Family · Health · Perspective

I’m Back with Christmas Music

I’m Back!

Sitting at my desk at work, listening to “Silver and Gold” on pandora radio. I dabbled in Christmas music last week, but my office mates weren’t keen on it. They are Thanksgiving purists.

It was a h-e- double hockey sticks of a fall. I was sick for half of October and all of November. One IV dose and three oral antibiotics later and I’m feeling like a functional adult again! Meanwhile, I still have two kids, a job, and volunteer responsibilities. As is typical for me, I overdid life and my body rebelled. Memory and thoughts got fuzzy, hand and face were numb, you know all those weird MS things. My NP just hugged me while I cried at my last visit.

Time to look at life priorities again. Illness makes it obvious that something has to change. After five days of difficult conversations with my husband, we are back on the same page. No plan, but at least we are talking in the same direction about the load on my plate.

I’m not one to dwell on negative things. On to looking forward to Christmas! On Thanksgiving Day, since we previously celebrated with both sides of the family, the kids and I put up Christmas decorations. They ate nachos and wore Santa hats. It was glorious! We battled our unlit, pre-lit but not working artificial tree and then the 90% working set of white Christmas lights. I let my daughter put up the Nativity, but then reorganized it. She refused to place any people or animals off the creche. That was one crowded party!

Today after school, we begin work on the church Christmas program. Thank goodness this one calls for a whole jumble of angels. All the little girls want to be angels! Last year we had to pull out fairy wings from the dress-up box at the house to equip everybody.

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Winter is (mostly) here! Although it is sunny and 48 degrees F now, this is what it looked like last week. I enjoy a good white winter!

Happy December 3rd!

Much love — Jen

Creativity · Family · Parenting

The Piano Guys

Shhh… It’s a secret. Ironic, I know, that I’m putting this on my blog if it’s a secret. However, my kids don’t read what I write. I think they listen to me at least part of the time, but read my blog entries? ….Not so much.

We bought tickets for the Piano Guys Christmas show in December!!!!

I’m thrilled!

Our elementary school music teacher introduced the kids to The Piano Guys. When I say “introduced” take it that she plays their music for them at school. He’s a BIG fan of both his music teacher and The Piano Guys music. This is his favorite song. Students are also allowed to start orchestra in 4th grade. He chose the cello. Seriously, my child is a fan.

Cello
Bringing home the cello for the first time!

My 9 year old son asked for two things for Christmas this year. He was on the ball since it’s only September and still 90+ degrees F. The request came back in July! He would like tickets to see the Piano Guys Christmas show and to build some sort of greenhouse for his garden. How fabulous are those requests?! I’m still working on the greenhouse idea. The kit versions that our local farm storms sell probably wouldn’t handle our persistent Midwest winds. The concert ticket option fits in beautifully with our effort to facilitate memories with and for our children as gifts.

His music teacher told him the tickets were sold out. Good thing mom was on it about two months ago! Boom.

Faith · Family · Love · Parenting · Perspective

Tempo

Life here is slowly returning to a more normal pace. Lentando.

grayscale piano keys
Photo by Pixabay

The kids and I fell asleep on our couch last night. We read Llama Llama Red Pajama. That Llama sounds an awful lot like my 6yr old.

We prayed together. Each of us took turns praising for something we are thankful for and praying for someone who might be sick, sad, hungry or mad. May our eyes be opened and our hands ready to humbly serve those around us.

I woke an hour later and carried my children to their beds. I’m still able to lug my 75 pounder, but I’m not sure how much longer. I’ve got him by about 60 pounds and 12 inches. He’ll outgrow me in the coming 5 years.

Two hours later my husband walked in, finally home from a work trip. Sleepily I told him how nice it was to have him home. I don’t communicate exceptionally well at midnight.

Today will bring about the hustle and bustle of shuttling between swim lessons, basketball camp, a trip to the dentist and work responsibilities. Even this isn’t consistent with our lives 6 weeks ago, but we are getting closer.

Our cadence is slowing from affrettando. Too vigorous. Too chaotic. Like that flurry in the middle of a song, we are over the peak of summer.

We are falling into a new, more comfortable rhythm.

Faith · Family · Health · Parenting · Perspective

Heart Check – Thursday

A podcast I listen to starts out with a few questions from one host to another. They call it a “heart check.”

What’s in your ear?

What’s pulling at your heart?

What book is in your hand?

I’ll also add for this post (because I like food)…

What’s in your mouth?

So, Jen, what’s in your ear lately?

–Yesterday, it was my Pandora thumbprint station. I was solo in the office for most of the day, thus almost a completely uninterrupted soundtrack for the day. Eclectic, as is my taste in music, songs range from the last 6 decades and a wide variety of genres. A personal favorite is Ashokan Farewell, but that might be followed up by Rump Shaker (Wreckx’n’Effect), a song from Ray LaMontagne, the Avett Brothers, Meghan Trainor, Amos Lee, Lee Brice, George Strait, or Casting Crowns (among many, many others).

What’s pulling at your heart?

–Of course my kids and family. Anxiety. Worldwide events that are completely beyond my realm of physical connection. How can I contribute to those around me? How can I be a more patient mother, wife, and friend? After a meeting last night…. when will I ever stop being socially awkward?!!!! 30 years of socializing hasn’t made me a social butterfly. Still inept at the art of surface-style conversation.

