Friday, August 31, 2012


woke from good dreams.  spent my morning laughing in the office, then took a little break at my favorite coffee shop, Krankies.  read my book on homesteading and made notes on everything from edible plants in the wild to types of ducks and/or chickens to raise.  this makes me very excited, I hope we have a water source on our land so that we can raise ducks!  also read about beekeeping, which sounds difficult but worth it.  honey and duck.  mmm.  these are a few of my favorite things.

favorite moments at school: singing "some nights" with Caila.  little pre-k twins Lily and Miller being absolutely silly, adamant that Wake and Wake Forest were two completely separate teams.  playing "concentration" with Zakaiya to stop her sulking because she was the last kid left at after-school.

watched Paka (Max's grandma with alzheimers) after work, with both the sweet pups as company.  read my magical book Wizard's First Rule while listening to Annie in the background (hands down my favorite musical soundtrack).  Max came by and cooked us the best yakisoba.  it was perfect.

happy friday folks.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

squirrel song

today my love and I woke up early and spent our morning together, cleaning the house, endlessly throwing a ball for the sweet, sweet pup we're temporarily housing (while the lazy hound dog slept).  mornings together are not something we have gotten in a good while.  it was nice to start my day being productive with my Maxwell (and it did wonders on the energy of the house).

other things that filled my day with joy: Caroline's hugs.  what a sweet girl.  she makes a point, every day, multiple times throughout the day, to give me a hug.  so I made a point today to let her know how much I appreciated that.  she has a golden heart, which last year often lead her to getting overly emotional about everyday things.  this year she seems to have matured, and I have yet to see her get upset over something silly.  it's good to see her growth, good to see her confident and happy.

I made a mistake today.  a careless mistake.  last year one of our counselors taught the kids two songs that go hand-in-hand: brown squirrel and dead squirrel.  the kids go wild over these songs.  today, I asked what song we should sing, and a couple kids gave those two songs as the response, so we sang them.  it was loads of fun, we shook our bushy tails and struck a dead pose.  not two minutes after we finished, as the groups were gathering their things to be on their merry way, Sakshi approached me with concern to let me know that Lylaani was crying.  I immediately sat beside Lylaani and asked her what was wrong.

her leaky eyes locked with mine and she spilled "my grandma just died".  doh.  I wanted to smack myself over the head.  instead I hugged her and tried my best to let her know I understood, to let her know that death, although scary, doesn't have to be a bad thing.  that it was ok to cry, to be sad.  that she could keep her in her heart, always.  it pains me to see little ones experience death, just as it does to see anyone lose a friend.  but death is a fact of life, and I hope that we can all learn to see it as something different, but not bad.

because different is beautiful.  different is a new adventure, an electric idea.

different are children like Sakshi, who care for others, seek out help when they don't know what to do.  it's not the first time she's shown this much compassion for the well-being of another student.  I didn't get a chance today to let her know what brilliant virtue that is, but it won't be forgotten. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

and pup makes five.

we have a new friend at our house, a sweet black lab/german shepherd mix.  He is a bundle of energy, perfect at fetch, listens really well.  not sure if he's staying, but for tonight he's under our roof instead of in a kill shelter. 

yesterday, a child who in the past was reluctant to make friends with others, found a friend in a middle schooler.  When I first saw them, they were sitting on the floor eagerly sharing their mutual love of dirt bikes and fishing, unaware of their age difference. today, Tyler approached me to say, "when you see that boy in fourth grade, tell him I said hey." 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

lion man, too.

in a year and a half time, I will load up my belongings and move across country with Max, his best friend Sumpter, and the lovely Madison.  Max calls them life-partners, bonded together by those little fibers.  I wouldn't trust the journey so fully if it weren't for them.  for the unique skills we each bring to the table.  we will make our home out of shipping containers in the Colorado foothills, and we will thrive.

these are the original blueprints, the original plan.  but it's a changeling, our house growing new forms with new ideas, Sumpter meticulously planning down to the last detail what will be needed to go into our home.  Madison and I both researching crops to grow, researching edible plants found in the wild, looking into sustainable living.  all of us working hard, saving up to make the move.

