Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Blank canvas

Although some days and even weeks can last forever,
A year goes by so quickly.

It was nice to reflect back on how much happens and changes 
when you are living day by day.

We had our "candle light" (aka Christmas light) supper
 last night, complete with sparkling grape juice in 
fancy glasses that actually "clink" when you
We toasted to many things last night
some silly 
( "my hope for next year is I can be a princess"~Kadence Calahan age 5)
some serious
("to less cleaning & more playing" ~Jen Calahan age 35)
all wonderful.

Our 2014 blank canvas awaits....

Happy New Year!

one year. one song. our life. 

We will open the book.  Its pages are blank.  We are going to put words on them ourselves.  The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day.  ~Edith Lovejoy Pierce

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas magic with some help from above....


I previously posted about the "questions" and that maybe this was our last year of believing and how I wasn't ready for the magic to end........

I got this message from a friend and it was well written and helped me remember where the real magic comes from and that inevitably made me feel better because she's right!

here's my two cents: don't worry about the "magic." I don't think our kids will remember Santa Clause visits, etc. when they grow up (to be honest, I don't). But they'll remember how you made Christmas special . . . by letting Cohen put up lights outside, by you having your annual traditions (don't you buy pajamas for the kids each year for Christmas Eve?), baking cookies, going to Grandma and Grandpa's house and whatever is special about that gathering (food, card game, etc.). I think Christmas magic is created all on its own without forcing it. And I think that's more magical than believing in a guy with a beard.

That being said.

oh baby we had magic!

Christmas Eve we left around 2 for Church and family festivities...

We got home around 9:30 that night and Santa came while we were gone! 
(the ole I forgot the food for the party, I'll be right out gig, Mark was skeptical. Getting home late, Tired kids. Getting them to bed. etc etc. a million valid reasons why it was not a good idea...When we were leaving the party with tired crabby kids I was starting to get worried that this was headed toward "train wreck" status.)


It was...

hands down.

the best Christmas ever.

You know I don't believe in coincidences cause I say it all the time but once again, it all comes together!

For instance: On Black Friday I bought each kid a movie. For Kadence was I was torn between two (one she'd never seen, The Croods and "The toothfairy" which she has seen) for some reason I went with The Toothfairy movie and was lately second guessing myself. I mean how exciting is it to get a movie you've already seen??Thursday, last week, Kadence all of sudden has her first loose tooth and it was a HUGE deal to her (aka : MOM EVERYONE IS GOING TO LOVE ME AT SCHOOL TODAY WHEN I TELL THEM) yup huge deal. She lost her very first tooth, Sunday Night at the end of a family Christmas party and she was so excited, so when SANTA gave her the Toothfairy movie only a day and half later it was awesome! (MOM! SANTA heard I lost my tooth and he sent me the Toothfairy movie! WOW wow wow)

At one point Cohen laid down and said 
"I Can't take anymore. This is awesome." 
"I can't do it. I can't open it. I can't take it. No way."

I will spare you any more mom loving details about the: "This is just what I wanted" "No way" "Wow" "Are you kidding me ?!" moments......

It absolutely could not have been any more magical.

I don't know your beliefs.

By no means do you need to accept mine.

Some people say that white orbs in pictures are spirits, ghosts, of loved ones.....

What are orbs? Chances are, you've probably seen them before--they are the curious translucent or solid circles (usually white) that appear unexpectedly in your photos. Orbs may appear in different sizes, as a single spot or as a multitude of spots grouped together.
Some people believe that orbs are more than dust particles or drops of moisture on the lens--they are proof of guardian angels, captured on camera.  When these "spirit orbs" or "angel orbs" appear near a single person or a group of people in a photo, it's a sign that they are blessed with the goodness, positive energy, and protection of angels.  When orbs appear in a particular location, it's also a sign that angels are hovering nearby and the location is particularly blessed.

Some people say it is just dust particles captured at just the right moment by the flash of your camera.

IF you go back up and look,
In many of my pictures from our night.
They are present.

