a double good day.

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Simple Sunday – New Chapter

We found out last week – we are getting the house we put in an offer on!  The house in the lovely neighborhood.  The house that is in the middle of the city but walking distance from a little park with fields, playgrounds, and ponds.  The house that simply felt right the first time we walked in the door.

We get the keys in ten day.  It feels right.  I am excited for the memories, the adventures, the laughter, and even the tears that we will share in our new house.

This will be the house where Cody and Carter grow from children to young adults.    Where the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and even Santa will be “found out” – although I hope the magic of each and everyone of them linger on into their adulthood as they have done for me. This might be the driveway I will stand at the end of waving furiously as they, one at a time, drive away to begin independent lives of their own.

It is the house where Husband and I will gracefully (I hope) tiptoe from middle-aged to, well, older than middle-aged.

I hope this house realizes that I have high expectations for it.  There will be a lot of growth and changes.  There will be highs and lows.  And there will be gatherings – BBQs, Pie Days, Practice Thanksgivings, as well as the traditional holidays, and perhaps we will create and carry on new gatherings that will become tradition in our family.

I am ready.  A new chapter in this wonderful, crazy life.

Small Plants in Rock Crack

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All in an Unplanned Ten Minutes

Today in class, small math groups ended early.  I looked at the clock and realized that I had about ten minutes in which I had nothing planned.  I usually have lined up across the lip of the white board, a row of books the students or myself have selected for class read alouds.  On this day the selection was slim so I walked back to our classroom library, swiftly flipped through some books, and grabbed a Shel Silverstein book.

I did not give it much thought until I was seated in my “Teacher Chair” (which is really just a student chair that resides next to the rug we meet on several times a day).  It was The Giving Tree.  Now I don’t know about you, but this book gets me choked up every time I read it.

It started out fine.

The students like it and made connections to times they had climbed trees.  The boy in the story grows up, spending less time with his friend the tree.  The tree, missing the boy who used to play in her branches and rest under her shade, gives him her apples to sell to make him happy.  And it made her happy too.  The students again made connections to their lives and the conversations we have about “filling buckets” by giving compliments and making our friends feel good.

Then it got a bit hairy.

The tree offered the boy her branches.  A hush fell over the students and small gasps escaped their lips when the boy actually cut off the tree’s branches.

The boy stayed away for a long time.  When he came back he was old and wanted to get away.  The tree offered him her trunk to make a boat.

He took her trunk, leaving only a crooked stump.

The students protested.  A few sat quietly, eyes moist.  My voice wavered and I paused in places during my reading, not for effect, but to keep myself in check.

At the end, the boy, now an old man, returned.  The tree lists off all the things she can no longer offer him.  The boy, for each, replies that he no longer needs any of those things.  He is tired and wants only to rest.  And so the tree straightens herself up and offers him her stump as a quiet place to rest.

How can you explain the depth, the willingness to give anything to those you dearly love?  And yet this book, these words, paired with simple illustrations could, did.  Most of my students, maybe not fully understanding it, felt it.

The tree was happy.  And the boy was happy.  The story ended.

At the end of the ten minutes, which had turned into twenty, I had a lump in my throat and a couple of my kids were wiping away tears.

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1998 Was a Good Year for Sidewalks

A person who has a great appreciation for and deep knowledge of wine is called a oenophile.  But what about a person who has a great appreciation and interest in sidewalks?  What are they called?

Let me tell you.  They are called Carter.

Carter and I had the task of walking Haley around our apartment complex for her final nightly walk tonight, a job usually reserved for Husband who is off on an all day fieldtrip with Cody.

Carter, who is not used to the evening walk, had a great time using his flashlight (even though there was enough lingering day in the sky that a flashlight was not really necessary).  He became quite interested in the company name and date stamped into various sections of the sidewalk.  As we strolled along he would stop to squat down and examine them closely with his beam of light.  In an excited voice he would call out the date stamped into the concrete as if it were a long lost snippet of Shakespeare (or in Carter’s world, a forgotten rhyme from Dr. Seuss).

Most of the sidewalks were dated 1998 and it caused me to chuckle as the comparison of dates and good bottles of wine, with dates and good sections of sidewalk, popped into my head.  Knowing Carter would not appreciate my odd sense of humor and Husband was not here to wow with my wit and whimsy, I thought I would share it with you.  You are welcome.