I went to my favorite rooftop in Greensboro tonight with someone I'd consider a life-partner as well.  at our favorite Irish pub, Ian and I shared our ideas on life and angels, ghosts, and magic.  Ian is living proof that there is magic everywhere, that it's not always something seen with the eye, but felt within.  he's helped me grow, made me believe.

tonight, Ian told me that in six months time he is following his twin sister across the lands to Colorado.  my face lit up, to know that someone so important to me will be there with us, will be there working with us to make our dream come true.  I honestly feel like we're working with a power team.  I have never been so sure that something this far off was actually happening.

Monday, August 27, 2012

robots dancing in space

back to school we all went.  so many familiar faces, the growth-marks of a summer, past.  I welcomed back so many old friends and met new minds too.

one of my old friends, Rowan, is joining us again this year, a fresh kindergartener excited to be out of his pre-k group and in with the "big kids" playing on the big playground.  one of my favorite moments last year was during some one-on-one time I had with Rowan.  we were problem-solving what a person should do when they are sad.  Rowan suggested going to your mom.  he said that always worked for him.  I asked him if it was possible to become happy if Mom wasn't around.  his initial answer was an instant "no".  but then he seemed to mull the question over, a smile growing over his face.  "there is this one thing," he said, "sometimes, if I'm really sad, I sing a song I made up called Robots Dancing in Outer Space."  he then proceeded to sing this song, which turned out to be a lot like beat-boxing, while dancing inside the safety of the cone-lined path through the school parking lot. 

today, as Rowan sat at the bottom of the slide, I asked miss Kelsey to please not climb up the slide, as is one of the playground policies.  Rowan immediately stepped in saying, "just let her be, she's having fun."

although I understand why my company puts certain policies on the playground, Rowan's comment still made me smile in agreement.  I wanted to let Kelsey climb that slide, just as I think the kids should be able to run around barefoot and monkey-climb the trees.  don't worry boss, safety is still my number one priority, and I enforce such rules because I know it insures the bare minimum of accidents.  still, I can't wait to share the joy and the pain of the world with my own child, allow them to take risks, help them stand back up, brush the dirt from the knee-scrapes, clear the tears with kisses, applaud them when they try again.

this is a photograph I took of a Mama teaching her youngling the proper technique to cleaning feet at the NC zoo.

Sunday, August 26, 2012


Carolyn and Rob came and stayed the night last night.  it is so refreshing having them around, they remind me of where I've come from and where I have to go.  I feel as if we are bound together for life by little silver threads lacing our shirttails together, glittering with a light dust of snow.  they make me laugh.  I am thankful that they are still only two hours away, that we still have a long while before we're separated by a long stretch of land and mountains.  I am certain that, even when that day comes, our silver threads will stretch across the distance, resilient.

after brunch with them today, we parted ways.  Fall is almost here, the breeze infectious, pulling me outdoors.  Sadie and I went up to High Point City Lake and walked the trails, listened to the sand and stone crunch beneath our feet.  I spotted endlessly marvelous types of flora, shiny marigold-mushrooms, felled trees, their limbs like antlers reaching skywards, a family of deer darting away in my peripheral.  Sadie, not seeing them, but her nose catching the scent.  the way she darted back and forth wildly in excitement.  I can't wait until she has acres to run off leash, until she can explore it all with her trusty nose leading the way, a pack of dogs beside her.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

red bricks

last weekend I took a mini-vacation up to the National Harbor with my sister Danielle, brother Wade, and favorite mini-person and niece Emma, as well as with my love, Max.  we were graciously invited up and put in a fabulous hotel by my grandmother for her 70th birthday.  the weekend put a lot of ease into my mind.  it was nice to see my family, enjoy a gorgeous view of the water, eat good food, and walk around a new city in the night, all for the celebration of a truly astonishing woman. 