I don't know about you, 


I know where I stand.


Sometimes you just have to believe.

*Now I need to go to bed....because tomorrow I have a feeling its back to reality.
Runny noses.
tired kids.
maybe a few laughs.
perhaps an emergent trip to the dentist
ya know.


Monday, December 16, 2013

If you just believe....

'We were dreamers, 
Not so long ago. 
But one by one, we 
All had to grow up." 

~ Believe: Polar Express

This might be it.

Kids are talking.

There have been questions.....

I listened.

I nodded.

I 'hmmm" and "huhed"  with the best of them.

He convinced himself, through his own logics, that indeed there must be a santa clause.

I must admit this is a milestone I hadn't put much thought into 
and one that indeed was a bit of a sucker punch.

I'm not ready.....

for the 





It's such a short window between when they really start "Getting it" and when they just plain "get it." 

He's so in love with Christmas. He single handedly put up 3/4 of our Christmas lights this year himself and when I got home tonight.....yet more lights!  Sure when you drive by you might notice the loops aren't even....but if you could see the pride in his eyes...well its no match for uneven Christmas lights.
There are these little parenting moments that are not captured in parenting books...like the moment you realize you can't carry your sleeping child in from the car anymore. They just happen....well this is one of those silent milestones. (yes I've seen the letters on pinterest and might I use the concept sure but that's not 100% of what I'm trying to capture) It's not just Santa. Its...

a chapter closed in childhood.

The ability to blindly believe in more than we can see.  

That's the magic.

and now......

Now I have teach him to believe.
That's harder.
(Magical in its own way...sure)
only harder.

(in others, yourself, in dreams, in the greater good)

well it becomes a choice,
and not an innate ability....

Do you see the difference?

So I feel this self imposed...

pressing need...

to make this Christmas more magical.

This is it.

My last chance.......
at pure

*Magic advice welcome.


Sunday, November 17, 2013

tilting the scales...somehow. someway.

Here's the deal.

The holidays are coming.

It's time to shut down this chaos train we're riding on and take it all in. 

I can't exactly say how or when but the scale has been tipped in the wrong direction for much too long now. 

What matters most has not been on the 1st line of my to-do list.

Something I am sure of is: 
It is a choice.

It is time.

Time to choose.




Twinkly lights.......
*yes twinkly lights!!

I can hardly wait...its like Christmas.  ( Hello?! because it IS almost Christmas!!)

The other thing I am sure of is it seems impossible to strike a balance, 
so I'm going to tilt the scales a little more towards home....



I am.

The possibilities are endless my friend...

make the choice.

Addendum:  I feel like I should add this:
I work with some pretty down right amazing families AND coworkers...and my time there is far from "wasted" the families and coworkers I have been blessed to work along side have greatly shaped not only who I am as a person, but who I want to be as a mom. I am so lucky to serve in the position I am in because it has been one of the greatest gifts I have been given!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

white flag

What if you can't give 100%?
That was the question posed in the last 5 secs of Grey's Anatomy.
Funny enough that's the question I've been posing to myself the last couple weeks.

I feel like nothing gets 100%.
Everything *family*kids*house*work*myself*  everything gets a little but nothing gets everything. Thus everything is missing something and nothing feels successful, and that leaves everything needing something. 
I feel like my life has been swallowed by one giant "to do" list.

I'm aware that most people have just as much on their plates, perhaps more, perhaps less, but busy all the same.
Then it just boils down to you, as an individual, managing day to day life.
Coping strategies.

I am currently putting mine into question (both managing techniques and coping strategies).
I am analyzing you.
You appear to have it "together"
You appear to manage.
I'm watching.
What can you teach  me about managing? Coping? Not just surviving but thriving?
Perhaps you can teach me?

.....or perhaps I can tell you.....
sometimes you have to wave the white flag.
Surrender to the fact that you can't give everything 100%.

What happens when you can't give 100%?

You go back to the "beginning."
You wave the white flag.
....and begin again.

