Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Early Morning or Late Night Ramblings

It's 1:07 am on Wednesday, November 25th and I can't sleep. There were a few blissful hours when pain medication was able to dull my senses and my brain enough so that I could get some sleep, but unfortunately the medicine wore off at precisely 12:46 and my eyes snapped open.

Why might I be taking strong pain medication you ask? Same stuff, different right knee that I spoke of so long ago has not gotten any better but instead gotten progressively more and more painful since October. I have been in Physical Therapy for a month with a wonderful and highly knowledgeable knowledgeable in fact, that she knows when the pain and problem is outside her realm of help. She advised me last week that if my pain was still persisting and more importantly, intensifying that it might be a good idea to schedule another appointment with my doctor. Craig and I talked about it over dinner at my favorite Italian restaurant down the road from us last Tuesday night...his special treat since I was so frustrated...and we decided that we would both be more comfortable taking my knee to be seen by his long-time surgeon in Dallas. So tomorrow we are off to Dr. Moore, armed with my previous doctor's paperwork and the list of things I've been doing in Physical Therapy.

I 100% trust Craig's opinion and therefore I trust Dr. Moore...but I'm still nervous. But not nervous about what you THINK I'm nervous about. I'm nervous that he will look at the reports, take an MRI and tell me that nothing is wrong and that it must be all in my head. Because then I will feel stupid - like I've been faking it all along, or maybe that I'm a wimp who is just complaining over something small. But I know that my pain is real - I feel the grinding, the sharp pains, the dull ache and the throbbing down my shin. I am a healthy and active 26 year old woman - this is probably the healthiest I have been in my life since I was playing basketball in high school! I should be able to take my dog for walk/runs, ride my bike and play a little volleyball once a week with my adult league. I'm too young to fall apart and right now this knee is severely impacting my activity level, and therefore impacting my mood and the quality of my life.

Other than those thoughts, what else is running through my mind at now 1:17 am?
- I saw New Moon twice this weekend and I'm definitely a wolf...more importantly, an ALPHA wolf. I'm more inclined to snarl and growl when I'm mad than write intense poetry, or even speak eloquently for that matter.
- Craig and I started putting up Christmas lights on the house tonight at 8:00 in the dark. It was his idea and not really the time I would have liked to do it, but the childlike look of excitement on his face was too hard to turn down. So now we have lights.
- I've been reading Marley and Me by John Grogan lately in order to gain some perspective on my needy, emotional and stubborn dog. My favorite portion:
"In a dog's life, some plaster would fall, some cushions would open, some rugs would shred. Like any relationship, this one had its costs. They were costs we came to accept and balance against the joy and amusement and protection and companionship he gave us. We could have bought a small yacht with what we spent on our dog and all the things he destroyed. Then again, how many yacths wait by the door all day for your return? How many live for the moment they can clim in your lap or ride down the hill with you on a toboggan, licking your face? Marley had earned his place in our family. Like a quirky but beloved uncle, he was what he was. He would never be Lassie or Benji or Old Yeller; he would never reach Westminster or even the county fair. We knew that now. We accepted him for the dog he was, and loved him all the more for it." Angie isn't perfect and she'll always have her issues, but I know that she is appreciative of everything we've given her and she loves us more than anything. I couldn't imagine not coming home and opening the back door to have her come barreling in, jumping on my legs while whining impatiently about how much she missed me.
- The wedding nightmares are starting...first there was one about changing my hairstyle last minute and then it was the day of the wedding and I forgot my bridesmaids presents...and those were in the same night! I'm still feeling like I should be more stressed...maybe I'm forgetting something major, I'm not sure...but the OMG feeling definitely was ratcheted up a notch since we passed the "four months away" mark on November 13th...

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Wedding Update

A few months back, Craig and I were updating our calendar and kind of talking about what still needed to be done for the wedding and we chose an open Saturday to go take care of invitations, rings and was that day. I'm happy to announce that we accomplished all three of those things with little to no complications!

