Monday, May 30, 2011


Just as your car runs more smoothly and requires less energy to go faster and farther
when the wheels are in perfect alignment,
 you perform better when your thoughts, feelings, emotions, goals, and values are in balance.”

~Brian Tracy

I find it hard to find balance.

I am work Jen.
I am wife, Jen
I am mom, Jen
I am friend, Jen
I am community member, Jen.
I am selfish, all about me, Jen.

I love each role. I find enjoyment within each "position."
I need each role. 
Yet it is hard to find balance.

Lately, friend, Jen and community Jen have been winning out over mom, Jen
and it was time to shift the balance back to where it needs to be.

Sometimes it is hard to admit that mom, Jen isn't always at the top. 
That is when mom guilt tends to peak and tilt the scales back the other way.

But I am hoping that even when I feel like mom, Jen has taken a back seat, my kids see me volunteering for our community or helping a friend in need,
and in those moments, despite how I feel,
maybe mom, Jen is still front and center sort of, 
demonstrating how to give back to the community
and to those we love.

That even when the attention is not on them directly
they are absorbing the lesson that
sometimes in life its not about them,
or me,
but about something bigger.

I had a brief conversation today about raising kids.
How does a person raise kids who are "well rounded?" 
What is well rounded? 

How do I teach my children to value family above "things?"

How do you teach your children to be successful yet generous and caring? 
How do you teach your children to work hard, yet enjoy the life they have been given?

How do you teach your children right from wrong when the world is often grey? 

It is scary because I will not know if I have done my job as a mom until it's too late to do it differently.

So the goal of our long weekend was for mom, Jen to win out above the "others."

I have to do some self talking for mom, Jen to stay on top
because it is so easy for one of the "others" to take over!

There are these unwritten, unobtainable, mom rules that seem to exist inside.
They never really go away
and they can create quite a stirring of mom guilt at times. 

I did my best this weekend to calm the stirring inside and close the book of unobtainable mom rules. 
We are writing our own chapter.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Self awarded gold star

Today was one of those defining days.

One of those days that you know you will either pass with gold star quality or fail miserably.
The kind where you know there is no middle. It will be good or bad~black or white.

Today was picture day!

I have lined up a million excuses as to why had I not scheduled the kids' pictures as of yet.
I had gotten in the groove of taking them in Feb which is smack in between both of their birthdays, but not this year.
This year I had "reasons" 
(legit or not is debatable!)

So yesterday at 5:10pm I called Portrait Innovations in Lincoln and said "hey got any openings tomorrow?" "11:40? Sure we're in" 
Completely done in spontaneous and just do it fashion!
Implant this story
{The last time I tried them was when Kadence was a baby and it took forever and I was not impressed}

The morning comes and we wake with ease and I remain cool and collected, self talking because picture day equals stressful day, getting kids ready and packing their clothes since they are summer clothes and the weather is playing nasty tricks and the current temperature was somewhere in the 40's. 
I tell myself..."I got this." The kids and I pack a bag.
1. clothes. 2. ipod 3. crayons/paper 4. Tag books 5. snacks.

We cruise in the door at 11:30 for our 11:40 appointment.
The lady casually announces that they are running slightly behind and I smile and joke and say that will work perfectly as the kids need to change and Cohen wanted a picture with his baseball things which we neglected to grab from the tahoe. 

We trek back to the tahoe get the baseball bag.
Trek back to the studio.
Mentally making note that there sure seems to be a lot of people sitting around
and is that the same baby that was crying when we were in here a few minutes ago?!

The kids change clothes. I continue to think "I got this."

We sneak a place to sit near the lego table quietly thinking {score!} and is that still the same baby crying?!

Somewhere in the midst of this time is where the defining moments creep in
before you have time realize they've come!

Wait, we did.

I smiled.

Cohen played Ipod.
Kadence watched a baby nurse.
(I am sure the mother of the newborn appreciated prying eyes watching every move!).

