Family · Parenting · Perspective

Fire – Home Alone Style

giphy4En Fuego. Seriously. It’s like we are living like we are on fire around here. It’s not pretty. Not the kind of nice little fire pit flame or the warm happy tables with flaming pots you find in fondue restaurants.

giphy5It’s more like this.

I knew we’d been feeling the heat for awhile. Juggling sick kids. Sick adults. A tonsillectomy. School. Birthday treats. Cleaning out and donating an entire carload of clothes that are too small for my fast growing kids. An upcoming dance recital. Busy season at work – only it has continued an extra two months at this point. A new volunteer position. 90% good things!

However, the poo hit the fan this weekend when I realized that I can’t locate my son’s birth certificate. I found out a few months ago that I had “misplaced” his social security card at some point in all our home renovations… but I didn’t know I couldn’t find his birth certificate. The all-important certificate is necessary for him to be allowed to play baseball this spring.

giphy6At our Sunday afternoon parents’ meeting, the mom organizing the coaches and kids announced that she wants a copy of the certificate by next Sunday. Apparently all the other parents actually KNOW where their children’s important documents are and many had actually brought the birth certificate with them.

That’s right folks. It’s time to take away my “Mother of the Year” badge.  I guess you could if I’d ever been awarded one in the first place!

Which I haven’t.

For the record, I don’t really buy into that line of thinking. My kids are loved, cared for, provided for, and as safe as I can make them in this uncontrollable world.

I could have probably spent Saturday afternoon looking for the missing document. I didn’t. We played baseball out in our yard as a family. Then the kids helped me transplant the roses and live forevers from my winter garden location to their new homes in the beds next to the house. To finish the night, we all put on ever-stylish bowling shoes and enjoyed more time together at the local bowling alley.

It was a fun day. I regret nothing.

I should probably start looking for that birth certificate though… after work, dinner, and bedtime for the kids…

Much love — Jen


Side note — if you search giphy or google for fire images… WHOA. That’s some weird stuff for your Monday!




Faith · Family · Parenting · Perspective

Family Hike

Today we walked away from it all. The piles of laundry, unwashed dishes, shoes scattered across the mud room floor, and the business phone- we just walked away.

It was glorious.

For 1.5 hours, we hiked a nearby pasture. Up the hills and down the draws, my husband, kids and I walked the deer paths. High up in a tree herons were nesting. The wild turkeys and owls made their presence known.

Paying special attention to avoid the honey locust trees, we found a grove of walnuts. The kids collected turkey feathers. The big prize would have been deer antler sheds, but we didn’t find any.

Crossing the creek multiple times, we either walked a natural log jam or found a fallen tree to place across the shallow water. I can firmly say that none of us will be tightrope stars.

My phone came out once to take one picture. Neither my husband or kids know I took a snapshot of this moment. It was a joyous reprieve from connectivity. No service meant no intrusions into our family time.

Be still and know. Nature has a way of cleansing the mind and opening the soul.


Family · Health · Perspective

It takes a village

It takes a village… and I still hate tonsils. Ugh. Complications make this healing process slower…IMG_3101

Day 10 post tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy.

Sweet girl tried school for 3 hours yesterday morning. Her brother rode the bus, but I drove her in so I could talk to her teacher. 8am-11am she quietly enjoyed Kindergarten. Instead of crackers for snack, she ate an entire string cheese stick! <—- This is BIG news! She has barely eaten anything in the last week unless by force. Her little denim jeggings are now baggy and falling down.

She was absolutely wiped out when I picked her up. I gave her a choice to eat whatever she wanted for lunch. She chose a corn dog… so I drove thru Sonic and ordered her one on our way home from town. It took her 30 minutes to eat it, but HALLELUJAH! She ate the whole thing. Don’t judge on nutrition. The kid just needs to eat something.

After some serious “angry tired” attitude, I rocked her until she fell asleep for 15 minutes. We enjoyed a couple of hours of rest time after that until she crashed again in a blaze of tearful fallout from 4-6pm and for the night at 8:30pm.

This morning, after she slept all night for the first time in 10 days, she rode the bus to school for another 3 hour session. Maybe tomorrow she can attend the whole day?

Could it be that we are finally turning the corner???

It truly takes a village to orchestrate a sick/recovering child, another child, a job, and the rest of life’s little details.

I couldn’t have done this without my amazing husband. He tag-teamed our all-nighters with her. He takes over holding her when she’s droopy and I need to use the bathroom. He does homework with our son and has helped with household chores. He hasn’t said a word about me being out of the office (thankfully I’m able to work from home and be flexible with my hours IN the office).

Grandparents have been a life-saver! My father-in-law is seasonally employed and this is his off-season. He’s only a mile and a phone call away. D is hands-on and loves to be involved with his grandkids! My mom spent two days and a night helping at our house. She also took M for a day at her house so I could work. My dad was happy to hold her at our son’s 2nd grade program. Obviously from the amount of cuddles necessary, this has NOT been a smooth recovery.

Our neighbors and church family have volunteered to help get our son places. A couple friend of ours brought a crockpot of cheesy ham and potato casserole, salad, and cookies. Another neighbor picked up an order from the pharmacy.

