Tuesday, August 30, 2011


As I was sitting down to type out this blog, over joyed that Anna the Banana was sleeping soundly in her bed for her afternoon nap, I spilt my coffee ALL OVER THE PLACE.


I am such a klutz.

This morning was not as hectic as I thought it was going to be.
Maybe I'm getting better at this whole house wife thing!
(Remind me of the above statement tomorrow.)

I managed to get both of the kids fed, dressed, teeth brushed and out the door by 7:35am.
Now I must confess that I didn't get a shower or my teeth brushed by that time but I did manage to change out of my jammie pants, throw on a hat and pop in some mint flavored gum!

After dropping little Paul off at the elementary school, Anna and I headed to Kroger to do our grocery shopping for the week.

Have you ever went grocery shopping with a demanding 3 year old?


I survived thanks to the kroger ballon, the sucker and the fact that hardly anyone grocery shops at 8am!

So here I sit in a quiet, clean house full of food and clean laundry with a sleeping 3 year old!

Peace on earth.

At least for the next hour.

the shopping girl

too pretty to eat inside

anna pretending to walk on the trees

I write these special moments out so I can look to them on the CRAZY days to remind myself that it's not CRAZy all of the time.

just MOST of the time.

Peace in the Crazy

I love to read.

I am a connoisseur of books!

Well, maybe that above statement is a little TOO much.

But you get the point.

I would EAT books if that were possible.

I find them to be delicious!

Whenever I find a good book that I can hardly but down I try so hard to read through it slowly because I fear that it is possibly the last GREAT book in the entire world.

A friend of mine just recently suggested Beth Hoffman's book Saving CeeCee Honeycutt.
I am a SUCKER for southern literature...... 
..........And southern food.............
................And southern style movies......
...........And the south in general!

Reading this book has given me so much pleasure and I'm not even half way through it.
I'm anxious to find out what happens to little CeeCee but I just don't want it to end.

Can this book just go on forever and ever?

My guilty pleasure is sneaking off in the back yard by myself, under the two cherry trees and reading.
It's like eating ice cream.
I get so giggly when I find a little bit of time in the afternoon to sneak off to my favorite reading spot. 

I can get about 30 minutes of reading time in, which is not NEARLY enough, before the kids or my husband find me.  

Yesterday afternoon was plum near perfect.
The air was warm but the breeze was cool.
The leaves were slowly falling around me as I sat barefoot, book in hand.
I didn't want that moment to end.

My friend Amanda is currently working on her first novel and has been meeting with the author Beth Hoffman to learn the ropes of publishing and enjoy some friendly chit chat between two writers. She told me that Beth Hoffman used to be a very well know interior designer. After a bought with a very serious illness Beth decided to sell her company and begin writing this book that she felt was within her.  Just about everyone thought she had lost her mind until her book became a New York Times bestseller!  

I just LOVE that story!

It's a wonderful example of listening to the call within!!
I feel that so many people in todays society ignore that internal tug.
They mask it with the tug of our culture.
Maybe that's why you have so many people running around with no true purpose.
Lost in a world full of instant gratification and reality television.
Blind and deaf to the Mystical experiences within and around us.

I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of Amanda's rough draft of her novel.
I eat up just about everything that she writes and I just KNOW that I am going to treasure her book.

Amanda currently freelance writes for Kentucky Monthly magazine.
She just finished a coffee table book that my husband, Roger, cowrote with her, called Sacred Places of Kentucky.
( you can pre-order the book HERE)
And last, but not least, her book Kentucky A-Z is coming out soon!!  It is a book about her adventures traveling through kentucky.  You will laugh, cry and reminisce with her through this book.

Now lookey here, I have given you a wonderful christmas list option for your close friends!!

Ihave no cue how to end this blog post but I gotta end it right now because little miss anna is digging in the freezer as I type.  

oh good Lord.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Seminary Starts Back

And thus it begins.


Roger starts back THIS week.

I have mixed feelings about it since this is his LAST year (last 2 semesters) of a 90 hour program.

I am so excited about graduation.  I am going to be such a proud wife when he walks across that stage!

He's been attending full time since Paul was 2 years old.

Paul is now 6.

Not only is he taking a FULL LOAD but he is attempting to take a CPE in Louisville on Mondays.

Gotta have those CPEs!

Since we have moved, campus is 2 hours away, therefor twice a week he is going to be driving 2 hours there, taking a FULL day of classes, then driving 2 hours home, getting home a little after 11pm.

