Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend

I have had a BLAST this memorial day weekend burning up from the heat  chilling out with friends!

We kicked the weekend off on Friday evening with two close college friends, two pizzas and lots of marshmallows. There is not much in life that I enjoy more than sharing food and drink with friends around a camp fire.  Since we have all gotten older our conversations seem to be even more interesting. Just picture a lawyer, a biologist, a preacher and a stay at home mother all gathered around roasting marshmallows. The conversations tend to gravitate from hysterical to very serious then back to hysterical.  Then add in two loud  adorable little kids and it makes for an interesting night.

Saturday was spent pretending that we had a big in ground pool. 
I filled up the kiddie pools for the kids, lathered the family with sunscreen and spent the whole day soaking up the sun.  I was even able to read some of the book that our dear friend Kyle Potter sent to me. It was one of those peaceful days that you never wanted to end.  The sun was shinning, a cool breeze was flying through the trees, the kids were little angles and I had a great book in my hands.

We were outside all day.  Well, except the hour that I spent cleaning the house in the most relaxing way. I just LOVE LOVE LOVE scrubbing toilets.  No joke.  I LOVE cleaning.  I actually get embarrassed about that fact.  Cleaning and sorting are like AMAZING fun for me.

Sunday after church and after our nap, we headed to Louisville to meet up with some more close college friends.  FRIENDS! FRIENDS! FRIENDS!

Our friend Rachel was kind enough to invite us all over to her new home for burgers and hot dogs. The staple food of memorial day!

When we showed up at her house one of the first things we noticed was a grill that had been taken out of the box but not yet put together, spread out all over her kitchen floor. "Umm Rache, what's this?"  She responded with "oh yeah, THAT. Well ya see my garage door broke, locking my grill inside, so I just went out really quick and bought a new one."

The guys immediately started to work on her garage door. In the end we got the grill out and the garage door fixed!  Go team BLUE!!

I'd be lying through my teeth if I didn't say that the BEST thing about Sunday was getting to hold little baby Ada Grace.
Our friends Amanda and Travis have this dream child. She is 4 months old with jet black hair, BIG brown eyes and the biggest smile EVER.  I fell in LOVE with that baby. She even projectile vomited while I was holding her and I STILL love her.  Needless to say, Ada and I had some major bonding time.  Oh my gosh I could not get enough cuddles from that sweet little one. It felt so nice to hold a baby and have that BIG ol' smile appear on her face!

At one point Amanda had to go into the back room to breast feed Ada.  Anna, my 3 year old, snuck away, went into the room Amanda was in, sat on the bed with her and said "so, I hear you are the one with milk in her nipples."

Yep, that's my child!

Today, Monday has been just as glorious as all the days leading up to it.
The kids let us sleep in until 8:30!


I did not wake up until 8:30am!

I got 9 whole hours of uninterrupted sleep!

The sun was shining so I took my morning tea outside to enjoy under a shade trees.

We spent the entire day basking in the sun with our spf 60 and kiddie pools.

Around 2pm Anna and I decided to take a bike ride through down town. I now have a seat for her on my bike and she has taken to the bike riding.

We rode all over the place.
My favorite part was peddling down the allies. They are just so beautiful.  Man oh man we live in such a beautiful area. The streets are lined with beautiful old homes and massive shade trees.  It is truly like a fairy tale!  As I was peddling down our road I was like "seriously. we seriously get to live here! this is awesome!"

When we pulled the bike back into the driveway we were met by a frazzled Roger. "Jess, I was cleaning out the garage and guess what I found. A possum. There is a possum in there."
Then I looked over to see Paul standing on the back steps with a water hose "yeah mom, there is a possum in there. Dad's going to scare him out and I'm going to spray it with the hose."

Anna, Paul and I stood to watch as Roger chased the possum out of the garage.
Then, of all things, the possum just falls over.
The thing REALLY DID play possum.

We had to make the horrible decision to kill it.
The poor thing was just cuddled up there so sweet and Roger whacked it with the shovel a couple times.
It was rather shocking to watch.
No, I didn't let the kids watch but they figured out what was going on.
"Daddy, that baby possum was just laying there all cute and you whacked him with that shovel. He wasn't doing anything to you" -Anna

We gave Mr Possum a proper burial in the back yard. Paul marked the spot.

