Wednesday, December 29, 2010

progress-not perfection

We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives... not looking for flaws, but for potential. ~Ellen Goodman

Progress-not perfection is my aim...

It's that time of year.
New Year's resolutions.

A new year is quickly approaching.
 New challenges. New memories. New experiences.

Sometimes we (or shall I say, I) tend to set some lofty expectations,
which inevitably fail,
so this year I am trying
small, positive shift in behavior
which is likely(hopefully) to create a pleasant ripple of change through our family life.

Find two or three minutes of solitude,
and ask yourself this:

What can I do to make my family/child’s life a better one?

Figure out the concept that will work best for you
and commit yourself
to create progress- not perfection!

Being a wife and mother is a job where perfection is always elusive!

"The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself."   ~Anna Quindlen

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

vision of sugar plums

Tonight we went to Christmas Eve Church.
Just like we do every year.
It is my favorite.
Hands down.
Goose bumps.
I love Chrismas Eve Church!
 I sit here tonight well aware of the fact that someday I will look back and long for these days.
Staying up late
sneaking out presents
taking bites from cookies left with love, wonder, magic.

I sit here full of anticipation. 
Its all bottled up
and I feel like a bottle of Mt. Dew that some kid just shook the heck out of.
Ya know?!

This Christmas has come and gone so very quickly this year.

I was feeling sad about all the "things" we "didn't" get to this year (cookies, ginger bread house, etc)

Before tomorrow comes and Christmas is really here I needed to sit down and reflect on the fact that
I love to create tradition.
I love to create memories.
I love to create that feeling,
the one that is a combination of comfort
and exhilaration.

That's the feeling that is rooted in tradition.
That's the feeling I love.
That's the feeling I want to create for my children.

So this year I have come to see
that it really isn't about the "things."
It's about the time. 
It is the time we spend together that creates the memories.....not the "thing" we are doing (or not doing in this year's case)

The kids are so full of magic this year and that has been, well, magical.

I can hardly go to sleep......
The kids however, are fast asleep as visions of sugar plums dance in their heads.
{insert gushy happy mom moment}

Merry Christmas to you and
I hope something this season restored the magic within you
My wish for you is that you live that feeling.....the one that combines comfort and exhiliration this weekend!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Head Full Of Doubt/Road Full Of Promise


A word we use frequently at work.

We toss it around like it's nothing.

Reflection is hard.

Reflection is a journey.

Reflection is scary.

What if you take the chance? 

What if you jump into it?

What if you give it all you got

You hold your breath 

Dive in

Risking current ignorance

Reflecting on.....

on everything......

and it creates more questions than answers.

Yes there are times it will lead you to more answers than questions.

That's the risk.

That's where we get hung up.

Afraid to jump

clinging to current ignorance

in fear of the questions that may arise within...

But then again maybe we should fear the answers more than the questions.

So where is the greatest risk,

accepting current ignorance

or wagering that the reflection process will lead you to a better tomorrow?

Just reflecting

a little.

Holding my breath...

Sunday, November 28, 2010


I feel obligated to ensure you that although I broke the rule and put up Christmas pre Thanksgiving,
that does not mean I neglected to give Thanksgiving its adieu.

Got the banner making idea from another blog! I am not the crafty type so I am completely impressed with myself!

The banner still hangs today {Sunday} because I am thankful.
When it really boils down to it. I am thankful for my life.
It's not perfect. Its not always glorious, some days are down right disasters, but
I am thankful for the good (click the links if interested in the good and bad)

and the bad because both the good and the bad make my life what it is today and
although I would like to go without the bad, its not realistic and without it would the good still be good?

For the first time I was the Thanksgiving host and we raised our glasses and
gave thanks
to the good and the bad!

I even transformed the "Christmas trees" into "thankful for {4}..." trees
and each guest received a {4{ and took a moment to reflect on what they were thankful for this year.

I am thankful for moments like these...
After lunch everyone had other places to run to, so Mark and I packed the kids up according to the 'ole Sanley family tradition and went to the movie theater to see Tangled.
It ended up being a great way to spend Thanksgiving evening as a family. It was kadence's first time in the theater and she did surprisingly well as long as she was on constant feed of movie theater popcorn! (definitely thankful for that!)

