Sunday, December 23, 2012


Merry Christmas!

The Holiday season has flown by at a record setting pace this year.

As I sit here tonight, the house is quiet, just the Christmas tree lights glowing in the room, I am a bit saddened that tomorrow is Christmas Eve already.

I recently said I needed to find or create a little more Christmas "magic" around here!

Tuesday nights we stay late in Columbus, so last week I decided
 a "simple"...Christmas Magic Plan
for an ordinary Tuesday night.
We go to dance.
We go to Taekwondo....and the plan:
Hit a drive thru and then drive around, eating our take out,
taking in the Christmas lights,
Christmas music playing...
Yet "magical"

Only it ended up more like this:
Go to dance.
Go to Taekwondo
Leave Taekwondo.
Cop Cruiser parked behind the Tahoe.......20 minutes later (6:40pm) Cop leaves with a very intoxicated gentlemen in tow.  (That's 20 minutes of questions about why this "nice" man keeps falling over, wobbling, slurring, etc)
Think to self: It's okay we can still salvage this. There is STILL time for Magic.
.......Realize while sitting in the tahoe for 20 minutes, fielding questions about an intoxicated man, that the scholastic books you ordered ahead of time to avoid last minute shopping, did not come in and ta daaa, Kadence's preschool party is the next day, for which you needed said books.
Think to is FINE. It is F I  N E....we will jump over to Walgreens, grab a book and back to Christmas "magic." 
Go to Walgreens.
Get in the car kids.
Go to Walmart (7:00pm)
Get damn book
Leave Walmart (7:30pm)
Get to Arbys for supper (7:40 pm)
Kadence cries because she wants to go inside for ketchup.
Give up.
Eat in Arbys.
Head for home (8:10pm)
Not so much,

Attempt for "magic" Round two.

Friday Plan:
Leave work and pick up stocking stuffers and groceries, as it is the last chance to go to the store on my own since Mark would be working nights all weekend.  Once I had the last of the Santa items, grab Kadence from daycare and head home and have a candle light supper with the kids. Complete with wine glasses and sparkling juice. 

Which actually went more like this:
Leave work.
Where are my keys?
Well, of course, they are in the ignition,
with the doors locked.
Call Mark at home
He still needs to clean up and get ready for work but could be over in an hour or so to unlock the tahoe.
Thank him for bailing me out without a condescending comment.
Realize he will get to Columbus after 5.
With daycare closing that means.....well however will one get the stocking stuffers with Kadence in tow ?  SIGH
"Beg" or plead with Aunt Linda and Elli to pick up Kadence and watch her for a last minute trip to Walmart for stocking stuffers and decide that the kids and I can come back Saturday for groceries.
Walmart equals hell.  Oh my stars the people.
Leave Walmart at 6:15.
Realize there will be no candle light "magic" supper.
Pick up Kadence.
Decide to just get groceries and be done.
Get home 8:45.

Feel Defeated.
Wonder to self...........
what happened to the Holidays this year?!

Insert a few days at home:

..........and the magic is brewing.

I think we all just needed some down time (and heck maybe the snow!)

It is never going to be perfect.....
but there is always a way to find some magic of your own,
although it just may take a few tries! (*insert smile)
We finally pulled off our "candle light" supper Saturday  night....
couldn't find the fire starter, hence no candles...
and you can't see it but half the string of lights is dead.
And you know what...

Find your Magic....the season is upon us.
The season of giving to others...
of time with family...
of beliefs in people and things we can't see but find in our hearts....
It is wonderful...
and yes, truly Magical.
If you just Believe.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

"Black" Friday

Black Friday:

....................last year. 
We neglected pictures this year.  Drama and 32 weeks pregnant could have been factors!