We started out by going to a little boutique by our house called Celebrations and Invitations which is owned by the mother of an ex-athlete of both of ours and a current athlete of Craig's. Although the mom wasn't there, we worked with a salesperson to decide on a "look" for our invitation. I brought in an example of what I wanted - the invitation for my friend Chelsea's wedding which gave the saleslady an idea of what we wanted and where to start in creating our own invitation. I think she was a little surprised at how quickly I was able to figure out what I wanted. She mentioned that some girls will come in four or five times to narrow down their choices for invitations. That's ridiculous. I think what we're going to end up with is green backed ivory invitations with brown lettering and some sort of brown and green floral design on the invitation. It's going to be a single sided invitation - none of this unfolding stuff with 17 different parts. Very simple and clean.

After we left the invitations place we had to stop and get some the form of Christina's mexican food. I knew that if I was going to keep Craig happy during our wedding adventure I had to keep his tummy full. We followed up lunch with a stop at Men's Wearhouse to look at tux rental but didn't stay long because they didn't have what I was looking for. On a side note...I really hate when I go into a store looking for something specific and when they don't have it they offer me something else. I'm a girl who knows what she wants and if I wanted that something else, I would have asked for it. For example, if I wanted a chocolate brown or ivory tux instead of tan...I would have asked for one. Grr.

After leaving Men's Wearhouse Craig and I went to the mall to get our wedding bands which we had already picked out but had not purchased. Lucky for me the band I wanted fit my finger perfectly so we were able to take it home today! Unfortunately, Craig has fat fingers and his had to be ordered and should come in some time before Christmas. Although I didn't want to, we dropped the ring off at his mom's house so that she can put it in the safe deposit box at the bank until the wedding...and so that I don't wear it around the house!!!

We headed to Al's Formal Wear in Southlake and almost immediately when I walked in the door they had the exact outfit that I want the boys to wear in the wedding. It's a tan suit (not a tux) with a little bit of texture and the guys will wear it with an ivory shirt and brown ties for the boys and a green one for Craig. We actually got a discount on the suit rentals for the guys because they won't be wearing the shoes that come with the rental...they will be wearing white Converse sneakers.

All in all, we got a lot done and it was relatively painless! Now time for catching up on DVR and napping with a puppy dog!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

A response...

This post is in response to the comment a friend of mine from high school and basketball teammate, Leighann posted on a blog that I wrote a few days ago. She wrote:

"Im clapping!!! It's always bothered me that I could have gone somewhere with my basketball abilities, maybe not real far, but atleast college. I think it's funny I played AAU for 7 years in the most competative form you could find, yet I wasn't good enough for her high school team. I wish I could go back in time and do something about it, but I can't. It still bothers me to this day that I chose basketball over softball because I thought I could get somewhere better with that...then I hated it so bad, I quit! I have severe hatred towards that woman and I think I will always. Good blog...I love it!"

For a little backstory, Leighann and I were on the same basketball team when we were in sixth grade (the Lady Lakers!) and we played against each other throughout middle school but went to the same high school. My sophomore year I was put on the Varsity team because of the sole fact that I was six feet tall and they needed another post player. Leighann was on JV, but definitely the best player. On a regular district game night, the Varsity basketball team played first and the JV girls played second in the small gym. If I didn't play in the Varsity game (which happened most of the time) I would run down the hall to the small gym and play with JV. Although I understand the thought process, it put me in a tricky spot: neither team really accepted me as one of their teammates. Except Leighann - we were good friends on and off the court and sat the bench together throughout our Junior year, except when she was put into the game to drain some three's. At the end of our Junior year, she and I both approached our coach together and resigned from the team.