.........and thanksgiving always leads to
Black Friday people!
The only way to kick off the holiday season!

We did it up right!
Out the door by 2:20 am
Christmas music
tons of ads
good deals!
I so got my ipod! Woo Hoo
and just a "few" other things!
by the time we got home at 3:30 in the afternoon we had already been shopping for 12 hours and awake for 13 {which makes it closer to 20hours by the time bedtime came around!}
It was great!
Black Friday
It beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.
I am thankful!

Monday, November 22, 2010

throw cares away

So I broke the "rule"

and we decked the halls with Christmas this weekend (yes pre Thanksgiving)

 and guess what.....the world did not implode on fact it was just what we needed to lift the spirit in this house of stress lately!
If you would have dropped by this weekend you would have found a Christmas strung from here to there, me~no make up~no hair fixed....totally sucked into the thought of hibernating in our house{that has been cleaned and new carpet installed-Yippeeeeeee} for the whole weekend!
 The kids were just as sucked in as I was (and guess what...I told Mark to pick up a "small tree" for the kids' room when he ran to Columbus Saturday. He came home with a 6 footer...okay! So much for small tree!
Mark said you could not really decorate a small tree {and my tree in the living room is so off limits} so they needed a bigger one! Oh yeah baby he's so sucked in too, although denies it!)
I am loving every minute of this!
 I did not have ornaments at my finger tips to decorate an additional 6 footer so we had to create our own! The kids were completely enthralled by the entire thing!
 Kadence even got a chair for her baby to see the tree "PRETTY" she tells her!
Cohen thinks that maybe just maybe Santa will put their presents under their own tree in their own room!
Yes I broke the rules and Christmas has completely exploded at our house!
and I am loving every minute of it
{I even sat in the living room, dark,. just the Christmas tree lights twinkling and reflecting off the shiny ornaments. It is so calming to my soul. I can't stop staring at them....sigh}

Get those lights up people
Calm your souls
You'll love it!

Black Friday is on the horizon........the official kick off of the season!
all seem to say throw cares away, Christmas is here bringing good cheer!

Friday, November 19, 2010

inner processing

"Sometimes it feels like I'm not enough, like I want to give so much but my reserves are low.That's part of loving too though...making it through the empty spots and finding ways to replenish the good." ~Kelly Hampton

The quote sort of spoke to me. A description if you will of my inner processing this week.

Some weeks are easier than others to find the good. I found myself looking at these pictures from a few weeks ago {Post Halloween Pre Grandma} validation that we measure time in moments  It was dark by 6pm when we get home, but beautiful out and I said "heck with it, Cohen get the rake."

 and did we find the good that day.
Yes, some days it comes so easily for me and then other days I find it difficult to not get bogged down in the day to day, to do lists....

Yes some days the reserve is low and I feel like I am not enough. That there is so much more I should do.

HEY YOU! That's right I am talking to you, Pull it together!

I have been attempting to make a conscious effort to replenish the good.

Last night Cohen and I were sitting in the rocking chair, close to bedtime and my phone rang.
I didn't get up to get it.
Cohen looked up at me and said "mom you didn't get your phone because you are snuggling with me right." as he nuzzled in a little closer.
I am in awe at how quickly and effectively my kids can replenish my "good."

Pile up too many tomorrows and you'll find that you've collected nothing but a bunch of empty yesterdays. ~The Music Man

I have indeed been piling up too many tomorrows and last night my children brought me back.
What a gift they are.
(A clean house helped matters too~not to steal their glory or anything!)

and can I mention that Christmas is only 36days away. I have been so caught up in surviving that I would tell you that Halloween was last week! Holy Buckets Batman it's time to get serious! Black Friday is only one week away and that is one of my favorite holiday kick off's!  Since the saying says attitude is a choice and we have to FIND the good.......I put together a christmas song playlist yesterday to listen to as I was typing away at work and man did that turn my attitude around! 
 There is nothing like Black Friday, twinkling Christmas lights in your darkened house, belting out traditional Christmas songs as if I were a professional singer, flour on the counter and frosting on your pants, as the aroma of cookies baking fills the house, the excitement, the love, the feeling and oh how I love Christmas, to replenish all that is good.Take it in people...........ahhhhhhhhhhhh.
Maybe just maybe this current "empty reserve" has its purpose and I will truely appreciate everything this Christmas season has to offer.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

throwin' punches

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out. ~Anton Chekhov

Consider this therapy for the week {or at least tonight}
and just so you know,before you waste your time reading, this is nothing profound or heck even interesting but it is clogging up my mind and more than ever I could use a clear out you go random cloudy thoughts!