my grandma, like her mother before her, is one tough cookie.  I am blessed to come from a long line of strong, creative, and captivatingly beautiful women.  they are red bricks, and I aspire to be as sturdy, as effervescent as my roots.  they taught me a good deal, and let me experience head-first the unpredictable nature of the world.  it was always a treat as a kid to stay at grandma's, you never knew what would happen.  one morning you would wake to eat ice cream for breakfast.  by noon, you could have a hammer in your hand, knocking down a wall because she didn't like it.  in a few days time, the wall would be rebuilt.  there was no asking why, it didn't need to be said.  my grandmother is one to take life by the throat, to go after what she wants with no fears, nothing holding her back.  I'd like the think she instilled some of that ferocity inside me.

these are pictures of my niece, Emma.  she has fire burning inside her, giving her a beautiful, screaming lust for life.  she is a wildling, a jokester.  she is beautiful, loving, and curious.  I know she will lead an extraordinary life, there's no way she couldn't, she comes from such strong roots.

thank you, Grandma.  for the ice cream and summers on the boardwalk eating microwaved hotdogs, donning glow sticks.  thanks for letting us kids knock down walls in your house, and for letting us play with the antiques without fear of breakage.  thanks for dropping everything and driving to NC to help me move without a second thought, for buying me groceries and leaving them on the doorstep.  thanks for the magic that still tinkles in me from Paris.  and thank you for a lovely weekend, for sharing G.G.'s gift with us.  She would have been overjoyed to be there with us, to sit among her thriving family, share our happiness.  I love you.

Friday, August 24, 2012

so long sweet summer

last day of summer camp, an amazing success.

I have never been happier to wake at 6 am with a cat on my chest, licking my nose.  my sweet hound sleeping beside the bed on the mountain of laundry coating the floor, and my love snuggled beside me.

highlights of the day: miss mighty mouse telling little Zach about a "cool camper" and him wondering if, since they were cool, they could do high kicks. his magnetic grin, proceeding to run around the hill doing said cool high kicks.  remembering the first time I really noticed him at camp, as he got into his mom's car in awe of miss mighty mouse, telling mom "did you know, miss mighty mouse says she is friends with the trees and the grass and the bugs and all the whole world?!"  the look of complete, honest, awe.

the fall breeze dancing around us all day at camp.  Jared (a sweet, sweet boy who wants nothing more to be a teen) being allowed to go to teen camp for the day, and his face beaming with happiness every time I saw him.

going to the local coffee shop, reading on a couch with a sweet black cat, drinking too much coffee then going to dinner with Max and his brother, Seth, at the new pizza joint by our house.  joking and smiling while being a little too wound up from the coffee. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012


at my school site orientation today, a five-year old girl with curly pigtails came to check out my table (filled with lots of balloons and circus-type toys).  I said, "hi darling."  her response, "my name's not darling."  the honesty of it, I love it!

I've been wanting to make homemade empanadas for awhile now, and tonight I checked them off my list.  my!  super delicious.  the first was full of chicken in a sweet and tangy ginger-almond mix, the second had an incredibly spicy chili paste, jalapenos, and black beans.  I didn't even get around to making the desert empanadas with the fresh raspberries and blackberries Max brought home.  too much dough and fryer oil, I was feeling sick!  I had originally thought about making them at my darling friend Carolyn's bridal shower, but now I realize they require a lot more attention than I'd want to give the kitchen while a celebration of my best is going on!

for as long as I have know Carolyn and Rob (which is a very long time now) I have sworn that they are the reason I believe in love.  and that is a truism.  they are my snowflakes.

these are from prom lightyears ago when Caro and I were seniors in highschool.  we will retake them this January, when Rob and Carolyn finally tie the knot, seal my belief in their love with two "I do's" and plenty of kisses.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

the calm.

today I am tired.  With 109 campers and a near-shortage of counselors, I am tired.  my brain is not functioning well enough to remember all the delightful moments, so instead, I'll remind myself that there were moments, amidst the hurricane of the day where time froze and I found myself in a sunbeam, surrounded by kids, all of us laughing. 

and where it's true, for most of the day I ran around wildly, trying to make sure everyone was ok, in ratio, all kids alive.  it's also true, for a short moment, the madness calmed and I was challenged to a tether-ball tournament by a group of K-2 campers, who gave me surprisingly good competition.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

brownie days.