So, in response to Leighann's comment I wanted to let her know...that's why I love coaching middle school...because that's when it was still something fun to do with my friends. All my girls want to do is scrimmage in the gym and if I could, I would let them do that everyday because soon enough the sport they love will turn into a grueling job. I have found a lot of joy in the "old coaches" volleyball league that I play in every Wednesday night because it isn't about competition (well, maybe a LITTLE bit) but it's more about being active and playing a game that we truly love.

And to Leighann...I'm so excited for you and Bryan - both on the marriage and the new adventures in Spain!! I can't help but think back to all the movies that we used to watch over at Rohit's house and to the massive amounts of cruising we did in your T-top Firebird!

The name is Crocker...Betty Crocker

I'm not sure when the transition from frozen pizza to fully homemade dinner happened...but it did and I think Craig is grateful. Since volleyball season has been over (approximately a week) I have been obsessed with new recipes and cooking dinners. Wednesday was taco night which is was pretty easy and pretty standard but last night...oh was delicious.

Porkchops and pears sauteed in a vinegar-brown sugar mix
Garlic and lemon roasted broccoli spears
Onion baked potatoes

Oh. My. Goodness. It was soooo good.

On the menu for tomorrow's Cowboy game is...
Slow cooker BBQ chicken sandwiches
Homemade potato salad
*Maybe* black bean and corn salsa

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Words of Advice

While catching up on my DVR, I came across an episode of "18 Kids and Counting" and the mother, Michelle, was asked an interesting question:

"If you could meet the 21 year old version of yourself, what would you say or what differences would there be?"

That got me thinking...what would I tell younger versions of myself?

Age 5: What an amazing imagination you've given me the best memories of my childhood.
The response: Wanna play Barbies with me? My brother Mike always does.

Age 10: Don't get the perm!!!
The response: But I want wavy hair like everyone else!

Age 13: God gave you this height so you can be better than everyone else; quit complaining about it and start using it.
The response: Who cares about being the best at basketball when no boy likes me and there aren't any cool jeans that are long enough?

Age 15: Apply yourself...your good is great but your great is outstanding. And quit trying to compete with've got her beat in the humor and likability category.
The response: I'm not going to be as smart as those kids and why try harder when I'm already making straight A's?

Age 18: Really? Another shot? Do you really think that's a WISE decision?
The response: You sound like my Mom. Shut up.

Age 21: You're okay and everything will work out...just be patient.
The response: When? Because I'm ready now.

I guess the moral of the story is that hindsight is always 20/20 and there were already people along the way telling me the things that I would eventually want to tell my former self. So that puts me in an interesting spot - should I quit telling my students all the things that I needed to hear because they're going to have to learn it for themselves or should I not stop because I will never know the morsel of wisdom that will stick with them and help them in the future?

There are a few things that my teachers said growing up that really stuck with me...
- My choir teacher, Mr. Antinone telling me that I was an underachiever. I wasn't an underachiever...I was just taking your class to get my Art credit for high school graduation.
- My Senior PEAK English teacher, Mrs. Edgington leveling with me about the Senioritis I had= Retiree-itis that she had...and we both still had to do our work until the last day of school.
- A random Sophomore English teacher in college that allowed me to "prove" to her that the Beatles were in fact poets in an essay.
- My high school basketball coach, Coach DeBord telling me that if I spent as much time in the gym as my boyfriend (a fellow basketball player) that maybe I would be as good as him. Awesome Coach...and you wondered why I quit. It's okay...I'm sure you were relieved to get rid of me.

So maybe I shouldn't quit saying those things...and maybe I should make sure that they are only nice things because I would hate for them to remember me like I remember my high school coach.

Happy Halloween!

It's a little late for a Halloween post, but I love this picture that we were able to get of Angie in her lady bug costume. She started the night off sitting in my lap attached to her leash (which was attached to the chair) in the front yard as I handed out candy. Unfortunately after a close call with her almost biting a child as the child grabbed candy, she was sequestered to the backyard. Sigh. Someday my child will be socialized...I hope.