At fifteen life had taught me undeniably that surrender, in its place, was as honorable as resistance, especially if one had no choice.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

One foot in front of the other

*If I could figure out how to play
in the background I would!

In a world full of people who couldn't care less, be someone who couldn't care more.  ~Author Unknown

Its been brewing. A bit like the weather tonight
The to do list continues to grow longer.
Time gets shorter.
Stress levels rise higher.
Inevitably as stress levels rise, everything on the to do list feels more and more like an emergency
and you hang on the best you can. 

I've been living it, watching it, all brewing, swirling, knowing it was creating the perfect storm.

Work is piling up.

Benson has decided that sleeping through the night is over rated
*even though he's done it since he was 2 months old

The demands of working full time and running a house hold with three children is, 
well lets be honest not always a cake walk. 

Schools back in session.
*Which means in about 2 hours 15 min we need to say hello, talk about our day, cook supper, eat supper, do homework , practice spelling words, take baths, read for at least 15 mins and do bedtime and frankly that's an exhausting pace.   AND to risk being totally honest a pace that apparently I haven't been managing well, which was evidenced by a homework paper, that I signed off on, that came back with a 68 on it! There's a parenting win for ya. If you need to pat yourself on the back and need a reason...there ya go!

Kadence has an ear infection that seems to have set up camp for awhile.

I single handedly lost my camera.
*Wish I could blame someone for that

and the list goes on and on....

You know the moment in your own life,
When you know its all coming to a head
As you're clinging on for dear life. 
yes that's the one.....
that's where I am.

I may or may not have promised this wouldn't make it on line..I can't remember..Its vague. ;)
After about a 3 day span of dissecting my life
my parenting skills and/or fails,
full of what ifs and maybes...
Under stress...
Doubt always has to  creep in.
Questioning decisions...
*a few friends may have blocked my number by now! ~smile

The afternoon was  filled with doubt
added to a
Mounting To do list....

Things were getting ugly.

I had told the kids we could go watch Elli's volleyball game tonight
(Cause when your feeling overwhelmed you should always add extra curricular activities to the schedule. Right? Seems legit.....eye roll at myself)

I held it together.
I was feeling like we would manage.

Kadence was finishing her homework on the drive to Columbus
Cohen and I were practicing his spelling words, while driving.
no moment goes wasted around here.
There isn't time. 
There was whining.
Empty promises of "I'll do it later I swear."
Second guessing  this "great idea"
I head into Arbys with three kids.
Cohen carrying his reading homework
Kadence carrying a marker 
(you never know when you may need a random marker lets be serious here)
Me Carrying a car seat,
Diaper bag, and purse both swung over the shoulder.
We got this.
self talk.

A nice looking standard farmer type couple maybe in their 60's were ordering ahead of us.
We discuss what everyone wants so we are ready when it's our turn.
we order.
Someone inevitably changes their  mind.
*SIGH heavily
The lady says "It will be $13. 57"
I go to hand her my check card
and I hear....
"I got it for her"
I turn to my right and standing there is the man who ordered before us...
he came back up and paid for our supper.
He said 
"I want to get this. Enjoy your evening."
I cried.

Like instantly.

Like the building, piling, swirling, stress exploded...

and I was blubbering mess

 standing in Arbys with three kids and some mozzarella sticks.

I said back to him
thorough a haze of tears and sniffing

"it's been a bad day and you're like a life raft. I'm not sure thank you does this justice"

And before me stands this 60 year old farmer guy 
tearing up.
Not saying another word.

I'm a crying disaster. 

The Arbys order taking lady is now crying...

It was surreal


It was hope.

I have said time and time again.
I do not believe in coincidences.
Everything happens for a reason,
if you're willing to listen. 
On the drive over to Columbus
 in the middle of the whining and empty promises 
and spelling words and homework and practice phonogram sounds
 I was analyzing decisions made today and probably some impending decisions that will be coming and questioning myself and everything else (like I said we multitask around here..no moment wasted)
I have a tendency to over analyze.

And then this man.

This small random act of kindness...