What book is in your hand?

–I truly love my 5:30am quiet reading time. I am awake to see the sun rise quietly and peacefully. The past month, I’ve reread three Anne of Green Gables books: 1, 3, & 4. Apparently somewhere in the last 25 years, book #2 disappeared. My devotions in my study Bible are out of Psalms. This morning, I finished “365 Thank You’s” by John Kralik. Focusing on gratitude, he turned his life around one thank you note at a time. Inspiring!

What’s in your mouth?

–Like all people vainly trying to shed the winter carb-fest padding,  focusing on better food choices, I’ve been packing a bountiful amount of fruits and veggies in my daily lunches at the office. Due to my MS med, I have to hit the carbs first thing in the morning to settle my stomach. Therefore, I make my lunch vegetable based instead of building it up from bread or pasta. Almost all my veggie-based meals feature the previous night’s protein choice, aka leftovers. Makes for a lot of variety! Yesterday’s masterpiece:
salad

Mixed baby greens (thank you husband for buying a super large container of these at an amazing discounted price!)
Fresh Mushrooms
Leftover BBQ Chicken
A handful of French fried onions (the ones without whey)
Balsamic Viniagrette (I only use vinaigrettes, no dairy! But if you go this route, be sure to make your own or read the labels.)
I wash and re-use this Subway salad container daily. It’s the perfect size for my lunch bag.

That sums up my Thursday morning heart check. What does your heart check look like today?

Much love — Jen

Creativity · Family · Perspective

Grasp – Free Fall

via Daily Prompt: Grasp

Some mornings just need a moment to fall into place. I’m not grasping life by the horns today. That was yesterday’s chaos. Let the chips fall where they may!

My desk is fully visible, sans the mountains tackled yesterday. My to-do list is relatively short.

Instead, I’m choosing to sit back in my desk chair and listen to some acoustic John Mayer.

 

Free Fallin' Acoustic
Tom Petty original was a favorite song to sing along to in the car on the way to high school with my sister.

 

Early morning devotions. Kids dressed and off to school. Connection with my husband. 10min FitSugar abs workout. My gallon jug of water and a bag of snap peas prepped for snacking at my desk. Mascara and lip gloss applied. Quick drive to work.

Ready. Set. Go.

Grasping life as it comes, but taking a moment to sing a classic.

Isn’t it all about balance? The push vs. the pull? Catch and release? The firm hold and the free falling moment?

Grasp. Free Fall.

 

Perspective · Uncategorized

Carpool playlist

Yesterday’s carpool playlist. Short and eclectic with my personalized commentary.

Number 1.

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This song has mad bongo skills and is one of my personal favorites for kitchen dancing. Also a dance song at the end of “Despicable Me.”

Number 2.

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I just want to celebrate… Another day of living! Generally speaking, this is my personal motto. I know how fragile life is and that the faultiness of the human body is inevitable. So celebrate today and that your heart is beating. You have a purpose today!

Number 3.

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No amazing message here. I just enjoy Panic! At the Disco and his amazing vocals.

Number 4.

imageI enjoy singing to this one. My parents thought her voice was like fingernails on a chalkboard when I was in high school.

Number 5.

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Come on Patty. Get it together…  Classic country with a great beat. Seriously can’t beat Prime Country if you’re a fan of country music.

Yesterday I had about 90 miles in carpool driving with school drop off, then preschool pickup at 11, followed by the 3:15 1st grade crew and being the drop-off for CLASH youth group. And of course, my job in between all these jaunts to the school and back out again to the office, occasionally grabbing filters or a part for the guys in the shop. I get to do almost the exact same thing today!

You may have noticed KIDZBOP on the menu. KIDZBOP makes my ears bleed… but occasionally I’ll click on it as a distraction for my littles. If the song is terrible and has a bad message, I turn it off again.

I introduced the kids to Scott Joplin a few days ago in the form of the Entertainer. It’s such a fun song to play on the piano! They weren’t quite sure about its entertainment value… Guess I’ll just have to keep introducing them to new – read it: old – music!

Family · Perspective

Daily Prompt: Vanish

via Daily Prompt: Vanish

 

Two immediate thoughts on this word.

  1. It’s been a ridiculously stressful day at work. On top of normal, typical work stuff it was an inservice day at our school and my 4yr old has a terrible cold coupled with a terrible feeling-awful temper. Both my precious littles were at work with me today. All day. Mostly good. Some tear my own hair out moments. And I’m currently wrapping up my desk to make it to the 5:30 PTO mtg. In terms of work stuff – I’d appreciate if the items on my list this week would VANISH and of course, be done. I don’t want less work. I just wish they were already done.
  2. If I’m not careful, I might go home and make a whole bag of marshmallows VANISH. That’s fairly self-explanatory. Stress eating. Not cool.

Here’s to tomorrow being smoother. It was still a wonderful day. My frustrations are petty compared to many other’s concerns and I will humbly put them down where they belong.

As a positive, I did purchase a few new piano books. I look forward to testing the waters on them tomorrow. My kids would also like a ukulele and to learn how to play. Can’t beat that for randomness, right?