Kadence played ipod.
Cohen played ixl.

Cohen plays legos.
Kadence crawls under the lego table and rolls around.

I smile.
{I say Kadence honey can you get up please and play legos at the table with Cohen? Because what  I want to say is...Kadence get your ass off the floor, everyone can see your half ripped Dora panties (my God did I not notice the rip in the Dora panties?! Seriously). You're going to wrinkle your dress which Grandma ironed and rubbing your head on the floor is 1. nasty and 2. Gonna screw your hair!)
See that's a defining moment.

Cohen gets out crayons.
Kadence watches someone else get their pictures taken. 

I play a game with myself....
for every kid that cries I get $20 bucks,
double my money for each time the parent says
{Which in the history of mankind has NEVER worked to stop a crying toddler}

I was up to $3,460 when a lady with another newborn "politely" tells my 3 year old to move off the chair she is quietly and contently sitting on, so that she can nurse and still see the pictures her family is going to view on the near by computer. 

I smile. 
{I say sure. No problem. Kadence honey come here and sit by mommy. Because what I want to say is "HELL NO. Can you see her?  She's happy. She's quiet. She's sitting, not showing the room her ripped Dora panties, nor rubbing her head on the floor. Find your own damn chair. Dog eat dog woman. baby or no baby.} 

Somewhere in here I think I hear "Jennifer" through the crying. {man there is a lot of crying at a photo studio!}

Round 1 of pictures goes great
(in that I just made an ass of myself kind of way because the lady who is paid to make kids smile is standing off to the side saying "Look I have frog." I mean really?! Getting kids to smile takes more of a work out. I take my spot directly next to or behind the photographer popping out with a peek a boo, fake sneeze with fake boogers...whatever it takes!)

The wait continues as we wait for Round 2 to finish the picture taking.

 I notice how many parents are currently either yelling or sternly  warning their kids that there will be NO Treats if they Do NOT SHAPE UP, Knock it off, Stop it!.

I listen to them
{knowing I've been there and will do it again}
but today I sit there wishing I could video tape it and play it back for them.

I want to pull the flustered mother with the wailing 18 month old over to the side and whisper you know yelling at him probably is not going to make this get better anytime soon right?.

If you think this sucks, imagine what he's thinking?!

But instead

 I smile.

I decide my new goal is to remain in check.

RIght now he's thinking...OMG did my mom just do that fake sneeze booger thing really?!?!

Today I will not be the flustered, out of control mom with crying kids.
I refused to go there even when the tempation was HIGH!

we wait.

Kadence gets out crayons to color.
Cohen starts playing baseball with himself
{yes this is a bad decision
but I pretend like I am fine with it}

I offer a cheese stick to the crying 18 month olds mother, she smiles and says no thank you. ( I know that she wants to say: Bitch you can take your snacks and toys and shove those where the sun doesn't shine as you sit there thinking you are sooo much better than me with your freaking happy kids. BITE ME.)

I smile.

Cohen dissembles the metal hanger
and somehow shapes it into a fishing hook
and now Cohen is fishing for sharks (flip flops)
over the edge of the chair with Kadence.

I smile.

(In my head I think if we don't get out of here soon someone will lose an eye!)

At one point I was singing arms out. elbows in. feet apart. knees together.
to te ta to te ta to te ta ta...


3.5 hours later.


No yelling. No crying. Complete gold star.

{whew! Was I just really that mom. The one that appears to have it pulled together. The one that keeps herself in check?! Did I really just do that?! No threats?! Was that really me?  Did I really just do that? nice.}

It is now 3pm and we have been sitting in there since 11:30!

Mom thinks she has it pulled together but just wait I have some great ideas for later!

We go across the sidewalk to grab lunch and Kadence has to go the bathroom.

No problem I say Smiling.
You were such a big girl today,
I say!
(thinking OMG Just sit down and eat I AM hungry. shessh)

She proceeds to not get her pants down far enough and
pees all down the back of her jeans and ripped Dora panties.

