Creativity · Perspective · Uncategorized

New on Friday- Top 10’s

Friday Top 10’s. A bit cliche with the number 10, but I’m going with it.

The month of November is all about what people are grateful for.  To me, being grateful is all inclusive and not just what creates happiness.

Focusing in a bit, I’m going to start posting on Fridays my top 10’s. Generally, these will be things, events or people that make me happy, bring joy, or just otherwise lift me up.

Today I’m focusing on smells. The vast majority of people have a sense of smell. I grew up with a friend that did not. It is a very rare condition called anosmia. She has never smelled anything- good or bad. Makes me think- what would my life be like without smell?

Better when next to the person with a gastrointestinal issue… Worse if I’d miss out on all the things in my list.

Jen’s Top Ten Smells
(not in any particular order, just as I thought of them)

  1. Rain
  2. Earth or dirt after a rain
  3. A warm alfalfa or prairie hay field
    view from tractor
  4. Blooming lilac bushes (not the fake lotion/ candle smell – BIG difference!)
  5. My sleepy kids when I’m snuggling them at night. Is it just me or do sleepy kids smell better?
  6. Fresh baked bread
  7. Coffee  (I actually like the smell more than the taste!)
    qnjsbtqaifsuc
  8. Cedar trees or a cedar chest
  9. My husband
  10. Freshly cut grass

 

Creativity · Perspective · Uncategorized

October

Day #1 of Year 35 started rainy and cool

In October, the turning leaves are works of art

Textures in the prairie grass make the roadsides a patchwork quilt

Soulful music serenades my day at the office

A bouquet of deep oranges, rich reds and carmelized yellows adorns my desk

Another trip around the sun

I am grateful. ❤

birthday bouquet (2)

 

Creativity · Perspective

Bodysuit Commentary

My mom firmly instilled in me that if you have nothing positive to say then say nothing at all. But…

The new fashion “thing” is to wear a bodysuit – as an adult. Yes. These are exactly like the onesies I put on my babies – only bigger. Ok… well, my babies didn’t wear anything with a plunging neckline or cutouts, but the basic design is similar.

It’s like wearing a swimsuit that snaps in the crotchal region under your jeans or shorts or whatever you choose to cover your derriere. If it isn’t one of the snap variety, then you have to pull the entire thing off each time you use the restroom. Or I guess, you could try to pull it off to the side and not wet on your own hand?

Honestly, I’m close to being speechless…

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A few thoughts:

  • If you enjoy these things, you must not have lived through them when they were “in vogue” previously. Some things are best left as fashion history. From humble beginnings as a leotard in the 1950’s (think dance, gymnastics, and fitness videos) to a torture device in the restroom for both mothers and daughters in the 1980’s, these contraptions have evolved to again reappear in modern day apparel.
  • These do make edgy, curve hugging costumes for stage performers, but I don’t need anything sequined riding up while I’m at the office or out to dinner. If I was the main attraction at a concert, I’d likely give it a whirl for the hour I needed to do handsprings across the stage singing with perfect pitch and looking blingy.
kelsea-ballerini-acm-awards-show-2017-billboard-1548
Photo credit to Billboard magazine online
  • I know I’m not deep in the fashion world. I rarely dress to be edgy. I’m nearing my mid-30’s. My running clothes make up half my wardrobe. But really? Bodysuits have returned from the 80’s for us regular folk?

If you read my blog frequently, you are likely shaking your head at the fluff I just typed out. This is quite the departure from my normal entries. I couldn’t help it. Other than my Color Run for Cancer 5K t-shirt, I haven’t bought ANYTHING in the last few months. It all seems so absurd! I promise my next post will be something more thoughtful.

Much love to you and not wearing a bodysuit,

Jen

 

Creativity · Family · Parenting · Perspective

Puddles, Bikes, and Sprinklers- Oh My!

Here we are! June 1st. We are officially one week into summer break.

To date we’ve:

  • gone fishing
  • thrown water balloons
  • watched Pete’s Dragon and ate popcorn
  • skipped every single nap
  • coach pitch practice
  • played a coach pitch baseball game
  • played one t-ball game
  • tossed the Frisbee
  • grilled the last 4/7 nights
  • played catch
  • rode bikes
  • went for walks
  • played in puddles
  • planted flowers and tomatoes
  • started summer chores which include weeding the garden and being in charge of his/her own laundry
  • missed our bedtime by at least 1.5hrs every single night
  • Memorial Day festivities – parade, bouncy house, 5K color run
  • Memorial Day visit to the cemetery to pay respects to our military and loved ones
  • ran thru the sprinkler – two different days
  • church
  • helped on the farm
  • and frustrated assisted this working mom at the office.

