Monday, July 26, 2010

a lifetime to work

You have a lifetime to work, but children are only young once. ~Polish Proverb

This weekend it was time to tackle a few more things on that summer list as I realized that summer is quickly slipping by and school is just around the corner! The weekend I feel I must admit first was a bit shaky. The kids were tired from going to the fair on Thursday and Friday. We had lots of tears and melt downs (not just the kids either!)it was not all sunshine and lollipops!! (you don't want to read about that right!)

Somehow by Saturday night we managed to turn things around (Thankfully!)

Saturday Afternoon we started our very first batch of homemade ice cream!

We also started potty training (not by my choice, but hers, which goes like this: She woke up and decided she wanted to pee on the toilet.I helped her on the toilet and was sternly told "OUT MOM" and ta da potty for the first time in the toilet! AND each time we do the potty thing I have to leave!) and potty training is best done bare britches in this house. Just like everything else, we multi task. Make ice cream....potty training....which ends in the possibility that no one else will want to eat our ice cream! (opps sorry grandma, we didn't let you in on our secret!)

Home made ice cream requires the perfect balance of ice and salt...

 yes folks I would say we have success with the ice cream (and potty training!)

There was no time to waste in letting the ice cream freeze before taste testing, so of course we had to eat it the best way possible.......
I had dreamt of something more exotic when I thought about doing a picnic but Cohen said the back yard would be just fine.......I was sceptical but in the end he was SO right!

The back yard ended up being perfect because the picnic led to this...
Cohen had previously zip tied the swings together, so he could "pump" for both of them!

“Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.” Ashley Smith

Oh the laughter

Sometimes being a brother is even better than being a superhero. ~Marc Brown

"You are worried about seeing him spend his early years in doing nothing. What! Is it nothing to be happy? Nothing to skip, play, and run around all day long? Never in his life will he be so busy again." ~Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Emile, 1762

Friday, July 23, 2010

do you respond or react?

Don't worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you. ~Robert Fulghum

I have really been reflecting on this piece of parenting advice that was given to me a month or so ago. She and I were talking about the challenges and joys that go with having young kids at home and she in her ever so delicate way said this: Being a responsible parent, delicately shaping who your kids will be some day is hard. Try to remember that good parenting is about responding not reacting.

Those words have really stuck with me. Respond don't react. I never realized how much I react, when I, as the parent, should be responding! I also never realized how much I "ride" my kids for reacting instead of responding when they are frustrated or mad.  Well self where in the world do you think they have learned how to deal with conflict and stress: {Look in the mirror} I am setting the stage for how they will work through hard times through their lifetimes, I don't want them to react. I want them to be able to stop and get perspective and work through it: Respond.
There is such a difference between the actions of those two choices: Will I react or respond?!

Being a mom can be so hard and stressful and by bedtime it is easy to fall into reacting {GET IN BED! ARGHHH!!!!!!} instead of stopping and responding. It really is a matter, for me anyways, of controlling my own temper and impatience, what a lesson this has been {and continues to be}for self improvement.  It is SO hard, but every morning we get up and we start again, vowing to do better today.

Every once and while we say "how much" we love each other, which we create as we go and it always changes (thanks Paige for the fun idea!)so last night Cohen said he loved me "to California, Texas, to the moon, off the diving board, through the pool, down the slide and back and that's a lot!"  Oh if he only knew it was so much bigger than that. 
As the storm moved in last night and cracks of thunder rattled the windows and the strikes of lightening were close enough that  I swear the hairs on my arms were standing up with electricity, Kadence cried out for her mommy. Little did she know I was waiting for it, almost longing for it; needing it. That moment when her body is almost part of mine and our breathing is in sync As we laid on the couch together, the weight of her body laying on mine, arms still wrapped lightly around my neck, the smell of her hair, tussled under my nose as she laid, snuggled on my chest, safe again with her mommy I wondered if she'll ever know, if either one will ever know, the worry, wonder, self discovery, thought, hurt and love that goes into being their mommy everyday.