Right before dinner, while Paul was telling me a story, I noticed that his little eye was REALLY swollen.  It was so weird. The inside of his eye was puffing out. Quite scary looking.

My first thought was to take him to the urgent care. Roger suggested we call Ruthie (she is a midwife that is part of our church family).  She drove over with some allergy medicine and his swelling went right away. She said he probably got into something he was allergic to and it made his eye swell.
Ruthie is a Saint.  She truly is!

 I am SO THANKFUL for this lovely church community.   I know I have said it before but I gotta say it again,  I have never been in a church where so many of the people are so self giving. I mean, they will seriously do anything for ya and smile the whole entire time.  It is a good feeling to be a part of that kind of church community. I was beginning to think that a church like that didn't exist.
here is the link to the church website

And that is the end of our memorial day weekend adventures of 2011.

I sure hope you all had a wonderful 3 day weekend!

Take care

Road Trip Part 1

From May 12, 2011 to May 21, 2011 the little family and I ventured  out on our first family vacation/road trip.  

We were a little nervous at first since taking a 5 year old and a 2 year old on a VERY long road trip seemed like the most ridiculous thing EVER.  

But Roger and I were determined to make it work and HAVE FUN making it work.  We both LOVE being on the road, having adventures and being spontaneous, surely our own flesh and blood children would learn to love it as well.

Still, it was a bit nerve racking getting things together for the trip.

The first, "oh my gosh you have got to be kidding me" came when Roger went to have the car checked out.  We were about to spend 15 hrs driving on the road so we wanted to make sure the car was doing well.  Turns out ALL of our tires we dry rotted.  A little over 300 dollars later, we have brand new tires placed on the car.  Wonderful!  (sarcasm)   Do you see my big smile!?!

But in all seriousness I am VERY thankful we were smart enough to get that checked out. 

Before we left the house there was SO MUCH to do.  Cleaning the car out, doing the laundry, cleaning the house so that when we got back it would be SPOTLESS (I can't stand coming back from vacation to a messy house), packing up myself, the kids and making sure we had plenty of emergency entertainment for the kids if they got fussy in the car.

By the time we all FINALLY piled into the car I was thinking to myself, I don't know if I'm going to be able to do this. I am completely exhausted.   Was this a bad idea?

Once we got out of town and I realized the kids were just as excited about having a road trip as Roger and I, I relaxed.  

Paul had his little explorer vest on, his kid map out and his telescope up to the window, "Mom, we are explorers!"

I wish I could have captured the smiles on their faces and the jubilant  atmosphere in the car.

We were together on the road, soaking up the sun, jamming to the music, in awe of the beauty of God's creation and in the mood to be spontaneous.

Check Back for Part 2 next Monday

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

I just finished an amazing novel called Gilead written by Marilynne Robinson.
It is a winner of the pulitzer prize!

The novel is a beautiful picture of life as a minister.

So often there are novels written about ministers and ministerial families that shed the nasty side of ministry. The crooked minister who thinks too highly of him or her self and treats their family badly.

I get so sick of those depictions of my life.
It is far from that.

Though there are ministers out there that are slimly, I have found a good portion of them aren't.
In fact most of the ministers I know and love are far from slimy.
They are loving, gentle, compassionate people who see their profession through humble eyes.

The novel is narrated by an old man named, John Ames. He is writing a letter to his young son about his life as a minister, his father's life as a minister and his grandfather's life as a minister.  He begins the letter because he is not expected to live many more years and is determined to pass down his knowledge on life to his young son.

All three ministers are very different in their approach to ministry yet all three end up learning from one another.

In that respect, it is a novel about the history of knowledge that each of us carry from one generation to the next.

One of my favorite things about the novel is that it sheds light on the importance of conversation within the ministerial vocation. 
How often, relaxing front porch conversation can lead to life transformation.


Mainly because one of my FAVORITE things to do is to have people over for conversation!
You can learn so much about people just sittin' on the porch swing or huddled around a bon fire.

This novel took me 4 weeks to finish.  
It's not that it is long, just a little over 200 pages. But it is so THICK with content. Full of so MANY theological thoughts. I would read a section, sit it down, think about that section, look up the theologians mentioned in the section, chat to my husband about the section, read him a sentence or two, then sleep on the thought.
(plus i have a 5 year old and 3 year old)

I wrestled a lot with the conversations the characters had with one another.
They were very deep.

With that said, it is a very thought provoking book. 
The author must of reached deep down into someone's soul.