Then on one day he will be in Louisville doing his CPE.

I get so nervous about him driving so much of the parkway.
Last semester he hit a deer.  It was REALLY bad.  We lost our car.

I have NO CLUE how the women who have their husbands stationed somewhere else in the country do it.  I think I would cry every night.

For 3 nights a week I am going to be a single mother.

Taking care of 2 children is EXHAUSTING.


Did I mention that they OUT NUMBER me?

We have a friend who is a single mother to two adopted girls. She does it on her own, always has.  She adopted the girls as a single woman.  I can't begin to tell you how much respect I have for her for doing that.  How does she do it????  How does she take care of two children all by herself all of the time and still remain sane?  That's what I want to know!

She is on the look out for a good husband so if anyone is interested let me know!!!

Anyway, I am frightened of Roger going back to seminary but I am trying my best to suck it up and put my big girl pants on.  I've just really had a wonderful time this summer having a husband instead of someone I cohabitate with and occasionally see while passing through the hall!!! 
 It's been nice!
It's been nice having that time to get to know each other all over again with out the stress of SEMINARY.  

It's probably not going to be as bad as I THINK it is going to be but then again...... it probably will.

While he's sitting in a lecture on some topic of great interest and sipping a latte' I'll be cleaning up after the dinner I burnt cooked and bathing children.
Kinda seems a LITTLE bit unfair doesn't it?
Just a little bit?

I have been preparing for this semester by having back up plans.
I have plenty of people in the church and community that I can reach out to on those days when I want to pull my hair out!  On those days where my arms and back hurt so bad from the house chores and tending to the kids.  On the days my heart medicines don't seem to be working and I can't manage to get enough oxygen through my body.

That gives me comfort knowing that I am within a 3 min drive of at least two people that have offered to help out on those days.  And one of those people is a NURSE!!!!

Lord knows living with a heart condition AND trying to take care of two high energy children can be a bit tricky when you are left all by yourself.
But that's another blog.
I try my best to go to the fitness center every other day to work on the cardio to help my heat out a bit but when your heart muscle is so weak that it needs a pacemaker you really can't do too much.  But the exercise really has helped me keep up with the kids more!!  That and my new medicine and the power aid and the iron pills!

Ok, know I am rambling and I best get off  of here.
Roger gave BOTH the kids baths, read them BOTH a book and put them BOTH to bed while I typed out this blog.
I'm tellin' ya people, I have found me a keeper!!!   
Don't touch..... He's all MINE!  :-)


Friday, August 26, 2011

Where I Come From

Where I was born and raised is land locked, sort of, we are by a lake, but what I mean by land locked is that the closest "city" with ANYTHING in it is Richmond, Ky, which if you have ever been to Richmond, KY and have been anywhere else in the USA you know that it is FAR FAR FAR from a city. 

In high school the BIG thing to do was to drive to Richmond to eat at, get this, Red Lobster.
That was THE thing to do.
"Whattcha doin' this weekend?"
"Well, we're proly gonna drive in to Richmond to eat a little sumthin'!"

Another BIG thing to do was the drive in.
Boy oh Boy
If you went to the drive in movie then you were "The Bomb." 
(a saying that was in style at the time)

I remember getting all dressed up to go out to eat at Ruby Tuesday.
Man alive, when that restaurant came in it was THE TALK of the town!
"hey george did ya hear?  we're gettin' one of them there ruby tuesdays."

Just recently they voted the island that is near the lake moist. 
I've heard that it isn't unusual to go into a restaurant down by the lake and find people falling on the floor drunk in their bathrobes.  

And the lake, well, that is a whole different blog post.

I must admit that when I entered college at Georgetown I tried my best to hide my backwoods roots.
I guess mainly because when you say to your new college roommate that's NOT from Kentucky... "I'm headin' on down to warsh some clothes ya wantin' me to warsh anything for ya while I'm at it?" and she giggles REALLY loud, you get a complex.

While at college I lost my accent (a little bit).  It just kinda happened. The first thing to go was the "WARSH."   I remember someone pointing out that wash DID NOT have an R in it.
I am going to WAAAAAAASH my clothes.

Then went the "well I'll be."
it was replaced with "interesting."
instead of screaming out "Well I'll be" when a friend told me something exciting I said "humm interesting." 

I even guit saying "oh good grief" and "man alive" when someone said something annoying.

slowly but surly I started completing words. no longer leaving off the G or adding a long A sound.