No, this was no coincidence...

this was hope.

This was just what I needed,

Right when I needed it,


Hope is putting faith to work when doubting would be easier.  ~Author Unknown

and with hope comes the knowledge that...

it's going to be ok.






Maybe not easy. Maybe not the way I pictured it,
but ok.
I'll take it.

"How beautiful a day can be when kindness touches it!" ~george elliston

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The best {and worst} moments all wrapped up in one adventure

The kids and I made a poster board size school count down.
The poster is divided in half.
One side is the actual countdown
The other side is a small list each kid made of things we want to do before school starts.

I snuck one on the list: Secret bike ride.

About 9:30 last night I told the kids lets go outside.
They both stared at me with their mouths open cause we still go to bed, most the time, by 9, even in the summer since they still have to get up and go in the morning. 

I broke out some glow sticks and told the kids 
"Lets do a nighttime GLOW bike ride"
Oh man were they excited!

You know how sometimes you plan something that you think will be "So fun!"
and it's an epic fail....

The kids cry.
Someone doesn't want to.
There is whining.
Not this time!

It was a BIG HIT!




So I was all caught up in my "mom high" 
and decided that I would race Cohen down the circle drive.
I was pedaling my bike faster than I have rode a bike in like 25 years!
The glow sticks on the tires....just a blur...
Wind blowing the hair...
Houses whizzing by....
So close to beating Cohen.......
push harder...just a lil faster!
When for, I am not sure what reason,
I hit my hand brake.

Like the definition of stopping on a dime...hard. 

Resulted in the front tire stopping immediately,
the back tire leaving the ground 
me propelling over the top of my handle bars 
my body skidding to stop on the street...
"Road rash" on the palms,
skinned up bleeding knee,
huge swollen lump of a bruise on my thigh..


Mom high over.

Cohen came flying back and was quite concerned and offered to walk my bike back to the house.
*I got back on.*
Gotta get back on the horse that bucks ya off right!
Something like that!
Kadence brought me the spray we put on owies to keep them clean.
The spray that I promise doesn't hurt if you blow on it.
*I secretly hate and fear that stuff 
so I assured her that there was no dirt in my bleeding knee or palms* 

Lets just avoid the obvious question:
Why power brake when riding super fast?

So night time glow ride:
Proper safety gear advised!

When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race. ~HG Wells
~perhaps Mr. Wells has not seen me on a bicycle...just sayin

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

All hands on deck...summer bucket list revival time!

We come with beautiful secrets
We come with purposes written on our hearts, written on our souls.
We come to every new morning with possibilities only we can hold.
Redemption comes from strange places, small spaces
Calling out the best of who we are
I want to add to the beauty
To tell a better story........
*I do not know the author

I do not want my story to be:
get up...hustle bustle, work, pick up kids, hustle bustle, home, supper, hurry up play, bath, bed. Repeat.  
This is not the story I want.
This is not the "storybook childhood" that I want my kids to reminisce about some day.
When my kids are all grown I want something like the smell of fresh cut grass to take them back to a time and place of pure happiness, where memories come flooding back of "good times" traipsing  through a sprinkler in the front yard or of under doggies in the back yard.  I want them to be able to sit around after I am long gone and say "remember when...." which would then end in smiles and a lot of laughter!

So this is my story right.
This is my kids' story.
I am the author.
I am writing this story and I am going to try to add some new chapters again this summer.
We've been in survival mode thus far but it is time to shake things up a bit!
Change can be very hard, so I may not accomplish everything but change can also be invigorating....its go time baby!
You make me wanna roll my windows down and cruise...

1. Make smores over a camp fire.
2. Go jet skiing or at least get back on a tube behind a boat!
3. Trip to the zoo
4. Salt Dogs Game
5. Get to the pool once a week (That's setting the bar pretty high!)
6. "Jack-up" the swing set.
7. Throw a summer bash/bbq
8. Have spontaneous weekend get togethers (we did one! Whoop!)
9. Take the kids on a picnic (any good ideas on where?!)
10. Make homemade ice cream.
11.Find a summer dress that "works" (I may need back up on that one)
12. Surprise ambush water fight on the kids!