Then again maybe that is another one of those parenting tid bits that I am the mom, you worry, doubt, wonder, question, grow, change, love, and worry some more but all your kids know is:  you love {and hope it's enough}

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Be brave in the attempt

“This is serious business. This isn't just cute. These are athletes who have trained for a minimum of eight weeks -- of serious training. Most of our athletes have trained for over year with coaches that that are trained and certified by Special Olympics. Our athletes are serious athletes who show the world they can.” ~ Margaret Larsen

5am in Kim's driveway wondering what I was thinking!
Monday I spent my day volunteering at the National Special Olympics in Lincoln. When my alarm went off at 4:15am I admit I was thinking to myself...really Jennifer? Why are you doing this again?  The closer I got to Lincoln the more nervous I got. I had signed up to be an athlete escort for track and field. As we got our instructions that morning, I was really starting to wonder what I had signed up for and maybe I should have taken more of a paperwork-y position.

The instructions went a bit like this:
You have signed up for one of the most demanding yet rewarding positions here at the games (Yikes?!). As the athletes come in someone will check them in. They will then be escorted to your rows. Each of you will stand at a row which is a heat for the events. Once the athletes are placed in their heat, your row, you are responsible for keeping them there, keeping them excited and engaged, when your heat is full, you will then escort your row (about 6 athletes) out to their event, gather and hold their belongings, and then after the event is finished escort your heat to the coaches area for pick up. It is important to remember that some athletes may not follow verbal directions. Once placed in your row, these athletes are your responsibility. Have fun!

Well after those instructions I was honestly thinking uh oh...hope I can do this. I cannot say I have much for experience in working with adolescents or adults with disabilities. So many thoughts and questions were running around my little mind like "How will I ever keep track of 6 athletes at a time? Am I going to be able to do this?? I don't think I can do this. What was I thinking?! Oh Jennifer!

After one trip to the mini Jav and one trip over to the shot put, I hit my groove and all the nerves and self doubt had washed away.

I had one group of 6 men in the 30+ age division for shot put that I had escorted out to the track and then shot put was running behind so we were out there for an extended period of time....Oh my goodness were we ALIVE! This particular group of guys was great...
Charles was out to make friends with everyone! He was a talker and a bit of a comedian! At one point he looked at me and yelled "WATCH OUT!" I was like "what?!"  He said "an alligator's gonna eat your toe. Ah I'm just kiddin'"  He was a cheering fool for Iowa, so he liked to fill the waiting period finding other events to watch and cheer for (whoa Charles come back!) He also started a lot of "RAISE THE ROOF" action in our group! I tell you what he was sucking every ounce of fun out of this experience!

David. David was the first athlete that I saw that really hit home about why the Special Olympics is so important. David at least with me, didn't use any language except, "yeah." He answered all questions with "yeah" and he showed very little affect (even with Charles in our group!).  BUT, but when David pushed (Rodney explained to me that you don't throw the shot put, that's bad, you push it) the shot put, his face was full of concentration and determination and when he was done he threw his arms in the air and smiled and said "YEAH!" It was just awesome. There isn't a better word for it!

Two guys from Missouri and they had a cheer (that was pretty clever I must say as Ashton from Lousiana had to clue me in!) They also informed me that it was Missouri's day to shine! They were both all about the competition, but the moment that Keith didn't have good throw and turned around disappointed and muttering "damn it" they were the first 2 up and telling him how if he tries his hardest it's okay and to keep trying for next time and to keep his chin up......

There was one girl who was in the heat that I had for the 200m that was so nervous. She stretched her legs, jumped in place, held her stomach, man she was nervous, but focused. She did not want to chit chat she had her game face on. When that gun went off, she was like a bullet, 1st place in the heat! When I met her at the finish line she threw her arms around my neck and said "I did it! Oh my God I did it. That was awesome!" She was right!
side note here....when you took a heat to do a race like the 200m (which is like 1/2 the track almost~like a 40 second race) you put their lane number on their uniform, double checked lane assignments and made sure everyone was in the right place and THEN you had to make sure you were at the finish of the race to meet them and take them back to their coaches (if you haven't connected it yet, that meant I too had about 40 seconds to make it across the track! ~whew~workout!)