Promises. Promises.
For three consecutive weeks I have promised myself, just get through this week/weekend and it will be fine.
Just get through the Halloween Fundraiser and it will be fine.
Just get through the week of watching Grandma decline and it will be fine.
Just get through this week of funeral, family, kadence puking with a fever-two doctor visits and one shot later, it will be fine.
Just get......well you get the point.

Funny thing about perspective.

It's always changing.

The promises were a coping mechanism and I would say, although silly, they work.

That is "worked."

Until this week.
 Three weeks of get up,
go to work,
worry (OMG I am organizing a Halloween festival, will there be enough food, games, will anyone show up?)
worry worry worry,
worry (Oh Grandma~Goodbye is hard)
Come home from work, worry some more.
Put the kids to bed.
Do more work until midnight or
stay up and work on a photo book memento of Grandma while the kids are sleeping.
Get up at 6 and do it again.
Three weeks.
I'm done.
I'm crumblin' people.
The walls are falling down.
(oh I know it will be fine. Life keeps going and this cycle will move out and a new one will move in, but come on already shouldn't I get out of this valley soon)

And again I repeat to you and to myself

Perspective is a funny thing

It's Always changing.

If you want to forget all your other troubles, wear too tight shoes. ~The Houghton Line,  1965
(see perspective!)

I'm tired.
I'm done.
and my kids are the ones paying the price and that makes me sad.
so now
I'm sad.

Since I just happen to be on a worry kick the last 3 weeks

I must say right now I hate Kindergarten.
The letter home Friday says this:
We have reviewed the 48 phonographs. Our new sounds this week were: ew-oo u {threw, Few} ow {how, low} ou {round, soul, you, double} ui[oo u {fruit, Juice} ay-2 letter a that we do use at the end of English words and ai- 2 letter a that we do not use at the end of Eng words. Why? Eng words do nto end with i. AW that we do use at the end of Eng words, au that we do nto use at the end of Eng words Why? Eng words do not end in u or i. We also learned aw {saw} and au{ saucer} Remember the parts in {} are not said to your child, they are just words for parents to think of the sounds.
Then I get out his homework sheet for this week (so above was just the sounds they did last week) these are for this week:





ed-past tense ending (like he'll know what the hell that means)

ck-2 letter k used only after a single vowel which says a e i o u



*warning I am tired and been avg 5 hours of sleep or less a night for about 3 weeks(I'm an 8 hour kind of gal) and really hung my hat that this week was going to be better only to get drowned again and realize nope one more week of this continues......thus profanity follows, you were warned**
~disclaimer: this is not an attack against his teacher or school...just the world itself and its standards and demands and criteria!~

So I read this kindergarten letter and holy shit I don't even know what the hell half of that means really?!?! and I graduated with honors from college! In one week my 5yr old should know that?!?! and be moving onto 8 new ones. I am drowning and can't even keep up on making the flash cards let alone keep his interest in learning them and cripes I don't even know half the sounds the right way because she doesn't send home the "helper words" until Friday after the week is over and the test is done!!!!! So what the hell kind of help is that to parents??!?!?!? Really?? Like his sounds for this week, she won't send us the letter now until Friday when the test is over for this week on what sounds all those different letter combinations make and I don't know those off the top of my head and now I am whining and carrying on......I digress......
Whew I feel better.

Therapy via blogging is good.
available late at night.
and it's all I got

Back to work. (time check: midnight)
or is that back to worry....
oh well it's all the same right now,
either one means limited sleep.

Here's the thing again!

Perspective is a funny thing
It is always changing.