It made me feel VERy smart and sophisticated.

But just as fast as the accent went it has come on back.
Here I am sayin' things without the G and addin' the long A sound in every other word.
My husband giggles BIG time about it.
He's from the same town but if you look back at home videos of me you can barely understand what I'm saying. 

Over the years I have learned to appreciate my heritage, or as my pawpaw would say "my raisin." 
But I would be tellin' a fib if I didn't admit that I get a bit embarrassed about where I come from and how I was raised, when I am around certain people.

Like the woman I met the other day that moved here from New England.

I sometimes feel like I SHOULD be the wife and mother that wears high heels and speaks with a sophisticated dialect. 

Like seriously, I look like I'm twelve.
Right now I have a shirt on that has a massive ice cream cone on it.
I like to dress up every now and again but most of the time I chill out in a tshirt, shorts and bare feet. 
And yes, most of the time I leave my hair hanging wet to dry on its own.

I have become a LOT more comfortable in my own skin in regards to my clothing and my hair ( I could care less) but my southern dialect makes me uneasy.  
I need to work on that.
I need to be comfortable about who I am in regards to the way I say things and the things that I say.

With that said, just because some one is raised in Kentucky, speaks with a county twang and avoids wearing shoes at all cost doesn't mean they are less!  

I guess that's my biggest fear. I don't want to be seen as not smart.

I really need to get over this
Is it really THAT big of a deal what someone thinks about they way you speak?

And so I write a blog!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Update on Anna

Anna is starting to feel (and act) a whole heck of a lot better.
The child has actually been a pleasure to be around for the past two days.
Such a darling!
After the monday from hell little miss Anna gifted me with a fabulous Tuesday and Wednesday and so far this Thursday morning has been as delightful as the past two days. 

 Here's to praying this lack of an ear infection lasts for a few more weeks.

The antibiotics tend to only keep the ear infection away for a week.

Then we're back to HELL.

Tuesday was spent outside ALL DAY LONG.

My kind of day!

Anna and I went to Freeman Lake for a small hike and to feed the ducks.
Before heading home we dropped by the park to slide!
For lunch we had a picnic in the back yard and after picking Paul up from school all three of us headed to the Fitness Center to swim.
We ended the day by having pancakes for dinner!

Yesterday, Wednesday, Anna "helped" me clean the car out.
Every day I try to complete a nagging task. Our car has been DISGUSTING for the past couple of weeks.  It got to the point where the kids were complaining about how messy and stinky the car was.  Paul said he didn't want to ride in it until I cleaned it.
It really was VERY nasty.  

We cleaned it out, vacuumed it up and scrubbed it down.
By nap time Anna was EXHAUSTED.

While she was napping I decided to take that precious time to finish knitting her cardigan.

When she woke up from her nap I surprised her with it!

She told me that I was "so precious" for making it for her. 
"mom, you are a cutie pie!"

She was flipping excited about the hood!  That was something specific that she had requested when I told her I was going to make her a cardigan.

This morning she woke up requesting to go to Barnes and Noble to look at the books and play with the train set.  Then she ran in the room to dress herself.  
She came out looking like this.....

Monday, August 22, 2011

Survival Mode

Let me begin this blog post by first apologizing to those of you whom are going to be annoyed with the mad ramblings of a exhausted mother.
I know some people get REALLY annoyed when mothers start complaining about HOW HARD it is to take care of little kids.  

I have had my fair share of hate mail in regards to that.
"you should be BLESSED with what you HAVE" is what they all say.

I am blessed! 
I'm just blessed to the point of exhaustion.
I guess that is why I tend to air on the side of caution and try to only post happy sweet little things that go on in our little family unit. 
But then when I do that I get hate mail about how EASY I make parenting out to be and how I make it look as if having a little family is the only true happiness in life.

Boy oh boy.

Any way, I apologize to both sides but I just HAVE TO type out this blog.

This blog post is going to be about a 27 year old mother of two who is at the point of tears.

Ok, that's a little fib. I totally broke down into tears this morning.
I was so frustrated with EVERYTHING that I just plopped myself down in the yard and had a little me time with tears.

Anna was quite confused with why I was crying so she brought me her stuffed frog which actually stopped me from crying because then I realized that maybe, JUST MAYBE, I am a good mother because my 3 year old stopped what she was doing, which is a big deal for a 3 year old to do, and tried to comfort me with her FAVORITE stuffed animal.