Oh we discussed everything from Louisiana to Iowa to Nebraska's weather (did you know you can goggle tornado sirens in Nebraska and hear them...yup you can on youtube according to Jason from Massachusetts, who could tell you everything you wanted to know about Nebraska weather because he googled it) to karaoke, to girls, to weight loss to ..............
By the end of the day I wasn't wondering any more,
why had I signed up for this;
I was wishing I had signed up for the whole week!

Click this link to watch one girl's story and then you can also browse the other videos and pictures so far! In fact it is only Wednesday I challenge you to take a day, an afternoon, a hour and go there! Pick any sport gymanstics, swimming, baseball, soccer, tennis......just go! I promise you won't want to leave!

"A rewarding life is filled with challenge: the effort creates fires that temper us and strengthen our spirit. So do not feel pity for me….Give me a chance! " ~Thomas Gatu, Special Olympics Kenya athlete

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


"The sun shines and warms and lights us and we have no curiosity to know why this is so; but we ask the reason of all evil, of pain, and hunger, and mosquitoes and silly people." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Unlucky/Lucky I guess it's all in how you look at it right!

Today's gonna be a good day...yes today's gonna be a good good day.

That is what I am singing to myself this morning because isn't half the battle in your mind most the time.

So far this week I felt as though I could fall asleep on the way TO work, I'm just so tired!
Monday I escaped a possibly very bad accident with a "nudge" and a few paint scrapes on my bumper.
Tuesday ended with a warning ticket for going 50 in a 35mph (okay no one goes 35 on 3rd ave so don't be thinking JEEZ-O Jen)
and I've had no computer for 2 days at work.
Mark was home all day yesterday and accomplished (in my opinion only) nothing (as in laundry not put away, dishes not washed etc) I stayed up and did such tasks and went to bed at 11pm. blucky.

That would be Monday and Tuesday which brings me to this morning:  It's only Wednesday??
I got up at 5:30 and went for a walk. Isn't exercise suppose to give you more energy? Make you happy?! Endorphins?! Right?!
I am slapping a flower in my hair ~because who doesn't look happy when they have a flower in their hair
and I am packing swim suits so the kids and I can go to the water park after work
(this is preplanning here as I know I may be a bit "short" or "edgy" this evening so if we go to the pool the kids are spared my mood, we don't have to fight over going outside after work, because they want to and I think it's too hot and heck I just might have fun!)
...and I am fighting the urge to whine and whine and whine, but it's so hard sometimes! ~sigh

Today's gonna be a good day.......yes today's gonna be a good good day!

Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn't learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die; so, let us all be thankful. ~Buddha

So go forth and be happy.

update: Negative: Make that day 3 and no computer.
Positive: Coworker says you look so summery and happy today (check check: flower in hair does indeed create the illusion of happiness!)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


I put on my summer list..."wear more skirts/dresses/summer attire" right?

Let me answer that for you. Yes, Yes I did.

In an attempt to meet that I did indeed wear a fun flowy skirt to work today.

You may be thinking. Yay for you?! I mean big deal right? What is so "classic" about that? right?

Well picture this.....

Late afternoon...sitting at the computer...getting very drowsy. My coworkers and I go for a 15 min walk and while we are walking and I am thinking about how fun it is that I am wearing a skirt and it is kind of blowing in the wind and I felt like a kid!{confident} 

After the walk I grab a giant diet Pepsi.

Drink Pepsi.

Get kids from daycare and drive home.

Hmmm as we are driving home I am thinking I should have used the facilities (ya know giant diet Pepsi!)

We get home and  Kadence follows me to the bathroom (because when would I ever pee alone?!) and the conversation is going a bit like this
"Mommy potty?"
"yes kadence mommy is going potty."
 "Mommy potty?" (you get the picture here right.) 

Kadence gets me some toilet paper


Yes yes I peed on the back of my skirt which had fallen in the toilet!