It will go down as one of the most enjoyable reads I have had.

A wonderful book!

One that you are proud to say "Hey, I read THAT!"

Monday, May 23, 2011

I happened upon this video today about Asians opting to have plastic surgery on their eyes to look more Western. Some have even gone so far as to change the structure of their faces.  

I was very upset when they began talking about the mothers who bring in their 2 year olds to have their tongues cut so that when they are older they will be able to speak English more clearly. 

It made me think of the study we talked about in several of my psychology classes where the little black children preferred to play with the little white doll because they said it was pretty were as the little black doll was ugly.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Today has been rough.  

Last night, right when we walked in the house after being on a week long vacation, Roger got a call.  I walked into the back bedroom to find him bent over, tears streaming down his face, the phone to his ear.  

I walked out of the room, shut the door and began putting the kids to bed as I prayed silently.  

Roger appeared in the door way.

"there has been a bad car accident."

 A young man, in his 30's, who is a member of our small church family was in a very bad accident and didn't make it.

Roger left to go pray with the family while I put the kids to bed.

i couldn't stop crying. 
It is just awful. 
I have no words. 
I am in shock.

This morning (sunday) before the service, Roger announced the awful news. The whole congregation stood up, held hands and prayed for the family.  

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

looking back

I was looking back at some older blogs and had to share this one with you

This is a blog that was written when Anna was a little baby and Paul had just turned 3.

Things have calmed down quite a bit since then.

Anna is turning 3 this Saturday and Paul will be 6 this summer.

Although they are still a hand full, I feel like I have a better grip on their behavior.

Those first couple of years were seriously 

First the baby stage with all the baby stage adjustments.

Then the teething.

Then WAM BAMMMMMMM the child is mobile and tearing into EVERYTHING.
EVERYTHING becomes a safety hazard and you want to SCREAM.

Then the child turns 2 and decides to start testing the boundaries by throwing MASSIVE melt downs if you don't allow them to crawl into the dish washer or paint the wall with finger nail polish.

Then starts the good ol' time out time in which you attempt to teach the child how to BEHAVE like a human.

Then 3 comes along and the child seems to FINALLY chill out a bit.


Not that it is super easy at the moment, but it is manageable.
I can say that I am smiling and laughing more than crying out in frustration!!

Those first 3 years are physically EXHAUSTING and it seems like they will NEVER end.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

sharing a few links

(just thought I would share a few links with you all)

With more and more people my age(27) having their first child, I am seeing more and more women decide to leave their careers behind to raise their children.  I found this article that was written in 2004 about this phenomena of high powered women leaving their high paying careers to raise their children. 

When deciding to leave your career to be a full time mother or father a LOT of questions need to be asked.
I found this great article about the tough thought process that needs to take place before leaving your career to become a stay at home mother or father.  

Then I found this article written about a study that was done on what a stay at home mother or father is worth.

Just a result of some light reading while the kids were napping!!!  

Monday, May 9, 2011

Children's Books and Lawn Mowers

Children's books.... you never know what you are going to get.
We go to the library, Paul and Anna go crazy picking out books, we get home and I read and read and read to them

Sometimes they are simply AWFUL books that make me think "man, I can do better than that."

Sometimes they are so profound.

Today while we were reading a book Anna had picked out, we came to the end of the fairy tale about a princess, a prince and an evil dragon.  The last page surprised me, delighted me and made me laugh out loud.

It read...
"Ronald," said Elizabeth, "your clothes are really pretty and your hair is very neat. You look like a real prince, but you are a bum."  They didn't get married after all.

The story is about this little princess that is to marry this handsome prince but the prince gets stolen away by an evil dragon.  The princess fights the dragon to save the prince.  

At the get go I was intrigued because you always hear these fairy tales where the helpless princess is watching and waiting for the prince to come to her rescue. It was nice to read of a real WOMAN fighting off dragons to get to her prince.  

When the princess finally does rescue the prince he makes this comment 
"Elizabeth you are a mess! You smell like ashes, your hair is all tangled and you are wearing a dirty old paper bag. Come back when you are dressed like a real princess."

I felt for the princess when the prince said that comment because I too had tangled hair and smelt like ashes. Well, I smelt like a burnt lawn mower. I had been fighting with the piece of crap mower for several hours before the thing started smoking on me. Roger has been super busy with school and work so I thought I would take over the yard work.... I dragged branches, stacked logs and ATTEMPTED to mow the grass.  I finally gave the mower a good kick and said " to hell with you."  

