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!




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 · Parenting · Perspective

Flexible Thinking

After “officially ruining” my 7yr old’s day by requesting he get dressed for school this morning – which I might add we had a 5 day break for Parent Teacher conferences, President’s Day and then a 2hr late start due to an ice storm! – I’ve apparently decided to binge eat myself thru my morning at work with a healthy chicken noodle soup, less healthy croissants, and unhealthy Girl Scout Thin Mints.


It’s been a banner eight hours since I got out of bed. It’s only 1:25pm.

Mixed into the muddle of this morning, I had the most uplifting text conversation with my dear friend Sarah at Horizon Mental Health. She is an amazing person, friend, college roommate, mother, wife, therapist… I could go on and on. The past few days, she’s been helping me sort out how I can better communicate with, guide, and connect with my 7yr old son.

My son has been thriving at school. He excels with his friends, peers, and in almost every activity he tries. When a friend was unhappy at school because he had to miss recess and read to finish an assignment, he stayed in with him and read his book at the next desk over. He is respectful with his teachers and coaches at school, youth group, and in community sports. Responsible, kind, loving, friendly, willing to work with others – all personality traits he possesses.

But whoa! We are not clicking at home the past few months. The last three months are also our busiest at work, craziest with family holidays, and then we all had various cases of influenza A, B, stomach flu, and some other weird respiratory virus. We are all out of whack!

What I’ve learned since November is that as his mother, I AM WRONG ALL. THE. TIME.

Me: “There’s 13 grades in school if you count Kindergarten.” Him: “There is NO SUCH THING as a 12th grade! You are WRONG!” Me: “Yes buddy, I taught 12th graders. They are called seniors. It’s the last year of school before you go to college or a trade school or get a full-time job.” Him: “You are WRONG!” Then I walked away from the debate because this wasn’t a war I wanted to fight. I love him too much to argue about absolutely everything.

Argument after argument. He gets angry and tells me I am wrong or he just isn’t going to do it (like wear pants or walk to his bedroom at bedtime – completely normal daily things). We are “bossing” him around.

My amazing friend directed me to a thought process call “flexible thinking.” I started researching it upon our initial conversation. My son is a “rigid thinker.” Very bright, likes structure, and gets his world rocked when there is unexpected change. Sometimes he is able to go with the flow. Other times, he is a mule with his hooves cemented in the ground.

As his mother and the main parent at home on the weekends and after school (my husband’s work schedule puts this in my wheelhouse), I am the one who typically is introducing the change or requiring him to be flexible.

Frankly, we need to dial back the frustration and find our workable space again.

A few things we will be trying to implement in our house after learning about “flexible thinking”:

  • A better framework for a schedule before and after school
  • A better framework for the weekend schedule
  • A process for him to adjust when it is out of his control WITHOUT arguing.
    • Breathe. Accept that some things are out of his control. Decide how he wants to proceed. Carry out his plan.
    • An example: T-man, in 5 minutes we are heading home. Five minutes later, it is now time to go home from the office.–“Breathe. Accept that even though you want to do x, y, and z before we leave, it is time to go now.” Then he will need to make his own plan for how to handle this and carry it out. This plan will likely look like him picking up his backpack, grabbing his snack and heading to the car. But if I suggest this, I guarantee it will be met with resistance.

Last week, I told a friend that I realized that I didn’t really have any life goals right now except keeping the wheels on this bus. The bus symbolizes my family. I have to keep us going.  I guess with every flat tire or change oil light, I’ll learn a new skill and be ready for the next challenge.

We don’t have to stay on the beaten path. Let’s be adventurers! It would be fantastic if we could ride the bus with minimal breakdowns, without the wheels coming off, and maybe enjoy the ride.


Creativity · Family · Parenting · Perspective

Deep Thoughts: Kid Style

  • Elephant poop.
  • Ketchup.
  • Mud boots.
  • Dying of thirst.
  • What is a different name for salt?
  • Fun Dip: specifically the blue colored kind.
  • Play date plans for today.
  • What did my teacher say at parent teacher conferences this morning?

These are just a few of the topics I’ve covered in the last 18hrs. Some were full blown conversations like the elephant poop- size, smell, have you seen it before? Some were smaller 30 second blips- ketchup, how we like ketchup and it makes things taste better.

Young kids are so refreshingly spontaneous! Life is truly all about finding enjoyment in the small daily moments.



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

Everything Hurts

Aaaaaannnnndddd……. it’s official. Thru a Lysol and Thieves mixed haze….

Confirmed Influenza A in our house. That wasn’t stomach flu in my little boy early this morning. It was the onset of Influenza.


My precious little guy is currently sleeping. Tylenol is keeping the fever to a manageable, but not gone, level. He’s drinking fluids.

When we asked him what hurt after his swab was finished at the clinic, he said “everything hurts.”

I type this between scrubbing down surfaces with Clorox and Lysol in a hopefully not-in-vain bid of prevention. The tricky thing about influenza is that it’s contagious 24 hours before symptoms appear. So when we snuggled, read his ocean book, and fell asleep together the virus was already flying.

The sickest state in the United States just got another confirmed case. Please say a prayer for us.