I feel compelled to maybe add or edit but I seem to lacking some mojo or something....
I need something with a lil more "bang"....
Maybe I need to start an adult bucket list and then a family bucket list!
If you read this you better leave a summer bucket list idea
I am so not above stealing someone else's idea!
*insert sly smile here*

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

'tis the season

I don't see myself as beautiful, because I can see a lot of flaws. People have really odd opinions. They tell me I'm skinny, as if that's supposed to make me happy.

It's that time of year.
You know the time...
the time when you are suppose to expose more of your mom body than any other time of the year.
Mother Nature was more than kind this year,
allowing me to wear cardigans and layers into June!
God Bless you Mother Nature!
Delaying the inevitable.
Tank tops.
Heck even t-shirts (no joke)!
Swim suits!
{collective moan}

Let's be honest its not like I ever had some rockin hot model body
but the three baby belly bulge...
lil not cool!

(Spare me the lectures on diet and exercise that's a whole other post! As well as the lectures on "you just had a baby give yourself time" Puh-lease! Tell that to the wet spandex clinging to my body! )

Any summer (not just this approaching one)
I have to gear up mentally.
A recent discussion got me back on the mental prep bandwagon!
I vowed after having Cohen that my kids would not miss out on summer fun
like swimming because of my insecurities.
When I think back to my childhood....
my parents were always the ones who got in the pool
and swam with us!
I can remember seeing other moms
just sitting on the side and thinking to myself
"how boring."
I vowed not to be that mom!

To this day....my parents still make the choice to
dive in
Moments captured at Leah's birthday party just last year!

Kudos to you mom and dad!
I am sure they could both make a long list of "valid" reasons why:
1. They don't swim
2. They do not do the diving board.

Instead they both continue to make the choice to say
I'm going to jump in!
Live this one crazy beautiful life I've been given.
Why not?!

Do you think someday when reminiscing my kids will care
what Grandma looked like in her swimsuit?
I highly doubt it!

I cannot ever once remember thinking...gee mom/dad should not wear that swimsuit, she/he should just sit on the side of the pool.

So that is where my mental summer prep begins...
when post belly bulge doubt creeps in
I say to myself...
will my kids remember the squishy tummy
under the suit
or the fact that you were the "the" mom that got in.

Sitting on the side in clothes that hide my insecurities,
hair and make up in tact...
that doesn't make memories.

In the happiest of our childhood memories, our parents were happy, too.  ~Robert Brault, www.robertbrault.com

Self talk
self talk
self talk

close your eyes and
....and jump in!

When in doubt, make a fool of yourself.  There is a microscopically thin line between being brilliantly creative and acting like the most gigantic idiot on earth.  So what the hell, leap.  ~Cynthia Heimel

Thursday, May 9, 2013


Parenting Confessional #7941
Goes a little like this:
I had to work late and Cohen had baseball practice so we rolled back into the house last night around 7:45, exactly 12 hours after walking out of it.
Mark is gone, making bedtime a one man game!
I say to the kids "get your pajamas on bedtime is coming quick
They cordially agree.
They request to watch a movie. I say it may be better to read books because there is not a lot of time as it is almost 8 by this point.
They convince me that after 10 minutes of a movie they will happily shut it off and go to bed.
They win.
Start the movie.
My observationWow they are sitting very quietly and nicely perhaps
I can still get Benson's bath in!
My Action Hey Cohen and Kadence, you are both sitting so nicely and quietly that I am going to let you watch your movie an extra 15 minutes while I give Benson a bath but when we come out it is time for bed. No whining about shutting it off ok? "ok" they agree!
Finish bath.
Shut off movie.
Tuck into bed.....goes like this:
Me: Ok tonight mommy was nice and let you watch a movie AND mommy let you watch your movie extra long AND let you stay up late since you were sitting so nicely, so what are you going to do for me tonight?
Kadence responds by laying down and pretending to snore and sleep and Cohen says go to sleep without messing around!  EXACTLY I agree.
Benson at this point is starting to voice his opinion that he is also tired and hungry.
Hugs and Kisses
Last reminder: What do we do at bedtime?
 Response: Lay down! No talking! Go to Sleep!  yes yes yes! Good response.
Make a bottle.
Sit down.
Attempt to put Benson to bed....
The whispering starts.......
Then the giggling........