Bad is never good until worse happens. ~Danish Proverb

I thought the week leading up to Halloween was "bad"
Then the next week hit and I would have given anything to go back to "bad" of the Halloween week.
Then the next week hit with a blow to the stomach, breath stealing good bye to Grandma, compounded by a sick poor lil one.

I am hanging on by a thread.
Dreaming of a new perspective.

We all live within our own realities our own "perspectives"
bad week/good week is relative to our own life experiences.
To some they may say "Wow Jen's that's a lot.
and others may say
"you think that's bad...take a look at my life."
and I say
This is my life.
My perspective.
My painful growth.

Oh this learning and growing thing can be so draining sometimes.
I am ready for a new lesson plan oh Master!

Thanks for checking in my "free" and "wise" therapist readers!
Feel free to leave your diagnosis and prognosis *smile*
and I'll stop rambling now...

"That was rough.... Thing to do now is try and forget it.... I guess I don't quite mean that. It's not a thing you can forget. Maybe not even a thing you want to forget.... Life's like that sometimes... Now and then for no good reason a man can figure out, life will just haul off and knock him flat, slam him agin' the ground so hard it seems like all his insides is busted. But it's not all like that. A lot of it's mighty fine, and you can't afford to waste the good part frettin' about the bad. That makes it all bad.... Sure, I know - sayin' it's one thing and feelin' it's another. But I'll tell you a trick that's sometimes a big help. When you start lookin' around for something good to take the place of the bad, as a general rule you can find it." ~From the movie Old Yeller


Red Shoes.

Watch out world

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Finishing touches

"Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will find them gradually, without noticing it, and live along some distant day into the answer." ~Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

Sleep eludes me this week.

I have a great many excuses, that I like to think are legit, but really I just can't make myself go to sleep. 
 For if I sleep another day comes much to quickly

and the coming of another day only draws us closer to saying goodbye.

I am aware that the day is going to come either way sleep or no sleep........

Yes we know the day is going to come.
A goodbye is drawing near...

Having done hospice
worked in a nursing home
sat with parents whose child just took their last breath only minutes before,
I have many views about death and dying.
Are they evidenced based? Theories? Coping mechanisms?
Of that I am not clear nor do I care to sort it out.
I am content to find comfort in my theories.

I think that when we are allowed to go through the dying process we get the chance to sort out our lives.
From the outside, to loved ones, the physical appearance and decline is painful...but I have to believe that all the beauty is being absorbed and used to write your very own glorious final chapter.
To take a moment all to yourself
and sort out all of those things that you never told anyone.
All of the wishes, the should haves, could haves, and shouldn'ts that have weighed on your heart over a life time. 

The moment belongs to only you.
The process allows you to put the finishing touches on the very last chapter of your life story
and close the book,
with peace of mind.

So we wait
as the finishing touches are delicately hand crafted
fine detail that can only be created by the designer themselves....

and waiting is hard
when you are not the author.....

There are things that we don't want to happen but have to accept, things we don't want to know but have to learn, and people we can't live without but have to let go. ~Author Unknown

Thursday, October 28, 2010

so this is your life

You must give up the life you planned in order to have the life that is waiting for you.” – Joseph Campbell

Isn't that so true?

 Life is full of happy, successful, confident times as well as those challenging, overwhelming, full of self doubt times.
So this IS your life, how do you cope?

I've been wondering lately, just about why I stress over things that I really have no control.

Do you ever wonder why you say "yes" when you should have said "no?"
  • Like saying "would you like me to bring snack?" when the little voices in your head are screaming WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!  When are you going to DO THAT?? Hello woman?! but instead you smile and say "Great. We'd love to."

Do you ever find yourself rationalizing your "hardships" or "stresses?" 
  • Like trying to convince yourself it could be worse, we could be......... Or my kid could have...... or I could have............ or....... at least we're......... 
All in an attempt to maintain or maybe just create some false perspective. 

The crazy thing is no matter what you fill in those blanks there is someone in THAT very situation doing the same thing only filling in the blank with something different! 
So Why do we do that then? It is what is....your life. Keep going. That's it. It really is that simple.

Bad is never good until worse happens. ~Danish Proverb
Just makes me think you will cope with whatever life throws your way because that is what we do (and that's a good thing!)
Do you bargain with yourself to make it through?
  • Okay just get through this and we can...... or I will......