Here is an excerpt from the Omaha World Herold regarding black Friday in Omaha:

About 1 a.m. Friday, two men got into a fight at Westroads and knocked over some signs, Omaha police said. The noise prompted the shots-fired rumor. Officers arrested a 22-year-old man on suspicion of disorderly conduct.
About 2:40 a.m. at Oak View, a 21-year-old woman suspected of shoplifting sprayed pepper spray into the faces of two security guards and a store employee in a loud disturbance that resulted in her arrest, police said.
The trouble disturbed few shoppers.
Here is how "the trouble disturbed few shoppers" looked like from our perspective!
Shortly after 1 I get a phone call: Jen where you shopping? 
Me: Yonkers
Which mall?
Me: Kim we're at Oakview right? Oakview. Why?
There was maybe a shooting at Westroads.
Fast forward an hour or so and we are still at oakview  checking out at bath and body works and I hear this loud rumbling noise...and I make eye contact with Kim like hmmmm. We both shrug our shoulders and self talk like it's nothing.
Well it just gets louder like elephants and while she hands the lady money I turn around and see out in the mall and people are RUNNING, like sprinting out of the mall, hence the rumbling sound, it was tons of people running out of the mall......
We make eye contact with the sales associate who immediately says follow me and we head back to their storage room. The associates continue to file all customers into the storage room, as I am pondering where is the best corner to stand in a storage room if a shooter enters. Will I remember to play dead? Holy Crap. Is this happening?!
Both Kim and I try calling Linda because we know she is in the mall but there is no reception in the back storage room.
I just kept thinking...........yes yes please more people cram in please so I am further back...hidden.
I am sure it didn't last long. 5 minutes or so. Maybe longer. Maybe shorter.
Ends up it wasn't a shooting. Some lady shoplifted and then maced the security guard who tried to stop her and he tazed her causing a commotion hence a noise others may have thought were gunshots and the herd of running. 
We knew Linda was in the mall too so once they opened the door to let us back out she called right away. She said they were up by the escalator and a guy with a pistol in his hand at his hip grabbed her side and said ....get out of the mall there is going to be a shooting. (Yes a Man with a gun!)She said she was running down the escalator probably while we were in the storage room and couldn't see anything but apparently they closed all the gates on the store fronts so like if you were out in the hall you were just out.  Although I do remember asking there a lock on the store room?!  Someone better lock the store room!  
*Linda saw this guy shortly after and they are thinking he was a undercover cop maybe
When they let us out. We walked straight out of the mall and straight out to the car and just sat there. I think it took an hour for my heart rate to come to normal.
I am not sure Kim's bladder ever recovered! *smile!* Sorry Kimmy!
so the whole "shoppers were not disturbed"
 isn't really all that accurate from, oh a shoppers point of view!
Sad what is reality now.
Probably 5 years ago...maybe less...
if there was a fight,
a brawl
a cop that tazes a shoplifter
we would have all tried to get a little closer
try to see what is happening!
Let's watch the fight, from a short safe distance of course!
Not anymore.
Not in today's society.
The reality that things can go horribly wrong is so real to people today.
I just realized this weekend how sad our reality is now.
Definitely a black Friday that will go down in the books.
32 weeks pregnant.
Up 24 hours.
First shooting scare.
....and yet my Christmas shopping is almost done!
The silver lining!
*the kids are hilarious this year.
They wrapped presents yesterday all by themselves and it was too cute.
Kadence told Mark
"Dad, we did NOT buy you a TV. It's nothing."
I cannot wait to take them each shopping alone next weekend
and watch them pick out the perfect present for each other!
Just a reality, I would like to establish in them,
to take root in who they are....
the joy in giving to others!
Balancing society's reality
with the gift of living....
a new parenting role in our world today.
Game on.
Society: 1
Jen: 1
Bring on next weekend!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The eye of the storm

Life is a whirlwind.
This much is true.

Sometimes I am feel like I am clinging on for dear life
being whipping around, out of control.

Then it comes.
The calm.

Seeing the beauty of the chaos around you....
The eye of the storm.

Sometimes I find myself stuck
 in that trap,
wishing for a quiet,
 "put together", life.
*whatever that is*
but I think I am slowly coming to realize,
many things,
which add up to the fact that it is time
to stop wishing
and keep remembering
the wonder,
the beauty, 
that exists in the whirlwind life in front of me.