My sister brought coffee one morning on her way thru for work “just because.” Our friends have checked in with us just to say “Hello” and “We are thinking of you guys!”

It takes a village. We are blessed to have a good one!

Family · Health · Parenting · Perspective

I hate tonsils

Tonsils and adenoids. My sweet little girl had her “monsters” removed Tuesday.

Months of chronic tonsillitis predate this surgery. The last round wasn’t just tonsils; her whole body was covered in a viral rash and the skin on her hands peeled off. We also discovered her drug allergies to the most common bacterial antibiotics.

Since Tuesday, we’ve been walking a fine line of OTC pain meds, timing, staying hydrated and trying to keep something soft in her stomach. Exhaustion, patience, bribery, and a lot of board games and coloring fill the hours.


At 4am today when I got up to give acetaminophen, she was restless and complaining of a stomach ache. Then she vomited. Then her fever shot up above the threshold the surgical discharge papers allowed.

We tag teamed holding her and checking her fever until my husband was able to convince her to sip some water and the fever reducer.

Days 5-7 are the toughest according to our surgery discharge  information. Well Hello Day 5!

I’m keeping a countdown. Halfway there. We are now approximately 5 days from having this all behind us. Slow and sure. Healing. Hoping for a healthier little ‘sugar bean.’

Family · Love · Parenting · Perspective

Little Einsteins

Presto! Allegro!

The notes of Franz Schubert mixed with the smell of mixed berry muffins are how I’ve started my morning.

School is closed today for a deep disinfection. Yes, on a Tuesday, the illness numbers were just too high yesterday. The approximately 850 kids in our district will get a respite from the onslaught of influenza and stomach flu and respiratory viruses.

We received the word about 5:30pm yesterday. Pre-kids-Jen would have started mentally planning the day. Two-kids-later-Jen acknowledges that whatever I plan is likely to get wrecked, so we’ll set a couple loose goals and wing it.


For instance, pre-kids-Jen and husband thought this would be our “adult bathroom.” We have another bathroom, so this one should be toyless, right?

Pre-kids-Jen enjoyed playing the notes of Schubert on the piano for relaxation. Two-kids-later-Jen gets her classical music via Little Einsteins on Disney Jr.

Honestly, there are some things I miss about pre-kids-Jen. She had time flexibility to go for a run and sleep when sick. Her non-work schedule consisted of weekends away for weddings, friends and spontaneous trips with her husband. She wore heels, matched purses to her outfits, and accessorized with trendy jewelry.

As I sit here smelling muffins baking and listening to cartoons, I realize how much my priorities have changed. I love these two little individuals.


I’m not Mary Poppins. Of course, the process has been frustrating and exhausting! I have not handled all of it selflessly or with grace. If you live near me, you may have heard me loudly telling my kids (ummmm…. yelling) to get in the car. Or perhaps you’ve pulled out of the parking lot and seen me with my head resting on the steering wheel?


It is like being in a rock tumbler. I haven’t lost my identity. Life has tumbled and changed it. I’ve rubbed off some of the sharp spots and my more positive traits are being polished. Slow and steady, one pair of footie jammies and Little Einstein episode at a time, I’m becoming more patient, compassionate, and understanding how deep love can be.

Family · Health · Parenting · Perspective


Horoscopes are like fortune cookies. Rarely are they actually applicable. Even more rare are the moments I read them.


Today, in my bed-ridden state, I decided to check mine out. Influenza A took down all four members of my family this weekend. Patient T, age 7, brought it home from school. Over the next 36 hours, we dropped in 12 hour increments to the fever, cough, body aches, and extreme fatigue.

I’m praising God that 2/4 of us are now past the fever. Boys rule. Girls drool. In other words, the males are fever free.

Back to the horoscope. “This is a rich time to meet diverse people. You could experience a wonderful trip to a museum or university that brings an opportunity to learn and expand your thinking.”

That’s pretty specific don’t you think? I was hoping for “you won’t die wearing 4 layers of pajamas with Kleenex stuck in your nose reeking of cough drops.” But hey! Bring on the new diverse people and trips to a museum or university!

Well thank you horoscope for the giggle and eye-roll! You hit the nail on the head today.

Much love and Lysol- Jen

Faith · Family · Health · Parenting

Friday Tidbits

Four short tidbits for Friday

  1. Pink cowboy boots. It’s not a PE day, so little miss is excited to wear her boots to school today. Physical Edu stifles fashion in Kindergarten.
  2. What is up with stomach flu and Friday’s lately?! Pitter patter of feet to the bedroom at 2:18am. “Mom- my stomach hurts really bad!” Little man down…
  3. Usborne books- This is one of my daughter’s favorite Christmas presents. Washable ink. You stamp your finger or thumbprints then let it dry. Each page has a different theme. We spent an hour drawing faces on the prints we made previously.
  4. Morning reading: Jeremiah 27-29 and Sacred Marriage. Two interesting reads! The repeating theme in Jeremiah: warning after warning- second chance after third chance after infinite chances to turn back to God. Whew! What patience! More on Sacred Marriage in another post.