These past 3 months have been a rOlLeRcOaStEr.  

Anna has had ear infection after ear infection.
We have been in and out of the doctor's office, up and down in the middle of the night, and in a constant state of frustration throughout the day.

She screams bloody murder over the smallest of things.

Like this morning, while I was taking a shower she tried to pull me out of the shower because she said she wanted her coloring book and crayons RIGHT THAT SECOND.  

Now, the normal, no ear infection Anna would patiently wait for me to get out of the shower, maybe sing me a song while she waits, but this chronic ear infection Anna wants what she wants NOW even if that means attempting to drag me out of the shower.

The whining and screaming are really starting to get to me folks.

This morning has been 3 year old break down after 3 year old break down.
she didn;t like the breakfast......... SCREAM
she wanted a different coloring book.......SCREAM
her baby doll wouldn't fit in the baby car seat like she wanted.......... SCREAM
she didn't think there was enough sand in the sand box............ SCREAM
she wanted something different for lunch.............SCREAM

on and on and on and on and on

When Paul gets home he tends to want to rest a bit because he is tired.  He looks forward to spending some time playing alone. Anna just WILL NOT have that.  She thinks he should immediately start playing with her.
I have to get into referee mode which is not only exhausting but SO FRUSTRATING.
I do by best to calmly redirect but by the time Roger gets home I have to leave.
I go to the gym or go for a walk or go clean something, just so I can have a break  from the referee mom role.

Roger and I actually sat down together to have a "talk" about how we are going to make it through the next couple of weeks.  We both are like AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH.   
Yesterday we went to the fitness center and took turns watching the kids while the other one jumped off the MASIVE diving board.  I think we had gotten to that point where it felt good to jump off of something VERY high. 

We are in survival mode until little miss sunshine has her ear surgery.
(she needs her tubes replaced)

It's just more frustrating than anything. Because there really isn't anything I can do besides give her pain meds, which only help a little.   

Anna's ENT appointment is Sep 12th and I feel like I have been waiting FOREVER to get in to see the doctor.  I sure hope they are able to schedule her ear tube replacement soon after the doctor visit.
Please keep us in your prayers.  
Especially little miss Anna.  You know this is rougher on her than it is us and man alive it is rough for us. 

On a happy note.  When I get REALLY stressed out I channel my frustrations into manual labor.
I mow the grass, pull weeds, mop the floors, clean out the garage and the basement.............
This afternoon, after putting anna down for a nap, I scrubbed the kitchen, moped the floor and disinfected the bathroom.   

It felt REALLY good!

Oops, Anna just woke up from her nap and guess what she is doing?  SCREAMING!!!!
here I go to tend to the screaming child AGAIN but at least my house is clean!

(here's ya a small sample of the CRAZY.  she was dancing to her music then all of a sudden had a melt down.)

I was a little girl alone in my little world who dreamed of a little home for me.
I played pretend between the trees, and fed my houseguests bark and leaves, and laughed in my pretty bed of green.

I had a dream
That I could fly from the highest swing.
I had a dream.

Long walks in the dark through woods grown behind the park, I asked God who I'm supposed to be.
The stars smiled down on me, God answered in silent reverie. I said a prayer and fell asleep.

I had a dream
That I could fly from the highest tree.
I had a dream.

Now I'm old and feeling grey. I don't know what's left to say about this life I'm willing to leave.
I lived it full and I lived it well, there's many tales I've lived to tell. I'm ready now, I'm ready now, I'm ready now to fly from the highest wing.

I had a dream

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Oh God help me to do good things

Bless her heart, Anna was born with a whole lot of spunk.

The child is cRaZy.

She tries SO hard to chill out but she runs amuck on most days.

She plum wears me out.

Mom and Dad laugh every time I share Anna stories. They say "that child is JUST LIKE YOU!"

Dad said that he never worried about boys taking advantage of me but he did FEAR for the boys.
Apparently I was a spunky child and adolescent. 

I think Rog has tamed me a bit..... sort of.
I still drive him a bit crazy with my hyper "lets get to work" love of manual labor and lack of filter when it comes to talking in public but he doesn't mind it....... I think.

Back to Anna.......  she was running around the house this afternoon singing "oh God help me do good things."   She sang it over and over and over and over and over again.
The funny thing though was that the WHOLE time she was singing "oh God help me do good things" she was running around doing things she shouldn't be doing.  Like running through the house, slamming doors and locking her brother in the bedroom.