Life is crazy beautiful. Right?
Sometimes more one over the other but both parts necessary
*crazy & beautiful*
There is always something to be thankful for and I am sure I could make you a top ten list tonight
of the things that I and many others are thankful for today and every day.... but I am not sure that it should matter or would matter to anyone else....things like....
I do have 2 healthy beautiful children and I am beyond thankful for them
(and yet there are days I need time away)
I have a great husband, who thankfully balances out my tendencies to over react/add too much emotion, with calm and reason 
(and yet there are days.....)
Yes I have a list.
But right now I just share this:
I am thankful that my life has allowed me to be realistic....
To understand that I can be thankful....
AND yet not perfect.
The eye of the storm.....*if you will*
Trying to find and see the beauty of the chaos around me.
*most of the time*
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow. ~Melody Beattie

Sunday, September 30, 2012

My (our) love affair continues!

Have I mentioned my love affair?
You know the one right?
My love affair with PVC pipe?
That's the one!
I know right where it is in Menard's
and so do the kids.
I can work the bins with the connector things as good as any plumber.
Just sayin'!

Thanks to my sister Linda for the idea, our new PVC pipe project has taken shape
just in time.  
 We can pack away the car wash...
and put up  the goal posts!!
Bring it on!

100% Trust in her big brother.

 PVC Pipe.....
I love you!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Oh Baby!

Oh Baby!
We crossed the half way mark a few weeks ago. Time goes so quickly any more.
This time of year is always the quickest with the upcoming holidays moving in,
which means this baby will be here before we know it.
Anytime you make the decision to add another life to this world
it comes with hope and yet uncertainties.
It has been funny to hear Cohen and Kadence make their predictions on boy or girl.
Kadence is certain it is a girl and swings from naming her Princess Sally or Macy.
I see the love in Cohen and I can hardly wait to see his love for a new baby.
I like to think that over the last 7 years since Cohen was born I have grown,
learned, matured, changed and I am curious how those changes and growth will impact
my parenting with a new baby. How will this experience look different? Hopefully better?
Yet this time there will be two other children who need love and attention and time.
Sweet precious and sparse time.
Hence the uncertainties....
No matter how old my kids are getting they still need my time. They need me.
Striking a new balance, adding a baby, being present when each of them need, there is no
way to prepare for that. 
 Just hope. 
Hope that when the times come I'll have what it takes
to give them each what they need.
Just blind hope.
Hope that the doubts, fears, and unresolved "how will we ever be able to's..." will slowly unravel and a new calm and confidence settles in their place.
Pregnancy is a process that invites you to surrender to the unseen force behind all life. ~Judy Ford

Monday, August 27, 2012

small choices...big impact

"Our job is to prepare our kids for a life beyond us." What an empowering task." Kelle Hampton

Is it the time of year?
Is there a full moon?
A shift of seasons perhaps?

A reoccurring theme keeps coming up in conversations, with coworkers, friends, family, well
seems to be about everyone, whether it's about the first day of kindergarten or dropping your first born off at college......over and over I hear (or I say)
What did I do wrong? 
I don't know what to do.
Did I do enough?
What else can/should I do?
Surely I can do more....

Parenting.......well since it is mostly moms that I run into.....being a mom.
It is rewarding yes,
but no reward comes without effort
and by all means being a mom takes effort...all hands on deck 24 hours a day.

It just so happens that one of by favorite blogs posted similar thoughts today...

"Self reflection is so very much a part of these motherhood moments. I have thought about why this is so hard, what I could have done to make it better. We chose not to do daycare or preschool for Lainey, and I don't regret that decision at all, even though it may have made this transition a little easier. I wonder what things we can do to help smooth out these first few weeks. The thing is, there are a hundred billion ways to raise a child--to nourish them, to teach them to think on their own, to instill confidence, to show them kindness, to challenge them to be respectful, to educate them, to show them the world. And when you choose a way to do these things--a way that fits and feels good for your family and your child--I think it's only natural to wonder if maybe one of the 99,999,999,999 other ways might have worked better."

That last comment got me because even when things are going "good". When things seem to be working..I am always left wondering if one of the 99,999,999,999  ways would have been better.