Do you recognize your coping strategies? 

What are they?

"If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it's not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That's why it's your path."  ~Joseph Campbell

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

When in doubt, wear red.

When in doubt, wear red. ~Bill Blass

I have no voice.

Okay well I have a "voice" just not an auditory one!

That sore throat I thought I was fending off last week has reared it's ugly head this week and stolen my voice. This is frustrating for me since my job and life at home require me to speak. Ugh. Hoping it returns by tomorrow!
{still stupidly optimistic}

I made my very first pie.
I am not sure who was more excited the kids or me {but I am leaning towards me}

It was something I needed to "conquer" and I am not sure why.
Last winter I swore I would finally master gravy and after some lessons from my mom I can make roast gravy {yay}
Fun Fact: My most favorite food in the whole wide world is mashed potatoes and gravy, so it was vital I figure that out {clump free of course}

So the desire has moved to pie and I am not a huge pie lover but whatever the inner voice wants it gets.

So we made pie {crust and all}

and it turned out pretty darn good!

Okay so the whole weekend wasn't about me!
Sunday we stayed in our pj's until about 1pm maybe 2!
We have not done that forever and it was great!
I think we all needed that

We broke out dad's shaving cream and practice tested Cohen's letter sounds.
We haven't ever done the shaving creme.
 I don't know why.
I loved it at school when I was little and it's so easy!
We have definitely been missing out around here!

Even though it was fun

Cohen would still much rather be here....

 I am so dang excited about the pie baking thing I may just have to try a different one this weekend.
Any suggestions or ideas? Pie bakers out there?

Other random things:
I almost bought red shoes today.
I still might....
That thought still shocks me.
Very outside the box of the brown and black shoes that litter my closet!
I do not have a great fashion sense and have no idea what in the world I would wear them with but I am so drawn to them.
 It was like they were calling to me from their little ledge...
"Jen you need me in your life."
 I just can't shake the voices. We'll see!

so tonight I dream of pies....talking......and........RED shoes.
{Not just the little voices in my head but my literal voice that has gone missing!}
Yes truly the spice of life really!
and now I am totally craving mashed potatoes and gravy!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

the pots don't shine

I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day. ~Elwyn Brooks White

Back to fall for a moment.
Somewhere in this "race" I am trying to call my life
I lost control and in doing so lost my focus. 
If I don't make Living and Loving this life my priority
then who is going to?
 It is so easy to succumb to the "busyness"
I am adding a very important item to our fall list: 

Candy corn and peanuts!

Hello fall!
How ever did I forget about the simple pleasure??

hmmmm I smell apple pie baking.....a glimpse to the weekend ahead!

If the shelves are dusty and the pots don't shine,

it's because I have better things to do with my time.

~Author Unknown

Amen author unknown. Amen.
This is me convincing myself to not spend all weekend mopping and doing laundry! *and not to just not do it...but to be okay with it! Now that's the mental challenge!

Tell me!
Have you embraced fall yet? 
Did you get your "candy corn & Peanuts?"

Saturday, October 2, 2010

sink or jump

So I have been wallowing in the doom and gloom for far too long!  I can wait for the world to change or I can jump off this sinking ship with both feet and declare that I will not go down without a fight!

I do believe it is time to climb out of the "whiny" pit! {thanks for bearing with me}

Cohen had a soccer game and totally rocked it out! He dominated! He had the first 2 goals of the game in oh about 3 minutes! Complete with a dive kick move that he thinks is sooo cool! Solidified with the "Is that your kid? He's really good." comment ..{so what if it is only 5 year olds soccer... I was desperate for an ego boost this week! You take what you can get right!?}
we're jumpin people watch out!

Tonight we decided we had better take advantage of this fall night as I just recalled that I have a fall list that I have been too "busy" to get started on! Silly me, who is too busy for a fall list!?! I had to go back and read it here..just to remember what was on it! I do believe i had better get refocused as fall is a short season!

That being said...

 We rocked it tonight

Fall is here people

....and the Calahan's are feelin' it!
Are you feelin' it yet?
Life is what we make it, always has been, always will be.  ~Grandma Moses

are you making yours?