I grabbed the camera to document the cRaZy spunky child in action.

Lord help the man who decides to marry her.
I guess he'll have to get a few pointers from Roger on how to tame her.

Friday, August 19, 2011


Today was MY day!

The 1st and 3rd friday of every month I get together with a group of women at a local church from 9:30am to noon to have a  MOPS (mothers of preschoolers) meeting.

Child care is provided but I opt to leave little Anna with her Daddy since Roger tends to take Friday as a "weekend" day.  Ministers have very strange schedules.

While I chatted it up with the Mommas, Roger and Anna took a father/daughter date.
took this picture before I left this morning of them playing doll house
I adore MOPS meetings.
When I am there I am not just The MOM.
I am Jessica, the seminary student on hiates, the girl who loves to knit, the woman passionate about reading and writting, the chick who has a strange obsession with physical fitness.  The goof ball who loves a good laugh!

When you walk in the room you immediatly have a common bound with EVERYONE.  Every single person there is there because they realize how challenging it is to balance being a mother to young ones and remaining sane.

The surface level conversations start off with how many children each one has, the difficulties involved with parenting small children and then get deeper as each mother opens up about their specific passions, their careers before and after having children,  and how life has changed with each additional child.  It always amazes me how fast a group of mothers can open up to one another when given the time and space.

MOPS gives us the time and space. (and some delicious food!)

Needless to say, the MOPS meeting was refreshing.
So many women with so many different backgrounds and life stories, gathered together with the common bound of motherhood.

The first meetings tend to focus on getting to know one another with a significant amount of sharing.
We each took turns introducing ourselves, talking about our passions (besides our children), laughing about the hard mothering moments we have all been through, and talking about the agenda for our MOPS meetings to come.

We also got to meet our mentors and got placed into a care groups.

I'm all about some care groups!


During the time of sharing I am always amazed at HOW MANY women in the group have husbands that are currently deployed to Afghanistan.  These women are quickly taken under the wing of the group.  They are SUPER women in just about everyones eyes.  Most of them have two or more small children that they are trying to raise on their own while their husbands are away.

You really feel an awesome since of community amongst the MOPS women.
A tribe of mothers!

There's nothing like child rearing to help you realize the importance of community.

I have found MOPS to be a safe, quiet, non judging place for mothers to come together to form a supportive community. It is a place where we mothers can focus on refueling ourselves so that we are better able to tend to the demanding needs of a home full of preschool energy.

How do they have THAT MUCH energy?


Thursday, August 18, 2011

I'm a grandma...... to a 3 years olds plastic doll.

At this time everyday I tend to say to myself after I have put Anna down for a nap "WOW i can't believe it is already 1:30pm."

The days seem to go by SO FAST between the hours of 6:30 am and 3pm.

The school days haven't been as bad as I thought they were going to be. I had in my head that getting Paul up THAT EARLY to be fed, dressed and at school by 7:50am was going to be very difficult. It has actually turned into a routine that I treasure. 

We get him up a little before 7am, put him on the couch, turn on all the lights, turn on some music and he wakes up while I eat breakfast.  Once he is fully awake I sit with him at the table listening to him talk about any and everything. (such a wonderful way to start the morning!) Then we brush teeth, get him dressed and I send him out the door by 7:40 with Roger.  
he was quite excited about wearing his Beatles shirt

At which point I go hop in the shower, dress myself, and enjoy a small coffee or tea while I do my morning devotional before little miss Anna gets up.  

She tends to wake up a little after 8:30am.

The rest of the morning is spent playing with taking care of Anna!

She is right at that magic age (3) where her imagination has taken off.

This morning she decided it was her daughter's birthday and insisted that we make a cake out of play-dough.  Then, being Anna, she said we just HAD to have real candles on the birthday cake.

her daughter was misbehaving so Anna had to calm her down

Anna's daughter's birthday party

she had to help her daughter blow out the candles

cutting the playdough birthday cake for us all

She insisted that I get a birthday picture with my "granddaughter."

Once the playdough birthday cake was cut Anna was very adamant that we document the cake eating.

My naked granddaughter Leeessseeee 
She decided to get her princess camera out as well to document the party!

"Mom would you like me to take a picture of you feeding your granddaughter her birthday cake?!?!"

my daughter feeding her daughter

I'm a grandma!
Anna got her daughter a book for her birthday!  How sweet!
Add caption

After the party we played trains, watched the rain, ate lunch and went for a MASSIVE walk through downtown Etown.  When we got back from the walk we cuddled up on the couch for our daily book reading time. 

yet another routine that I CHERISH!!