Whew… It’s already June 1st!

This morning I ran into a friend at the coffee shop. I don’t normally hit the coffee shop, but we are celebrating a birthday at our house today. He requested a breakfast bowl from Kettle and thus my stop.

kettleWe were talking about our summers and what we have planned. Her boys are close in age to my own crew. Her schedule sounded like it was packed with fun, but BUSY. She teaches at the local college, so she has her summers at home with the guys. They have baseball and camps and practices and reading programs and…

When she asked about our summer, I said yes – we have baseball two nights a week in the month of June. We also have one basketball camp planned for a couple mornings in July and some swim lessons when we can squeeze them in. That was pretty much it. I chose to say no to everything else.

We said no to the reading program at the library. We said no to any extra academic camps. We said no soccer camp. We said no to traveling baseball. We said no to pretty much everything else.

And it feels GOOD.

Saying NO is how we said YES to all the other things we’ve done the past week.

A few months ago, I was getting the message loud and clear that I needed to prioritize my family’s time. C’mon!!! Three different books – all with the same message – being given to me in the same week by three unique individuals?!

Yesterday, my devotion included the message of choosing WHERE to be busy with my time. This message goes for my children as well. Do I want my children to choose being busy on a tablet or in front of the TV?

Not really.

The complaint from my littles at the office yesterday was that they were bored. B.O.R.E.D. They wanted entertainment. More so, they wanted ME to entertain them.

giphy-downsized-large

Nope. Nada. Not happening. This fits firmly under the category of “Not my duty as a parent.” I explained (again) to them that I gave birth twice so they would have each other as playmates. Furthermore, they have fabulous imaginations, working eyes, legs, and arms, and a safe environment to enjoy within a block of the office. I can see them on the basketball court thru the window from my desk.

“Go outside and entertain yourselves! Create something new!”

It’s a big beautiful world out there! Kids, choose to be busy having the freedom of childhood and making memories instead of leveling up. If as children, he/she wants to spend free time practicing, that’s fine. It’s personal choice. I balk at the idea of scheduling their summers full of activities and requirements (other than normal family responsibilities – you aren’t getting out of your chores that easy!).

This summer break, we are opting to say NO, so that we can choose to say YES to quality time and fun together.

My kids will hopefully see less of this view and more of me face to face, laughing, playing, and actually being. Not just as mom – the harried, working, hustling-everybody-everywhere driver.IMG_1273

 

 

 

Creativity

Poems, Rhymes, Acronyms and Acrostics

I swear. I’ll be a 75 year old woman saying “30 days has September, April, June, and November… All the rest have 31 (except February)!”

Does anyone else do this??? I just did. I didn’t want to get the calendar out or even click the calendar button on my desktop, but I needed to know the last date of the month to figure state sales tax on my sales report.

giphy

Never Eat Sour Wheat – the four directions. North. East. South. West. An acrostic.

8 times 8 fell on the floor. Pick it up with 64. – multiplication. Rhyme.

I sound like a crazy lady mumbling all these things to myself. It seems to be how I learn and remember.  For as long as I can remember, I’ve been memorizing existing rhymes or making up ways to jog my mind.

M.A.G. – the order of the states of Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia from Left to Right. This is an acronym.

SOHCAHTOA – Sine (Opp/Hyp). Cosine (Adj/Hyp). Tangent (Opp/Adj). – Trigonometry. Another acronym.

What are your go-to’s to help you remember?

 

 

Creativity · Faith · Family · Parenting · Perspective

Keeping My Wits

Perspective. It’s all about perspective.

This past week was a doozy! Dance dress rehearsal on 8th. Church + Dance Recital + birthday party on 9th. 1st Grade Program on 10th.

dance recital bow

Birthday treats for 20 and some mild flooding at our home (which required a large pump for almost 4.5 hours) on 12th. Birthday treats for daycare on 13th.

dirt worm cups
Dirt – Worm pudding cookie cups

Playdate and more birthday treats on 14th plus a family party at the bowling alley to celebrate.

Bowling Form
My 2yr old nephew’s bowling form.