A Brand New Regime

By all normal standards, the weight that I am currently at (and considering my height) is not overweight or obese or even fat. To other people I am sure that I look fairly skinny with a more or less athletic build. Unfortunately though, I still don't always see the person that others see - in my mind I'm a little chubby and a lot flabby both of which are two things that I don't want to be on my wedding day. Furthermore, I finally entered physical therapy for the knee pain (called chondromalacia) I've been experiencing on and off since May and I know that although this pain is quite common in young and athletic women...I could probably keep other injuries at bay if I'm in great physical shape.

When I first arrived at my new school and witness the Physical Education class, I was a bit overwhelmed and confused. The coaches actually WORK OUT with their students!? Who knew!? At my old school, where my fiance is the head of the PE department, the coaches generally stay seated at a table in the front of the gym while running class. I'm not saying one is better than the other, but I'm sure that I wouldn't have hated running so much in Athletics if my coaches had joined in with me. For the past few months, I've had to cave into peer pressure and I've been jogging (or speed walking) with my kids on Fitness Days as well as doing crunches and LEARNING(!) to do push-ups again. Each of the coaches that I work with don't use their conference periods to surf the internet or run errands, but instead they go to the weight room and work out. Again...peer pressure has gotten to me and I found myself picking up my iPod during my lunch break and heading back to the school earlier than usual to get a work-out in. And that's in addition to the weight lifting I did with the 8th grade athletes this morning as well as the hour of volleyball that I will play tonight.

It's a bit much, I agree...but I don't want to be a fat bride with jiggly arms and the more I work out, the better I feel and the more I will do it and the better I will look on the beaches of Antigua on our honeymoon!

No work-out is really complete without an accompanying healthy diet and this is also in the process of changing. I was referred to this amazing website called where you can peruse many different recipes and then once you have chosen what you want to fix for the week - just print off the shopping list! Ta Da! All the hard work is done for me! Hurray! I'm not sure how excited Craig is about this new development, but quite frankly I'm instituting a new rule: I will cook healthy dinners and if he doesn't want to eat them than that's his perogative.

Monday, November 2, 2009

What's Next?

The other night my friend Amy and I were having one of those great conversations that only the oldest of friends can do. I was cleaning up dinner and surfing the internet while she was changing a dirty diaper and getting her babies ready for bed. We had lots to catch up on and we somehow ended up on the subject of good parenting which led to a conversation about my coaching philosophy because it's really my only point of parenting reference. I was telling Amy a story about how my 7th grade volleyball athletes earned their spandex and new jerseys through hard work and showing their dedication and discipline. There was one day when my assistant coach and I were discussing my blow-up argument with the band director...

"Wait. You got in a fight with the band director? That's a story I want to hear" Amy interrupted.

She's is a pretty interesting story. Forget about my volleyball players - let's hear about Laura's temper and stubborness!

One day the band director called down to the coaching office and asked for me to release my 7th grade volleyball players from afternoon practice without having to make it up so they could have ample time to go home and change and eat before their band concert that night. I told her that I would compromise and let them out at 4:45 because I wasn't going to give them up for one entire after school practice. A few more words were exchanged on the phone and my closing statement was "I'll just go speak with the principal." So there.

After frantically searching the school for my principal, he was nowhere to be found and I was forced to return to my coaching office, still fuming at the audacity of the band director to try and boss me around. I could practically feel my heels digging into the ground - there was no way I was going to let her push me around!

To my surprise when I walked in the office, she was casually standing against the file cabinet and looked at me sweetly (a sweetness that didn't quite reach her eyes, I might add) and said "Laura, I felt like I upset you on the phone."

With arms crossed I answered her "You did." Although to be quite honestly, I am sure it came out more of a growl than a polite reply.