Oh, and while I mostly trusted Carter with his sidewalk-date reading abilities, I did have to question him when he proudly announced that the sidewalk squares right outside the entrance to our apartment were made in 1398.  Hum.

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Simple Sunday – A Nest to Call My Own

We have found a house.  It is nice, not perfect, but nice.  It is a short walk away from a wonderful park and it is located in central Phoenix.  We are in love with the neighborhood, the location.  We are also quite taken with the house.

The process of trying to buy the house is another matter.  It has been awful.  I have cried – more than once.  We have convinced ourselves to walk away, but we can’t quite bring ourselves to do it.  We are staring down the last hurdle in a long line of maddening hurdles.  We will know if the house is ours either late this week or early next.

Today we loaded up the dog and the kids, hooked Carter’s bike to the bike rack and drove to the park that both Husband and I secretly consider our future neighborhood park.  We have not verbalized that the park is ours, the neighborhood is ours, the house is ours.  What if it is too much to ask?  What if it does not come to be?

As we entered the park, I paused in the shade of a small tree and happened to look up.  This is what I saw.


A nest in a tree.

I am ready to move from this apartment, this temporary dwelling, to have a nest to call my own, our own.

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Another Wonderful Year

This will be his last year in the single digits.  Today Cody, my first born son, turns nine.  As my long time readers know, Cody was born premature – a 26 weeker.  He weighed 2 pounds 1.5 ounces.  I consider it an honor to be his mom and I cannot tell you how much he means to me, how much he has changed my life, has shaped me and bettered me as a person.

I wrote this on his birthday the first year I started blogging.  I reread it a couple times a year – his birthday being one of those times.  I have reblogged it each year and will continue to do so.

It tells a story of one day.

It is a small story but a very large part of how I am where I am and how I have become me.

I hope you take the time to read it – even if you may have read it once (or twice) before.

Happy Birthday my sweet, compassionate, wonderful miracle of a boy.

Cody BirthdayCollage2015

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Simple Sunday – Desert Stroll and Tic Tac Toe

We are members at the Desert Botanical Gardens, a fabulous place that I highly recommend you visit if you ever find yourself in Phoenix.  This morning after lounging over coffee and lingonberry oven pancake, we headed out to the gardens.

Desert Landscape

It was beautiful, the cactus in full bloom their vivid colors popping amidst the multiple shades of dusty green and parched soil browns of the landscape.  I took many photos but none really did justice to simply being in the moment.

Desert Botanical Garden Collage

The birds were dancing their Spring inspired dance and we got to see many a nest being tended to by a doting feathered parent.  After nearly two hours the boys were tired and we were all hungry.

We headed to a once favorite brewery and restaurant of ours from back in the day when Husband and I lived here pre-kids.  The place was still wonderful although the feel was different being twenty years older and having our boys with us.  I don’t recall ever playing tic tac toe there before – or being referred to by a server as ma’am…

Tic Tac Toe at Four Peaks

Cody and Husband deep in thought during a Tic Tac Toe game. From the smirk on Cody’s face, I would say he is winning.


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Walking and Talking

The boys accompanied Haley and I on our morning walk today.  The weather was perfect, the cool before the heat of the day.  Walking with the boys, one must be prepared for all types of conversation topics and they rarely disappoint.


Flowers, Moon, and Contrail on our morning walk.

Today, much of the walk talk centered around the strength of ants.  I listened as Cody and Carter discussed what they knew about ants.  Cody spouted off facts he had learned from books and school.

cody:  Ants can carry ten times their weight! 

And then he added a bit of special Cody wisdom.  I love Cody wisdom.

cody: The queen ant, or queen termite if we were discussing termites – which we are not- are like the soul of the colony.  They are special and necessary for there to be worker ants, or any ants at all!  Without the queen – poof!- no ants.

Carter was more concerned with how many ants it would take to carry certain objects.

carter:  I think it would take seventeen ants to carry a shiny key!  And one ant could carry one whole leaf.  A whole leaf!  All by itself, momma!

The conversation got heated as they went back and forth over whether ants could carry a person.  Cody thought they could, but wasn’t sure how all those ants could get under a person.  Carter pointed out that an ant could get under his shoes by going inside the pattern on the bottom of his shoe (his shoe tread).

It was determined that it would take exactly three thousand nine hundred ninety eight ants to carry a person.

I thought about asking them for the specifics of said person, the height and weight, but the lull in conversation – the silence between topics – was a delicious delicacy I chose to savor.

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