So, when I turned the page, expecting the princess to apologize for the way she looked and smelled, I was pleasantly surprised with her response of "YOU ARE A BUM"

Reading that reminded me of how happy I am to be married to a man that understands that he needs to back off and let me FIGHT THE DRAGONS.


The piece of crap lawn mower and all the branches from the cut down trees.

Because, in the end, I am happier in tangled hair,  sweat soaked clothes, with grass stains ALL OVER my running shoes.

showing Anna how fun it is to play with worms!

(The book is The Paper Bag Princess by Robert N. Munsch) 

Saturday, May 7, 2011


I was thinking about typing out a witty, heartfelt blog about being a mother.

Then I read my friend Amanda Hervey's blog.

She spent some major time digging deep inside of her soul to give birth to the most magnificent blog post about motherhood.

I wouldn't expect anything less from this AMAZING writer.  It makes me sick how the talent just seems to seep off of her.  Like Paul says "she has lots and lots of tricky tricks!"

If you don't know Amanda Hervey, let me introduce you to her through my eyes
here is the blog post I wrote when little Ada was born

Now that you know that story take a little time to read her blog post about what motherhood is teaching her

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Sophisticated Sweater

There is nothing cuter, in my opinion, than a small child in a sophisticated knitted sweater. You know those sweaters that make you think "has that child been sipping coffee and reading Wendell Berry. Wow! and at such a young age."

I found a wonderful pattern on, a knitting and crochet network in which fellow needle works share their projects and patterns. Raverly has been a wonderful way for me to connect to nifty knitters from the comfort of my own home.  Which is AWSOME! As a wife and mother I have VERY LITTLE time to get out to knit.

Here is a picture of the adorable sweater that I am knitting

here is a link to the website with the free pattern download 

Yesterday afternoon I headed downtown to the local yarn store to pick up some yarn and new size 8 circular knitting needles.  I LOVE searching for new yarn and playing with knew needles. Luna, the store owner, does a fabulous job helping you pick out just the right yarn for your taste and your project. Here is a link to her blog
She has an incredible story. 

She left the big city to move all the way to Elizabethtown, Kentucky to live at a slower pace. She owns a sheep farm, a little yarn shop and spins her own yarn. 

the best thing about her yarn store, for me, is that it is a 5 min walk FROM MY HOUSE!!

Now, if you will allow me, I need to get back to my fabulous bamboo needles and soft Cherub Aran Cascade Yarn!


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Living with a Congenital Heart Defect

I am very tired today which makes me VERY aware of my heart condition
I am an adult living with a congenital heart defect.
how incredible is that?
My generation of people born with CHD is living longer and longer and longer!

It's really weird for me to be turning 27 years old on Friday (May 6). 
All the research that I have read about my heart condition and those babies that had the mustard procedure done to correct their defect, talk about how awesome it is that 80% of the patients made it to 28 years of age without sudden cardiac arrest or right ventricle failure. 

I can't help but think "Gosh, I'm almost 28."

My future is unclear, but so is every one else's. Heart condition or no heart condition, no one really knows what their future health will be like.

I find it a privilege to be so aware of how blessed I am to be able to go for long walks, hikes through the woods, and play tag with my children. Most people my age take that for granted. 

I guess the major difference for me, with having this heart condition,  is that I walk around with this crazy "why wait" attitude. I see so many people putting off life plans in order to accomplish certain cultural milestones. My impending dome is so much in my face that I take each day with such joy and pleasure while saying "why wait."

That attitude is the major reason that  at 26 years of age I have been married 7 years and have two children whom I have opted to stay home to raise. 

Why wait to start life?
To me, life was starting a family!
To others LIFE might mean something completely different but WHY WAIT.

My main focus is Paul and Anna. I want them to know love through me. That's why I stay home with them. I want to spend as much time as possible letting them know that I adore them. Every second I have with them is a gift!

I have reached that point in my life that I feared would never be.... happily married with a beautiful home and two precious children.

I am sooooo happy!!!  I could die tomorrow very content.

I keep these records of my life (public and private journals) so my children will have some sort of way to get to know their mother if I don't make it to a ripe old age. 