Right now Anna is napping (sort of) in her room while I get to enjoy some alone time before the afternoon rush.
Paul gets home a little after 3, we have a snack together and then the kids run WILD through the house and yard while I frantically chase after them until Roger gets home. 

By 6pm I am so tired I can't feel my face but I am always very happy that I got to spend yet another day playing with taking care of Paul and Anna.

This child rearing phase of our lives is so exhausting but also so fun and rewarding!

These kids keep us on our toes but they also keep us giggling ALL DAY LONG.

I found Anna licking the wall. I asked her why she was licking the wall. 
She said there was peanut butter on it. 
I asked her how peanut butter got on the wall and she said that she put it there yesterday.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Life Lessons I've Learned From Knitting

Ask any close relative of mine and you'll slowly figure out how out of character it is for me to be a knitter

Let me give you the back story.

When I was little I was the major tom boy of the clan.
I had to be.
There weren't any girls to play with and boys on the farm play rough.
I had to learn to love dirt, rocks, mud, motorcycles, skid piles and playing army.

That's what they did so that's what I did.

We spent long summer days playing army in the woods, building forts out of skid piles, making mansions out of hay in the hay loft, getting in trouble for playing in the mud hole and chasing each other on the motorcycles, go carts and 4 wheelers.  

Looking back at the pictures of me when I was younger I look, well, umm, ROUGH.

During my middle school years my parents put all of us kids in a private christian school.
This christian school happened to be VERY fundamentalist.
So much so that the girls were REQUIRED to wear dresses of a certain length (past the knee, with sleeves and no collar bone showing), take classes on how to be a proper wife and learn to sew.

What a hoot I must have been during middle school.

Me, the tom boy, being forced to wear a dress.


I wore shorts underneath my dresses and made sure to ALWAYS have my tennis shoes on!

Although I was a bit resistant at first, to the amazement of the whole WORLD, I did learn to knit.

Over the years knitting has slowly turned into a hobby.

Which is still kind of funny for me!

I get so much joy out of turning a ball of yarn into SOMETHING!! 

With each new project I learn something new about myself.
Something that I can apply to life.

Roger and I were talking the other day about the new sweater that I am knitting for my 3 year old daughter Anna. This particular sweater pattern has both tried my patience and given me great joy.

I began to make a list of things that I've learned while knitting this sweater that I can apply to life in general.

here it is!

Things I've Learned About Life Through Knitting This Sweater
  1. Don't look at the whole pattern at once. It is too overwhelming that way. Take it one section at a time.
  2. It looks harder than it actually is. Just give it a try.
  3. It is funner to try new things. Sticking to the same old patterns is boring. Challenge yourself.
  4. Small accomplishments do matter. Be proud of every accomplishment!
  5. A swear word does relieve stress! Just make sure the little ones aren't around. They DO repeat everything you say.
  6. Asking for help really does help. You can learn a whole lot from the more experienced knitter.
  7. Google knows EVERYTHING
  8. Sometimes you just have to put it down and walk away. come back to it later.
  9. Patience is in fact a virtue
  10. Prayer is VERY effective!
  11. The true joy isn't in the completion of the project. It is in the hours and days spent working on it.
  12. Books are full of AMAZING things and you can learn so much from them.
  13. No one notices the bad stitches as much as you do. Stop beating yourself up over your mistakes.
  14. Wine doesn't help soothe the stressed out knitter. It just makes the stitches seem smaller.

Happy Knitting!

sewing the seams
the giraffe modeling for me. one more sleeve left!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

30 years of Marriage

My Mom and Dad are celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary, tomorrow, August 15th!

They are all chill about the fact that they have been together for 30 years. I think I am the one that is the MOST excited.  30 years!!!  30 YEARS!!!   

That is so long!!

Gives me HOPE!!

I keep thinking back to the night of mine and Roger's wedding. My mom pulled me aside, at the reception and told me what I thought at the time was very harsh "you are married now Jessica.  This is no longer your home. You're home is where your husband is. Don't you be running back here when you all have a fight. And you WILL have those fights. Everyone does. You stay with him. You talk it out. Now give me back my house key."

I was in SHOCK.  The day of my wedding, at the reception, I had to dig around through my purse to find the house key and hand it over to my mom.  I really didn't understand.