On one level I know that we are making small decisions every day and that not every "small" decision requires hours of self reflection (and hours on google) but then at the same time I can't help but wonder the impact of all those little decisions over the years and when the times comes will I have laid a foundation for my kids that allows them to step out on their own, define their happiness and create their own lives?  Will they have the skills they need to take on this big ole world with its ups and downs and twists and turns?  Will they be able to separate and prioritize what really matters in life?  It seems a daunting task.

There are days that I am confident that we are brick by brick laying that foundation
and then
there are the other days.......
full of self reflection and well honestly....doubt. 
Days that leaving you pondering those 99,999,999,999 other ways.....

Last week was a pondering week for me and then on the same day I picked up kadence from daycare
there was note:

.......and when I read my emails later that night a note from Cohen's teacher:
 " * He is so helpful at school---holding the door open etc."

"Small" decisions made by "small" children.........
and maybe to some, just "small"notes but not to this mama.
These were Big
These small notes said to this mama, that maybe, just maybe,
along the way some bigger "bricks" of that
foundation are forming...that maybe
just maybe the combination of 26,747,341 and 87,561,292 of the 99,999,999,999 ways
to parent a child, worked in our favor.
Stealing the words of a friend....
Growing up is hard to do...
and I'm not talking about my kids.
.....with all the focus on academic performance I fear we sometimes lose sight of
shaping the "small" notes about the person my child is growing into
are invaluable to me.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

How does one teach that?

The men who try to do something and fail are infinitely better
than those who try to do nothing and succeed. ~Lloyd Jones

A new school year starts tomorrow,
which makes Cohen a 2nd grader and
puts Kadence into Pre-K.

I have been reflecting on this beginning for a few weeks now or maybe...
perhaps since the last day of school.

A year older.
A year that will bring new opportunities.
Growth and learning.
Inevitably the year will also bring new challenges
Obstacles to overcome.

A year that will have its share of successes and I'm sure
its fair share of failures. Most of my contemplation lies here......

How do you teach your children the real lessons of growing up?
How do you teach them that it isn't really about succeeding or failing,
but about the effort that goes into it? 
How do you teach them that when society's clear message is you either succeed or fail?
Meet society's standards or else...
When you want more than anything for your child to "succeed"
and when it hurts more than anything to watch them "fail."

How do you teach them that failing is only a failure when you choose not to learn from it?
When society says succeed at all costs.
...and when the definition of success today is completely distorted.

In real life sometimes we win sometimes we lose.
Sometimes we succeed and sometimes we fail miserably but ultimately a successful person is someone who is willing to try,
so many times in life the fear of failure keeps us from trying.

I want to teach them to try.
To put fear of failure aside and try.

In the end not letting society drive what they should do,
but creating their own definition of success for their lives.

How does one teach that?

change is in the air

To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly. ~Henri Bergson

Change is in the air.....figuratively and literally.

This morning when we woke up there was a crispness in the air, that smelled of fall, and required you to pull your covers up just a little tighter.
I must admit.
I Love it.

The first day of school is just hours away really,
which is exciting for both kids and full of change for all of us
as we adjust to new schedules and new expectations.

There is always a tinge of sadness with new transitions
but it does not take long for the excitement that comes along
with change to win us over.

We took advantage of the day to say good bye to "summer" or
 perhaps to say hello to "fall" by making an impromptu trip to
the zoo after getting the devastating call that the first soccer game of the year was

I am not sure I have counted to 5 so many times in one day before!

I smell of fall in the air this morning had me dreaming of...
candy corn and peanuts,
oversized sweat shirts
and crunchy leaves (instead of our current crunchy grass).

Does the smell of fall conjure up any excitement for you?

Lately I've been pondering my ole bucket list and have officially added:
Be Like My Aunt Carolee when I turn 80
to the list.
*these aren't photo shopped...she posed for them to help create a card!
If I recall her Christmas card this year
was of her riding a camel at the state fair! * smile

She has the fun spirit of a 20 something mixed with the wisdom and grace of someone who has
lived, learned, and loved for 80 years, what a great mix.