I smile.
I say uh oh.
(Inside I say WTF really?! What the hell am I suppose to do with this? We have no spare clothes. We just paid $20 for a glorified sandwich and you have piss down your pants. This is good. great really.)

We toss the ripped Dora panties in the trash (like we needed those anyways right!?)

Put the potty jeans back on, Tie her coat around her waste. Dump the over priced sandwiches in the trash. Head over to Old Navy.

Slap on new purple ladybug tinteewear
(that would be kadence pronunciation of I believe Pantie-wear)
and some new capri pants.

smile and forge on.

Run to Shopko for the promised hot wheel car for doing a great job! Ask 7 times does anyone need to go potty? Anyone? No? Are you sure? Okay!

Get in the tahoe. Buckle everyone in and get ready to pull out onto 27th and......
kadence declares
"I have to potty."
"Weally bad"

Weally I say!? 


Come on define the moment?!

Next gas station coming right up! (Additional thoughts are censored at this point)

We get home and Cohen says Mom we should spend the day together every day wouldn't that be fun.

....and that makes it completely worth it.

Gold Star.

This time.

and we will NEVER set foot in Portrait innovations again for the record!

Monday, May 9, 2011


There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort. ~Jane Austen

Mother's day

Its one of those "holidays" that well just aren't holidays.
The kind where I don't really know what I expect to happen
but it doesn't seem to happen,
whatever it is
because I don't really know.
{see that's the problem with holidays like Mother's Day}

So with that out in the open.
Mother's Day was good in the down home kind of way.

It started with a little bit of this:

Which was all sugar baby.

Then it progressed into sweeping, mopping and
heck why I was at it,
 why not make the transition from Winter to Summer in both kids' closets!
{so not sugar! That project just down right sucks!}
So i was starting to ponder who the heck invented a holiday for mom's

I mean really?! It sure wasn't a mom!
By Lunch everyone was ready to get outside and burn some energy
at which point I was honestly thinking "how about a nap?!?!"

I know it is a bit cliche but the day transformed into one of those, some day we're gonna miss this days.

Simple Days

Where all you need is a little bit of sunshine and an imagination.

Days when you can smell summer in the air and everything around you feels alive

Days where you dive into an impromptu project
{and surprise yourself with how much you enjoy
swinging a sledge hammer! I gave that thing a good whack myself and I did rather enjoy it!}
Mark took the kids Saturday to purchase my Mother's Day gift
and they came home with a pink (that was Kadence's contribution) rose bush,
so we even managed to get that planted
{now just hoping I can keep it alive!}

I still don't know what I was expecting,
but maybe that's the beauty.
this was good.

This was home.

and home is good.

Home is the one place in all this world where hearts are sure of each other.
It is the place of confidence.
It is the place where we tear off that mask of guarded and suspicious coldness
which the world forces us to wear in self-defense,
and where we pour out the unreserved communications of full and confiding hearts.
It is the spot where expressions of tenderness gush out without any sensation of awkwardness
and without any dread of ridicule. ~Frederick W. Robertson

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Pondering time.

Many of us believe that wrongs aren't wrong if it's done by nice people like ourselves. ~Author Unknown

Something to think about this week.

That's all.


Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Revival

It's spring fever. That is what the name of it is.
And when you've got it, you want - oh, you don't quite know what it is you do want,
but it just fairly makes your heart ache,
you want it so! ~Mark Twain

Today we completed our 4th year's attempt at a mission to

We Ran

We rang and rang door bell after door bell

 and oh did we hide! (no kisses for us this year!)

 Oh yes we love May day!
We even spread our love for May day over to Carynn
and collaborated with her and Leah to make a few stops outside RC this year!

This is my favorite part the sneaky anticipation of ringing the door bell...

 ..and then the peeking to see if they open the door!

The sneak...

The peek....

 over and over.

It was slap a sign good!

 It really doesn't get any better.

haven't tried it?

Maybe you should!
Just sayin'