 And that my friends is "classic."

Monday, July 5, 2010

leave no candy behind

The 4th of July

Oh my babies are tired today and so is momma. I love holidays. I love picking out the "perfect" holiday wear...from festive 4th of July clothes to Easter Dresses and Christmas Clothes. I cannot help myself. I want to embrace the holiday and drink it in. Make it a Shout it from the roof tops kind of day every holiday!

 It took some time but after some coaching oh were we candy getting go getters.  Parade Etiquette was something we had not prepared for as I pointed out some candy on the street and Cohen said "I already got one of those" and Kadence said "done mom." 
Okay kids listen up..huddle around...
Parade Game face on.
Leave no candy behind.
There is no such thing as "too much"
There is no time for hesitation.
Trust no one.
Now get out there and make me proud!

I love tradition

I love small towns.
 (Platte Center Parade and Derby..Rising City BBQ and Fireworks sounds like a dreamy day to me)
.....and loving all those things how could I not love the 4th of July.
{I think Kadence took the "trust no one" to heart!}

Our day was not made up of much "hoop la" nor "grandeur" but it was good. AND good is great.

We may not have lots of money.

We may not have everything.

But we have family



and  Freedom.

and I think that makes us pretty darn wealthy.

When I nestled the kids in bed just shy of 1am Cohen said that every part was the best part!
Kadence couldn't tell us her favorite part, but I think it was the glow sticks!
Cohen also told me (in a very serous tone)he knew how to get Kadence to as Kadence lay on her pillow clutching about 12 glow sticks close to her chest Cohen sang her a song about derby cars until his little voice just drifted to sleep....ah yes my babies, it was a glorious day.
If you were to ask....that bedtime moment was my favorite part! 

Which brings us to today, after the big bangs and ohhs and ahhhs, in true holiday fashion is the "holiday let down."
A holiday tradition in it's own right.
The glow sticks have all faded and burned out.
Today is the day when the the kids are hung over from their holiday high and so is mom.
Today is the day when the laundry, dishes, toys, dirt, crumbs, shoes (why are there so many shoes) all need attended too but energy is low and demands are high.
Today is the day when naps are priority one and fun was omitted somehow!
Today is the day that never ends.
Even with the feared and anticipated holiday let down....I will bring all I got to the next holiday!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Awesome. Yeah pretty Cool.

So we quickly pull out onto 8th st after daycare and drive by the gas station that has some pennant flags outside and Cohen says "we should get those mom for the back yard." To which I say "hmm okay. Why not. Let's go."  Just a note: Walmart does not carry these flags......add 2nd stop at Party Palace and......

Ta Daaaa
Who knew that we bought one long enough to wrap around the swing set twice! (I hated math!)  and yes Cohen zip tied the swings together so he can "swing Kadence" because he's "so strong."  ~ahh insert melty, mushy, mom heart here!~Okay So I admit it is a bit over the top!

BUT both kids stood on the dinning room chairs looking out the window last night, watching the flags blow and Kadence said "Awesome" and Cohen said "yeah pretty cool" and the conversation was just between the two of them ...and that was all I needed. That moment was all I needed to say....Thank God I said "Yes!" when my normal response is "no. not today."  Ya know. So many "cool" moments are missed because I am "so" busy...but not this time! Not this moment.

I found this picture ....... Look at that concentration!

We finished up T-ball tonight and it was magical! Cohen was SO proud! He wanted to stop at people's houses and show them his medal! Isn't that cute?! I am completely in love with that boy!

This picture just captures his spirit perfectly at this time in his life.
Full of life.
Full of wonder.
Free and the world his...playground.
(this picture ~above~made me a little teary eyed I must admit! I love when the camara captures the essence and not just the moment you know?!)

It is such an amazing process and gift to be able to watch your child grow up. It is an enormous responsibility to shape their lives, yet unfathomable joy to see their independence and growth!

And speaking of......independence: I told Cohen look tough.......

Which got a response from miss independent herself...."me mom"

yes folks.  Life is good....