Big week next week.
B-I-G Week!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

rhythm & harmony

We cannot be happy if we expect to live all the time at the highest peak of intensity. Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance and order and rhythm and harmony. ~Thomas Merton, 1955

This quote caught my attention and was a dire reminder that
is a process.

One would never understand the value and glory of happiness
if one never experienced, loss, hurt, pain.

So although we, or I, strive for the ever elusive
always happy life,
it is good to stop sometimes during the madness,
the chaos,
the tears,
to remember that this time is an intricate part of a happy life.

It seems that when life "has you down"
is when I tend to dream up
some of my best hopes and dreams.

Does that make sense?

I mean, when you are happy, you are satisfied with how things are.
You aren't pushing forward you are thinking..."wow if life just stayed like this forever that would be great."
I have decided that we have to come down off of the high on life ledge
to swirl around for awhile before we push ourselves onto even
grander things.

Maybe I am just mentally trying to prepare myself for the craziness that lies ahead in our lives.
I am not exactly sure.
I am sure though,that it will be a chaotic process striking a new balance. (as usual)

.....hmmm plenty of time to ponder on that subject
moving on.

Maybe we should ponder baby names instead?
Or perhaps on my 7 year old boy who sounds like a 35 year old husband, when he stated (while school shopping)"we have everything we need. Now you are just wasting time. Let's go home."


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Say Cheese

Yes it is official the Calahan's are adding to the crazy........

Some of you know this news and as recently questioned by others, some may not.

So it is now posted for my "non facebook" friends *smile*

If I had more time right now I could really post some thoughts!

*Sigh* time where do you go every day!?

Saturday, June 30, 2012

stopping the madness

The last two days I finally got the reminder my life was beggin for.....
It's the little things....remember?!

Life has been such a whirlwind the last month or so!

It is so easy for life to take over and lead you,
instead of you leading your life.

It is so easy to expend all my energy on the "bigger" issues
that when it comes time to give my energy to the "little" things
I have nothing left.

Thus the gentle reminder life sent for me this weekend.
Slow down.
Give your energy to the little things,
the "big" things can and always will wait.

Talking with a friend today about the "er" syndrome got me thinking...
We, or at least I, spend too much time
wishing, ploting, striving, thinking, working toward
being faster, better, smarter, skinnier, richer, wishing for bigger, better, newer...
and the list goes on.

Sometimes you have to stop the madness

and find the beauty in what you have and who you are.

We made a "new" sprinkler this summer

and I must admit

we Love it!

PVC pipe where have you been all my life?!

I am seriously considering getting my own pair of PVC pipe cutors,
did you know they have those?


Stop the madness.

You hear me.

Stop the "er" ing in your life

and find the beauty in what you have

and who you are.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Deposit please

This weekend was a delicate dance between the usual

and the extraordinary.

Time was spent sleeping in,
Exploring outside,

hanging out.

The sun was shining so we seized the opportunity to call over some friends and
dust off the car wash from last year.

It is during these moments that childhood memories are built.

Maybe not memories of the specifics, who was there, what we ate, what days it was,
but more innate memories of the sun shining, the smell of the water
and the grass, that someday in the future when my kids are
all grown and they step outside on a late spring day and the
sun is shining and they catch the smell of grass in the breeze and
a smile drifts across their face as those innate memories
take over of unbridled happiness.

It only seemed fitting to toss in a balloon fight to kick off

Although I am not sure who was more into it the "big people" or the "little people"

I was experiencing a little but of holiday blues (aka it's a holiday we need plans!Stay home! Gasp!) So on a whim today we drove to the river and just let the kids frolic

It was a bit of an adventure for all of us,

but it panned out to be a good time

for all of us

(well maybe most of us:
joy doesn't just happen you have to decide to find it Mark! )

No it was not an exotic location.

No it was not expensive.

No it was not perfect.

Nothing ever is or will be....

but I don't want to choose those moments to define me

or us

They saw this as an adventure
They saw this as exotic.
They experienced this with joy and happiness
and those are the moments I want to define us.
 I like to think we made a deposit in their childhood memory bank

and that.........

that will allow me to drift off to sleep tonight

with a sense of a parenting job well done.