To make a long story short, she and I are on opposite sides of the ideological fence which is perfectly fine...but that doesn't mean she gets to decide how I run my program. I had no problem with letting my athletes out of practice 45 minutes early but she was never going to tell me that I shouldn't make the band students make up practice when they miss an entire after school practice. Our conversation went round and round with each of us staunchly defending our point of view and with me at one point responding to her comments of a previously unsuccessful volleyball team with "Yeah...that's why I'm here." Ooh...that didn't go over real well with her...but quite frankly, I didn't care that much. Eventually our conversation ended with me suggesting that we take it to the principal since she and I couldn't come to a conclusion that both of us would be pleased with.

After she left I fumed and fussed about exactly WHY I was being so stubborn. Was it because I truly believed that I needed that 45 minutes with my kids after school? Yes...I did because on the typical day most "team" activities and drills are done directly after school because our classtime is spent warming up passing and serving. Was I being so stubborn because I really didn't like how she approached me and I just didn't want her to get her way? Well...maybe a little bit. Or did I truly believe that I was indeed compromising and doing what was best for those cream of the crop kids that are involved in several activities? Absolutely.

So I took my concerns to my principal and I began the conversation this way:

"I'll be totally honest with you Mr. Principal. My mom is half Italian and Cajun and sometimes when I'm caught off guard I won't be the nicest of people and unfortunately I wasn't."

I totally owned up to my less than courteous behavior, but I also defended my point of view and spelled out the bottom line for my principal: I am trying to compromise with her but I won't allow someone to dictate the philosophy that drives my program. And he agreed so that was that. It wasn't until I walked away that I realized I was shaking.

After relaying this story to Amy we started the "what's next" discussion. All through life our maturity and progression has been measured by learning certain lessons or reaching a new goal. Getting through adolescence meant knowing right from wrong, choosing the right friends and managing time well. Becoming a young adult meant paying bills on time, RSVPing when asked and knowing yourself. I can check all that what?

I think the story I just told is a good example of the next bit of wisdom or life lesson that is ready for me to tackle: not just knowing myself but standing up for what I believe in even when it's not "lady like" or "proper." There are certainly times when stomping your foot down and saying "NO" isn't socially acceptable, but necessary to defend what you deem is right. Did I make a new friend at work through this interaction? not. But did I stand up for what was best for my program and for my athletes and teams? Absolutely and that's what is important.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


These questions were stolen (with love) from the "Waiting for the Day" blog of my mother's friend Molly.

1) Your lifesaving food/beverage.
A Starbucks Grande Skinny Vanilla tastes so good...once it hits your lips. But if I can't get there, any regular coffee loaded up with Sweet N Low and creamer will do. If it weren't for coffee at 7:30 am, I don't think my 8th grade volleyball players would have like me as much.

2) Your lifesaving article of clothing.
As a strictly PE teacher this year, I have the luxury of dressing in athletic clothes everyday...all day. Not only are these clothes my personal preference because of the comfiness, they might literally save my life due to the fact that since I do teach PE, I virtually have no reason NOT to work out anymore. So...every Tuesday and Thursday during Fitness Day, I'm running, jumping, pushing up and crunching right along with my 6th graders.

3) Your lifesaving movie/book/tv show/music.
I have vivid childhood memories of sitting in the living room watching Rhett and Scarlet as my mother vacuumed the house around me, only pausing once in awhile to reflect on her favorite parts of the movie. Once grown, I would fall asleep alone in my apartment every night to the comforting bickering of Scarlett and her sisters. Finally I read the book and realized the reason I had so passionately loved the movie for all those years - Scarlett was a woman with vivaciousness and determination...she spoke her mind and did things HER way and not necessarily the way people expected her to do. She has such an incredibly flawed personality despite her physical beauty and I think that because she was so human was the reason I fell in love with her persona at such a young age.

4) Your lifesaving friend.He's my best friend and has loved me when I couldn't love myself.

5) Your lifesaving moment.My Europe trip without my parents was the most liberating experience and made me realize that I am independent and capable of doing things for myself and on my own.