Category Archives: Uncategorized

Open For Business

I met Micki early in my teaching career, a quiet attentive student who sat in the front row. When I mentioned I was looking for a new nanny for my son, who at the time was eighteen months, she was the only student who applied.  Well, fast forward five years and Micki is still with us and an integral and important member of our family.

I love Micki. She is like my baby sister. I would do ANYTHING for her.

During these five years Micki has tried tirelessly to get pregnant and become a mother herself.  The pain of watching her suffer through two miscarriages, several failed infertility treatments all while cheerfully nurturing my own children, and supporting me through my third pregnancy, has been heartbreaking.

After five years there is a glimmer of hope.  Micki has been seeing a new fertility specialist and they think they have identified the issue. Micki will be undergoing some surgery in a month that will improve her chances at getting pregnant and staying pregnant.  We are all praying that this is the miracle for which we have prayed.

HOWEVER, insurance won’t pay for the surgery.  We are faced with a $6,000 procedure which stands between Micki and a baby. I can’t get pregnant for Micki. I can’t fix her body so she can get pregnant. BUT, I CAN help her raise $6,000.

Our fundraising efforts are multifaceted.

#1 We are selling canned goods.  As of now we have Sweet Potato Butter, Homemade Pickles, Raspberry Jam, Homemade Marinara, and Mango Butter.  Texas won’t let us sell them online but if you want to email me directly we can arrange for a purchase/delivery (prices range from $3-$7 a jar).

#2 We will be opening an Etsy shop in September that will sell homemade bath salts, bath scrubs, bath bombs, and a variety of other luxury bath products.  Keep your eye open for that announcement.

#3 We will also be organizing some fun family events like a bowling night, cooking classes and chili cook off.

If you are a mother, or are familiar with infertility struggles I beg you to find it in your heart to help Micki out.  Help this woman, this sweet, nurturing caring woman who wants nothing else but to be a mother herself.

And Puppy Makes Six

Initially David said it would be five years before we got another pet.  He didn’t want to add one more thing to our family.  I protested, saying that there was no way I was waiting five years for another pet and that he was crazy.  In reality it took us about three weeks after Cosmo died.  Introducing Heidi Von Snugglestein:

She’s a 12 week old miniature schnauzer whom we bought from a sweet family in downtown Dallas.  She had been given as a Valentine’s Day gift but found herself in a family that didn’t even have the time to name her otherwise feed and play with her.  David scooped her up and brought her home.

David and I are both rather smitten with her, and yes, she is sleeping every night in our bed. Her sweetest characteristic is her undying loyalty and love to “her people”.  Heidi insists on being wherever we are.  She follows me around like, well, a puppy. If I stand still for any amount of time she curls up next to me and falls asleep, but my slightest movement wakes her and she’s ready to move on to the next activity.

Max has forced himself to overcome any anxiety in order to love and bond with Heidi. He was adamant that he was going to like this dog regardless of how much she jumped or nipped.  Harper has reached a sort of peace accord with the dog where they have both agreed to ignore each other.  Lucy, however, is the hold out.  She likes the IDEA of a dog but the reality of it has made her uneasy.  We’ve signed Lucy up to take obedience training with Heidi and we are hoping that the structured classroom environment will help Lucy gain some confidence with the dog.

Most importantly she is the extra love that we needed to complete the family.  I still miss Cosmo and at times could swear I hear him meowing but nothing heals the loss of a pet like a new pet.  Heidi is helping all of us heal after a season of great loss.

Birthday Season

Lucy, Max and Harper have the fortune of all being born within two weeks of each other. Max is the first on January 28th and then Harper on February 9th and then Lucy on February 21st.  This wasn’t a problem when they were small and willing to combine parties but now that they are older – with separate friends and separate interests – well, this February came pretty close to killing me.  I would love to write a blog post about each of them, but even that seems like too much.  Instead,  I submit a brief paragraph about each, in honor of their birthdays.


I’m afraid my sweetheart that you have the misfortune of being exactly like your mother. As you grow up this comparison cannot be ignored.  Unfortunately, we share the good and bad qualities.  You are smart, a reader, stubborn, competitive, overly dramatic, a loyal friend, logical thinker, approval seeker and naturally prone to worry.  You are me and I am you.

However, there are some things that are uniquely you – that no other person can claim.  You have started to sing – quietly and when you don’t think anybody is listening – your voice is sweet and strong.  You are quite artistic and love to color and craft and create things (I’m secretly hoping that this turns into a love of cooking).  You like to make people laugh and indeed are quite the “life of the party” when you are with your friends.