It's hard for me to imagine living past 35 years of age. I know it is possible with all the new technology but it is just so weird to think about having grandchildren one day and being alive and well enough to hold them in my arms.

I have days that I am filled with an overwhelming sadness about having a CHD. It is usually on days like today in which I  am just too tired to function or breathe or tend to the kids properly. 

But most days, MOST DAYS, I feel so blessed to me able to have such an amazing existence!
An existence full of love and purpose.

And honestly, I am not that afraid of death! 

You wrote a letter and You signed your name 
I read every word of it page by page
You said that You'd be coming, coming for me soon
Oh my God I'll be ready for You

I want to run on greener pastures
I want to dance on higher hills
I want to drink from sweeter waters
In the misty morning chill
And my soul is getting restless
For the place where I belong
I can't wait to join the angels and sing my heaven song

I hear Your voice and I catch my breath
'Well done my child, enter in and rest'
Tears of joy roll down my cheek
It's beautiful beyond my wildest dreams

I want to run on greener pastures

[ From: ]

I want to dance on higher hills
I want to drink from sweeter waters
In the misty morning chill
And my soul is getting restless
For the place where I belong
I can't wait to join the angels and sing...

I want to run on greener pastures
I want to dance on higher hills
I want to drink from sweeter waters
In the misty morning chill
And my soul is getting restless
For the place where I belong
I can't wait to join the angels and sing
No, I cant wait to join the angels and sing my heaven song
Anna is really not feeling very well today. As I type this she is cuddled up on the couch, with her blanky, sucking her thumb.  That isn't normal for the 2 year old Anna. 

Usually when she is sick she turns into EVIL CHILD. I know, how can a child so sweet morph into EVIL CHILD. WEll, she does. She starts screaming in this really low, almost man voice, and throwing anything she can get her hands on. This morning she tried to grab the milk off of the table and fling it at me. 

The thought of a WHOLE GALLON of milk falling onto the floor made me move fast enough to grab it from her in lickty split time. 

Im telling ya.... it was a miricle in itself.  I was still in the process of waking up. It takes me a good little while to wake up and feel fully charged.  My medicine doesn't absorb THAT quickly.

Speaking of waking up.


This morning I could not get myself out of bed. 

Paul came in, began crawling all over me but I still was dead to the world. When I finally did manage to lug myself out of the bed I had to immediately get Paul fed, BATHED, dressed and sent to school in 30 MINUTES.   He ended up being a little late.... but it's just preschool for heavens sakes.  the REAL school starts next year. I'm trying to relax while I have the chance.  Enjoy the FREENESS of our schedules before the TRUE schedules come into existence. 

Yesterday was spent breaking up mini arguments with the kids. Like I said above, Anna is MEAN when she is sick. She is the complete opposite of Paul. When he is sick he gets all cuddly and quite.  

So, back to yesterday, she pretty much spent the whole day following Paul around doing awful things to the poor little guy.  Pulling his hair, pinching him, taring up what ever he was playing with.......... and on and on and on.

I spent most of my time behind the scenes coaching Paul on how to respond to Anna when she does mean things to him "Paul, say please stop. You are hurting me. That isn't nice. instead of yelling MOMMY ANNA IS PINCHING ME. Talk to her first and if she doesn't stop I'll step in."

Anna sat in time out a LOT yesterday.
I did a LOT of stepping in.

Today should be interesting. Anna is still sick, being very grouchy and I feel like I have been hit by a truck in my sleep.
I had running dreams all night long.  I never seem to really REST when I have running dreams. 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Hello Monday

I thought the kids were being good. 

I was rather surprised by how good they were playing together while I cleaned up after lunch.

Then I found out why they were being so quiet.

They were hiding out in the closet upstairs, eating easter candy.

When I opened the door Anna, in her underwear, gave me a huge smile "WE ARE EATING CANDY!"

Paul looked up with his innocent little eyes and said "well, you see, Anna MADE ME do this."

I said "Paul, she MADE YOU eat the candy."

He responded with "Yes, she made me eat all of this candy. It was HER IDEA."

The rest of the day should be interesting now that BOTH children have consumed a massive amount of CHOCOLATE.

I scolded them, then walked down stairs to treat MYSELF to some bite size 3 musketeer bars as I giggled "I can't believe they did that."

Now Paul is dancing like a wild man in the kitchen with Anna's creepy Dora doll that actually follows you around dancing.

oh boy.