Easter egg hunt and sister-mom time on 15th. Early church service followed by fellowship with friends and Easter lunch with my family on 16th.

And a full time job during the week.

It’s safe to say I was a grump by Saturday morning. My morning run left me coughing and sputtering instead of feeling energized. This was insane. Betty Crocker I am not. Egg Hunt? Rarr….

giphy-downsized1

Perspective. That powerful thing called perspective.

Two options here: Me sitting in a corner drinking coffee refusing to talk or make eye-contact — OR — Choosing to look at this as “WOW” my family is happy, healthy and engaged in spending time together. I should make sure I’m involved!

Option 2 is ALWAYS the better option. We enjoy each other’s time and company. It makes me feel great to make others feel good with time, friendship, and yes – birthday treats and Easter egg hunts!

The aftermath: Claustrophobia began to rise up as I looked around the house last night. The dirty laundry was piled counter high when my husband emptied our three strategically placed hampers in the bathroom. At least 3 days of clean dishes sat on the counter- each new load pushed to the side and another batch washed and laid out to dry. Paths had to be cleared from the kids’ doors to their beds so we could do our bedtime routine.

Thank goodness for perspective.

We have clean water, clothes, food, shelter, and love. All are blessings that are not to be overlooked! I promise not to go Maslow on you with a chart of the hierarchy of needs, but it bears witness that if those basic D-needs are met there is little room for complaint.

 It would be easy to look at the last 10 days and curl up in panic mode. (I did come close a few times in the moment!!!)  Instead, as my mom says, I (with my two sisters’ help) mindfully “flipped” as quickly as possible to the constructive side to keep my wits and appreciate the people and situations around me. It’s all about your view.

PERSPECTIVE.

Eternal question: is the glass half-full or half-empty?

**Here’s the recipe for the dirt-worm cups. They really are a treat! If you have to go non-dairy, almond milk works better than soy. Coconut milk would probably be good too but I’m not sure how well the pudding would set? I quadrupled the recipe for his class and put 6 short gummy worms in each cup- three under the cookies and three on top. The kids had a fabulous time digging the worms out of the pudding and cookie mix before eating!

 

Creativity · Family · Parenting · Perspective

The Childhood Fort

It occurred to me as I was cleaning out flower beds in the gorgeous spring sun that I had a wonderful childhood. I’ve appreciated it before, but as a parent, my perspective shifts and deepens.

I was trimming down the pampas grass. It grew to about 12ft tall and the bundle of stems was approximately 18 inches in diameter. Each stem was 0.5-1″ thick. The winter had stripped most of the loose layers off.

pampas grass

I couldn’t stop thinking about how perfect those stems would be for constructing a fort!

Did you ever build forts when you were a kid using the random branches, boards, and other materials that you scrounged up? Did you dig into a natural low spot and set up a shack? Find that perfect arrangement of tree branches to pretend you had a house?

My sisters and I built forts everywhere we went – our house, the shelter belt of trees, down by the creek, at our grandparents, the trees behind the church between baseball games, etc. The list could go on and include anywhere we traveled from ages 5-12.

My dad lost half a dozen hammers to our construction escapades. He found the majority when he cleared out the area where we built our magnum opus – two stories, scrap lumber with wooden fence posts, a ladder, door, and window. The neighbor boys (2 miles away) came to help us put on the roof. We took fabric scraps and nailed them up for curtains. It was amazing and apparently full of dad’s lost hammers!

cabbagepatch-618x412Many lunchboxes filled with PB&J, cucumbers, and little Thermoses of water accompanied us out to the fort. Our favorite dolls would spend the day playing house or exploring “the forest.” When it was time to come in, my mom would honk the car horn. She does this now with our kids, who adventure around the farm on their own.

As I trimmed and stacked the pampas grass, I felt unbelievably lucky to have those experiences. Carefree in the country, sheltered from the world’s cares. Basking in the summer sunlight and smelling like the trees and grass when we came in at dark.

I want that kind of idyllic memory for my children: experiencing the freedom of imagination and nature. The simplicity and creativity of childhood illustrated in the building of a fort.

I kept the stems and trimmings.

Although we arrived home from a birthday party with only 30 minutes until their bedtime, we went outside to play until the sun was gone. My son’s eyes lit up when I told him he could have all the material I cleaned out of the flower beds. With excitement, last night they built their own fort.