Most of all, you are the child that nobody thought I could have and therefore are a miracle. A strong, beautiful, brave miracle.


You turned six years old this year but it is rather irrelevant since I still think of you as being four.  When your sister was this age I expected her to be reading, and writing and solving complex equations.  But with you, well, I just want to keep you little.

The good news is that you are a bit on the short side for your age and your subtle speech impediment allows me to continue to think of you as my baby boy. However, I can tell that you aren’t going to allow me to hold on to this illusion for much longer.

You started Kindergarten this year and your zeal for school has left me a bit behind. You have not shed a single tear about leaving home — leaving Mom.  You LOVE all the friends you have made and your teacher (Mrs. Kerby) and everything related to being at school. You love lunch and music, and gym and recess.  You openly admit that you are neither the smartest kid in your class nor the best behaved.  You are beautifully average in every way.


You are the child that I don’t understand.  You are nothing like me. You are sweet and energetic and strong as an ox.  You play hard – sleep hard – and aren’t easily persuaded to do things you don’t fundamentally want to do.  You laugh hard and deep and are a child of willful passions.  You still refuse to wear socks.  You are vocal about your clothing choices, frequently rip off you diaper for no reason and do not hesitate to throw a punch.  You are talking up a storm and even though few people understand you, you don’t hesitate to just talk louder.

However, like your sister, you are the child that was not to be. You were my “late in life” child”, my “you can’t be 40 child”.  And when your little hand finds its way into mine and you nudge me along to join in your fun I realize how blessed I am to have you.  I am inextricably intertwined into Lucy’s life due to our similarities but with you Harper – well, I’m just glad I got an invitation.  You have allowed me to be a part of your life and I will enjoy every moment you choose to give me.

A Messy Home Is, Well, Messy.

This is my house – on a good day:

It’s a cluttered mess.  I admit that.  Like most women I struggle with an invisible standard to which we feel we must all adhere.  My mother was always an excellent housekeeper and I do enjoy a tidy home.  However, you add three kids and a husband who isn’t fond of putting things away and a mother with a part-time job and a desire to sleep once in awhile and this is what you get:

I’m not proud of it.  I am resigned to it.

Recently, David and I were leaving Home Depot with Harper in tow.  She was jabbering away and being adorable and the cashier, a woman well into her seventies, casually said “that is the most precious gift you will ever receive”.

My house is a mess.  It is cluttered. I don’t have time to organize the coat closet, or even change the sheets on the bed.  But this is the thing, I only have eighteen years with my kids but I have the rest of my life to clean the coat closet.

My Dare Devil

I just felt that she was too young.  Seven years old is still a baby.  David was so excited though and his brother, Paul, so confident that she could do it that I never even uttered a word of protest.  David hooked the skis to the back of the jet ski and out into the lake they went.  I was confident that one face plant into the water would send Lucy screaming back to the dock for protection from Mommy.

I stood with as much height as I could manage, squinting into the hot sun to watch Paul give her directions and put the skis on her.  The jet ski roared to life, water spraying out the back and David took off.  The rope quickly went taunt and Lucy was up, standing — water skiing and then as equally fast she flew face forward plowing into the lake.  I held my breath waiting for the screams and tears that I knew would be coming.  I was all prepared for a great big “told you so” when I realized there was silence.  No tears.  No screams.  As a matter of fact she had already gotten her skis back on and was waiting for the jet ski to swing back around to pull her again.  Once again, the rope went tight and Lucy was up and then down.  She would go on to repeat this cycle three times but with neither tears nor screams.

Somewhere, somehow, Lucy has found her self-confidence.  She jumped off the jet ski and onto the dock and for one fleeting second I saw adult woman Lucy and not 7 year old Lucy.  Her long, lean legs, dark wavy hair and confident walk are but a glimpse into her future. She broke into giggles and excitement over what she had accomplished and there were hugs and high fives all around.   In one month she has managed to learn to ride a horse, ride a bike and water ski.  Not a bad summer for a seven year old.


It suddenly occurred to me that I have told you nothing about Harper since she was born. I’ve kvetched, I’ve whined, I’ve complained, I’ve cried but I’ve said nothing about Harper the person outside of the fact that she exited my womb.