"this place should be condemned," Oliver said, "making kids read over the summer is illegal."

today was the last day of camp for one of our campers who will always stick out brightly in my memory because, without fail, every time I saw him he made me laugh.  the first thing Oliver ever said to me was, "you got yo' teeth in this bag," while waving back and forth, I can only assume, an imaginary bag.  I was slightly disturbed at first, before I realized that he was quoting some comedian, and that this was his eccentric way of sharing something he loved with me.  he has, it seems, no fear of being seen as weird, he just is. 

his way of thinking is something I think we could all do with a little more of, a confidence to be who we are, not who others want us to be.  I will miss the unusual conversations we shared, but am thankful I got to spend this summer listening to Oliver rant on fruit-baskets and cloaks and the injustice of being made to read during the summer.  (the book-nerd in me hopes he changes his mind about reading eventually.) 

I am thankful for any given persons' ability to grow and change.  that we have the freedom to do our own research, learn what is good for us and what we can do with less of.  I am enchanted by the knowledge I gain each day that guides me in making good choices (and reminds me of the bad).  so tonight I ate a salad for dinner, after indulging in the delicious goodness of a brownie. 

I am thankful for tonight's pre-dinner brownie, and that tasty salad I ate after.

that's a huge thing for me say; I had never, ever, eaten a salad for any meal ever before a few weeks ago.  in fact, I did not eat vegetables at all until I was 22 years old.  ridiculous, I know.  but I was a stubborn child, and anyway, I didn't understand health.  I was young and invincible with no notion that my actions might impact my future. 

the change in me occurred, in a large part, because of Max.  he pushed me to eat the vegetables I was so terrified of and now adore, and we pushed each other to eat at home more often and cook our meals.  this is surprisingly fun.  I am still shocked at the tasty meals we concoct on a regular basis. I love the home we have created together.

my life is good.  I have the things that I need, and I can work towards things that I want, like a camera to photograph the delight that surrounds me, and a day not so far off into the future where we'll land on Colorado soil and call if home.

until then, our brick house, filled with our love, the hound pup, and our lion of a cat, will be our perfect, temporary home.

Monday, August 20, 2012

film photos

I have been blessed with 80+ children on any given day, so long as it's a weekday.  This means, each day, I am greeted by tiny hugs from all walks of life, and am invited in to the captivating perspective that comes along with the ever-curious eyes of a child.  With these children, I am privileged to teach and be taught, create wonders, and problem-solve. 

Today marks the first day of the last week of summer camp.  It is slightly bittersweet, but even more, it is exciting.  In a weeks time I will spend my afternoons with an amazing group of pre-k to middle school aged kids, who I had the lucky "job" of caring for last school year.  

I say "job" because my job is not your average job, in fact, most days I do not feel like I am going to work, instead I feel like I am going to hang out with my friends.

Even on the bad days, even when the migraine hits and it's raining out and we're stuck inside with not enough space to get our "crazies" out, I am reminded why I am where I am.  It's simple enough: I love these kids.  I love their wild stories, love their optimism, even love their fears.  I love that they force me to think outside the box just by being.  And for that, I am endlessly thankful.

I made this blog to document the delight that I am lucky enough to encounter in my day to day.  In doing so, I hope to train my mind to look for the good and positive in the world, so that no matter what, no matter the bad, I can see the light that keeps shining.

Below are a few photographs I took of some magical kids last year. 

Sweet Mateo playing stratego, one of our school's favorite games.

Kelsey and Mateo playing together.

Nikolas posing for his momma.

Caroline coloring pictures.

Clay projects the kids created.

Kinsley, a wildling practicing for our talent show.  Her talent: balancing a quarter on her nose and being a laugh.

One of our middle schoolers, Anastasia, who came to the U.S. as a baby from Russia.

Rashaan, being shy and brave at the same time, singing "Thriller" for his group-mates.