Then a little louder talking.....
Is that jumping? Are they jumping from bed to bed?!
Benson has the eye fluttering almost asleep vibe going on...
Out comes one kid "mom can I have a drink?"
Out comes the next kid "mom I'm hungry."
Go to bed!
Out comes one kid "Mom I need to tell you something."
Out comes the next kid "mom I need to tell you something."
For the next 15 mins, said kid in my bed is saying over and over....
I need to tell you something. I need to tell you something. I need to tell you something. I need to tell you something., I need to tell you something. I need to tell you something. I need to tell you something. I need to tell you something. I need to tell you something. I need to tell you something. I need to tell you something...
Yup Benson is out,
finally gives into sleep
 which has eluded the poor thing since his cold and ear infection drama....
Out comes one kid......"mom I'm cold."
by the look on my face said kids goes scurrying back to the bedroom
I lay Benson down.
Go in the bedroom. Grab said kid's arm. "Help" her into bed....Cover her up....saying something close to this: THIS IS RIDICULOUS! OF COURSE YOU'RE COLD YOU ARE NOW WEARING A BIKINI AND YOU WERE LAYING ON THE FLOOR! GET IN BED NOW AND GO. TO. SLEEP. I AM SO MAD RIGHT NOW! RIDICULOUS! Rant rant Rant
Head to my room and continue the rant there.......
(***he's been begging to mow but it keeps raining so we had said maybe tomorrow***)
At this point it is dead silence.
or perhaps scared silence.....*just sayin
This is the moment when as a parent you turn around and walk out knowing that you completely overreacted to the situation and that it could have been handled much better but emotion got in the way...yeah that moment.  Sigh.
Shake my head at myself.
Promise to do better tomorrow....
I head over to Cohen's backpack to clean out his homework folder that comes home on Wednesdays and here it is :
Instant Tears!
Like I pulled this out less than 5 minutes from the over dramatic not so good parenting ranting!  *thanks God! You're one funny man sometimes!
Funny Funny man!
Then to make it worse I keep going....
only to pull out  this!


I got nothing!

I will do better......

I must....

...do better!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

May Day...Really?!

There’s just something about  May Day....
which we celebrated a day early with the predicted freezing temps and snow!
Nothing a little label slapped on the wrapping couldn't explain:
"Happy May Day!
We are celebrating a day early as the weather will have
us screaming MAY DAY tomorrow!"

Thanks to my sister Linda, we resurrected May Day about 5 years ago at our house.
I recall our first go around….Cohen more of a toddler than a boy…Kadence in the stroller. We were far from stealthy to say the least as there are only so many places to hide with a stroller and a toddler whose legs only run so fast!


Oh how times have changed!

We have stealth now.
Benson will be trained.
Game on.
Why love May Day?
The lack of hype for one!
Less hype brings less expectations which just opens the door for pure simple fun!


Its one opportunity to give to others
with no expectation of something in return
and in society today
Those opportunities are rare
Its one opportunity to do for others with no recognition
That’s the premise..leave a treat and don’t get caught…
And in society today those opportunities are even rarer.



Its one opportunity that makes me 100% present.
Again seems those opportunities are rare too...
We love it!
*so much so that when I realized last week that Cohen should have baseball practice on May Day and told him about the predicament...his response: "well we will just have to skip practice"
that's my boy!
....and the weather, SNOW, canceled practice and moved May Day up one day for us here, so no need to ditch out on baseball practice for May day! Whew!
Happy May Day!
*despite the winter weather advisory that is scrolling across the tv right now!