That is until Roger and I had our first major fight.  
What did I do?
I got so mad I jumped in my car  and drove away.
But after about 5 min of driving I remembered my mom's  words, realized there was no where for me to go and turned the car around.
Roger and I ended up sitting at the kitchen table for a very long time talking through our first marital spat.

It taught us to stick together. To talk it. To keep it between the two of us.

There was one afternoon, after Roger and I had been married for 2 years, that I showed up at my parent's house unexpectedly. With tears streaming down my face I knocked on the door. (remember I didn't have a key to the house).   I was crying because I was so stressed out from my college classes but my Mom, upon opening her door  and seeing me standing there in tears, refused to let me in saying "Does your husband know you're here?"  She made me call Roger so she could check to make sure we weren't having a fight before she let me in.    

All that is to say that I am very blessed to have a Mom and Dad who have fought VERY hard to sustain a marital relationship in this high divorce rate culture. I am VERY thankful for such a wonderful example of commitment. 

Because, honestly, sometimes it really is about commitment.  
They've taught me that there are times that you don't feel as "in love" but you have made a commitment to THAT PERSON and you best be keeping it.  

They are very matter of fact.
They bascially say "this is how it is......." then tell ya how it is.

Mom and Dad met in high school.
Mom was the flag girl in the band while Dad was the HOT cross country runner.

Together, they were THE COUPLE in high school.
So adorable!
Mom with her dark hair and dark eyes.
Dad with his dark hair and green eyes.

how in the world did they give birth to three VERY blonde kids?

i digress. 

After graduation they ended up going to different colleges.  
Mom headed to Eastern while Dad headed to Cumberland.

Dad ended up graduating in 3 years so they decided to get married before Mom graduated.
Although they were married mom spent her last semester living in the dorms, while Dad stayed in Somerset to work at his new job and live in the house they were renting.  They visited (wink wink) each other on the weekends.

Roger and I have been married for only 7 years.  That seems so small in comparison to the 30 that they have been married.

With all the divorces going on around us I am given such HOPE in the mere fact that Mom and Dad have made it so far!!

If they can, then we can!

Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Naked Explorer

When you share a house with 6 year old boy with a HUGE imagination you never know what is going to be walking through the living room at any point in time.

This afternoon as I sat on the sofa enjoying some quiet reading time I looked up to see Paul standing in front of me dressed in his explorer vest and ONLY his explorer vest.

"Whattcha doing there buddy boy?"

"Well, mom, I'm going to explore the back yard and catch some bugs!
I'm going to find a huge bug and then I'm going to suck that bug up just like this!"

What did I do as the responsible mother when my 6 year old son informed me that he was going out in the yard shirtless and pantless?

I gave him a BIG smile and told him to "Have fun!"

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A More Scholarly Reflection

I think too much.

I really do.

I think that's why I can stand to be alone with small children for long periods of time without adult interaction. 

I'm in my head all of the time.

I converse with myself over things that most people NEVER think about in their life.

I sometimes feel pity for myself as if I should try to be something other than what I am. 

I try to be "normal."

Can someone please tell me what normal is?

I feel weird when I get REALLY excited about sitting on the front porch early in the morning.

I feel flakey when I get excited about seeing a new kind of bird perched on our bird feeder or that pesky squirrel run across the top of the fence.

I feel like a space cadet when I spend hours on my back in the middle of the yard staring at the tree limbs against the bright blue sky.

I feel like a complete NERD when, at the end of the day, I throw on my PJs and get WAY TOO EXCITED about reading in bed!

Am I weirdo?

Don't answer that. 

I know I'm not REALLY that weird and that there are people in the world that find those things intriguing but it is hard to find those people and converse with them when you have the demands of parenthood ALL OF THE TIME.

Is it normal to get so excited about knowledge?

I love to learn!

That has been the HARDEST part of this Stay At home Mom adventure for me, not going to seminary, not being IN SCHOOL, not having intellectually stimulating conversations on a daily basis.
(see told you I was strange)

I enjoy this role of stay at home mother but I do so miss my scholarly self.
It's so hard to form thoughts when you have two children that honest to goodness need your undivided attention. The time I do have to myself is spent at the fitness center running off tension and trying to keep my heart strong so I CAN be the best mom I am able to be.

Is it weird that I get a tad bit jealous when Roger gets his syllabi at the beginning of the semester?

I sometimes look through his reading list and READ the books for the classes he is taking.
When he gets home from class I bug him to death with questions about the lectures and ask to see the class notes.