Well, here she is at not quite 8 months old:

While pregnant with Harper I used to feel this uncontrollable urge to giggle when I thought about her. At times I thought it was just a “girl thing” but as her delivery date drew closer I began to realize that it was her – she was going to be funny.  Indeed my little Harper loves to laugh. Her giggles come easy and often.  Like her older sister she is laid back, easy going and takes the world in stride.  My mother used to say that “God gives you the children you deserve” and I must say she’s right.  Lucy was a very easy infant which was good because I was fairly certain I was going to kill her with my stupidity.  Max was challenging but that was because of my over confidence in my mothering abilities, and Harper, well, Harper is happy.  Considering the tumultuous and at many times flat out depressing year we’ve been having at the Casa de Morley Harper has been a welcome breeze. Her easy laughter and quick smiles have continued to be the best part of 2010.

The Best Laid Plans Are Crap

I turned 40 two weeks ago. It seems like I should be marking this occasion with some sort of wisdom or rite of passage. What would that be? The truth is not only do I not feel wiser I actually feel more stupid. 

When you are in your twenties your life is filled with possibility and uncertainty. We all crane our necks trying to peer over the fence into adulthood wondering what it is going to look like, unaware that we are already there.  By thirty we KNOW we are adults and are filled with the confidence and certainty that this self-awareness brings.  We’re married, we have kids, houses, cars, careers and life seems rather simple for those who know how to “follow the rules”.  But the journey from thirty to forty is tough and exhausting. 

At 40 I’ve realized that having a “plan” for life is the silliest most fruitless thing ever. Plans are meant for those who have yet to come to terms with the fact that life is not something that can be controlled.  All the idealistic and optimistic visions of my early thirties have been smacked in the head with reality.  In many ways my life is better, more fruitful, richer and painted with more vibrant colors than I was capable of imagining at thirty. On the other hand I’m also far more humble.  I’ve been knocked on my knees, fallen to the floor and wondered “what next?” too many times during my thirties. I know not to take the good times for granted and that the unexpected tragedy is the other side of the rainbow that fills our lives.

What’s next?

I plan on spending my forties enjoying the seeds I sowed in my thirties. I’m looking forward to watching my children grow up. I want to wallow in my new career as an educator and watch my students blossom.  Most importantly, I’m looking forward to countless evenings sitting with David on our front porch, watching the moon, talking quietly about our kids, our jobs,  and laughing at life.

See, I Do Care

I was a recent college grad when I took a job with the Muscular Dystrophy Association.  I was young, idealistic and wanted a job that would be emotionally fulfilling.  I naively thought that working for a non-profit organization would provide me with the sensation of doing something for the greater good. It did not.  Within a year I realized that non-profit organizations are mainly filled with people who are driven by money. Raising money and finding new ways of raising money is their only focus.  I learned three important things while working there.

#1 Give Locally

Your local vet clinic, homeless shelter, food bank will take your money and put it to use right away helping the people in your neighborhood.  Your money will not go to feed and/or support a large bureaucracy that must pay salaries, bonuses and office supplies for their employees.

#2 Don’t Give Money

If at all possible give something that can’t be corrupted.  Whenever I can I prefer to donate food, books, time, clothes, ANYTHING but money.  Money is easily manipulated and wasted on things that you would rather not see your charitable money being spent.

#3 Work For The United Way

It is a widely held belief within the non-profit industry that if you want to make “real” money you go work for the United Way. They pay top dollar for their employees.  This tells me as a person donating to NEVER donate to the United Way.

Even with this jaded and cynical attitude I still have two causes that evoke my passion.  Causes for which I will give and/or do anything.  They are literacy and food.  I feel passionate that if you feed people and teach them to read you can change the world. People have endless potential when they don’t have to worry about their next meal and when they can self-educate.  First and foremost I believe that women should know how to read.  They are the mothers of the world and only they can influence and change the future of our society.  It is imperative.

As a result when I read Seagull Fountain’s review of “Three Cups of Tea” at 1:00 in the morning while I fed the baby I could not stop thinking. I was awake for another two hours thinking about the girls of the world.  My heart breaking about the young women of Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and other nations who are left out of the educational process.  Girls who will never know the wonder and power of books – even their own religious texts.  As I lay there awake thinking about these girls and asking myself what can I DO to help this cause I thought well, I could write another blog post about Seagull Fountain’s review and thus continue the cycle of awareness.  I could also provide a link to Greg Mortenson’s charitable cause iKat and encourage you to help.

You teach a girl to read, you teach a family to read. You teach a family to read, you teach a town to read. You teach a town to read, you can change the world.