We found out after 2 years of BOTH of us attending seminary at the same time that it WAS NOT conducive to a good marriage.  We had the most ridiculous fights about who got to study when and for how long and who was responsible for the children. 
"But my paper is due before yours and I NEED you to watch the kids so I can research for it."  
"But I have a TEST TOMORROW that I haven't been able to study properly for."

It was CRAZY.

One of us had to make the sacrifice to put off our schooling until the other one got out of seminary.

I figured he was closer to graduating and since I wanted to pursue a career in Marriage and Family Therapy that the BEST lab would be my own home so I dropped out.

I was correct in calling my home a LAB.  

I have learned so much about marriage, family and myself!

I guess you could call these years that I have spent at home tending to the clan as my pilgrimage. 
It has really changed me for the better and it continues to change me. 

However,  I would be telling a fib if I didn't admit that I think I got the better end of the deal with Roger. While he is slaving away at full time school I am having the time of my life (on most days) raising two absolutely hilarious and inspiring children. 
You can't get these years back. 
I can always go back to school. 

Plus it is nice to have something to look forward to. To have a goal!

I'm not sure where I will end up career wise, if I'll be a chaplain in the hospital or a marriage and family therapist or even a minister in a church but I'll always be a mother and a wife first and for most. 

That is my main calling!

As Mother Teresa would tell the young girls who asked to join her in Calcutta, you have to start where you are and where you are is in your home with your family, after that reach out to your neighbor, then your community and then, and only then, the world. 
"Let us make our homes real places of love so that we can overcome any hatred. Love begins at home—--everything depends on how we love one another at home. Do not be afraid to love until it hurts because this is how Jesus loved.
Our homes will be what we make them, fervent or tepid, fruitful branches or dry branches. Help one another live in God’s love and you will spread the fragrance of his love everywhere."
-mother T

"We are commanded to love God and our neighbor equally, without difference. We don’t have to look for the opportunities to fill this command, they’re all around us, twenty-four hours a day. You must open your eyes wide so that you can see the opportunities to give wholehearted free service right where you are, in your family. If you don’t give such service in your family, you will not be able to give it to those outside your home."
-mother T

It was nice to type out my thoughts because I have to search deep within to get my true feelings out. 
I feel more like a person when I get the opportunity to process my thoughts and I  begin to feel less like the jungle gym and play thing that my children believe me to be.

Last night before bed I started looking through some pictures.
I came across this one of Anna and could not stop looking at it.
She looks so grown up to me.
Her face structure has changed so much in the past few months.
She is no longer considered a toddler.
She has moved up to preschooler status.

I'm currently in this very weird stage in life.
I feel too mature for the younger crowd and too immature for the older crowd.

I can't really figure out where I fit.

I just turned 27 and I have a 6 year old and a 3 year old.
It feels really weird to be younger than every one in the room but have the oldest kids.

Once a young mom, always a young mom.

I have changed a lot with each year that I have been a mother.
I assume I still have a LOT more changing to do.
These kids have REALLY done a wonderful job at teaching me patience, humility and self sacrifice.
Being forced to come out of myself to serve others at such a young age has taught me a lot.

However, being a mother can be EXTREMELY draining and frustrating.
Over the years I have found that the best way to make it through the hard parts is to cling to other mothers.
I become tribal.

There is a WONDERFUL program called Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) for women with a child or children ranging in age from 0 to 5.  They meet once every other week for a 2 to 2 1/2 hour meeting that starts with a prayer time and devotion, continues on with some sort of interesting speaker and then ends with small group discussion.  The weeks they aren't meeting are full of play dates and mothers nights out.  It is a wonderful way of surrounding yourself with women who KNOW what it is like to have a child attached to the hip 24/7.  
Child care is available at the meetings so the women drop the kids off at the children's program and then head on into the meeting room where they enjoy a nice warm breakfast together which is typically full of detoxing from spending so much time with little ones without adult interaction.

With all that said..... MOPS starts back Aug 19th and I am SO READY for it to begin!

I've been mops hopping to find the right fit for me so I have my fingers crossed that this one that I am about to hop on into is going to be the right fit.  There are several meet up groups in town that all meet at different times. This new one I am trying out meets on Friday from 9:30am to Noon. 

I think you can go to the MOPS international website to find a MOPS near you!

Until then, here is little Anna taking her afternoon walk with her watering can.

stopping to water a neighbors tree

sweet smile

we found a lottery ticket

lunch time!