Faith · Family · Health · Love · Parenting · Perspective

Long Hiatus

Back to writing. This has been a goal for months. Cue the triumphant music!

Shortly before this long writing hiatus began, my life was increasingly frazzled by anxiety. I’d been battling this for months… basically the majority of 2018. After suffering a couple actual legitimate anxiety attacks while my husband was away on a trip and then (quickly after) chosen to sit on the jury for a brutal murder case, I sought help from my family practitioner. She helped me get chemically back on track with the assurance that with a very small amount of anxiety medication, my already strong coping skills would kick back in.

She was correct. I stopped wanting to run away from my family. The crazy sweating, racing thoughts, and desire to be alone stopped! My coping skills like reading, exercise, washing dishes, etc… were able to climb back to the surface and work their magic.

Good thing those stopped because baseball started for my son in March and ran thru July. Even after 4.5 straight months of baseball, he was disappointed when it was over! I ate more hot dogs in those months than I have in my entire life. We started the season wrapped in blankets wearing gloves and ended it sweating thru tank tops and shorts. Totally worth it!

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Pee Wee District Champions!

My daughter had 6 weeks of a coach pitch/ t-ball combo in the mix as well. The kids had us hopping all summer. Something at the ball field Monday, Tuesday, Friday, Saturday (all day) and Sunday evenings means that this mama is investing in better lawn chairs next spring. It’s on my Christmas list. The kind of lawn chairs that fold up and have hydraulic shocks — the deluxe model – will be worth the cost.

We took a family vacation to South Carolina in June to visit family and introduce the kids to the Atlantic Ocean. They flew for the first time. Nerve wracking for me, but honestly, they gracefully handled layovers, a diverted flight to Charleston and tarmac time due to a storm, turbulence when our pilots squeezed us into Columbia’s airport before the storm hit again, and security when SOMEONE put an open water bottle in my bag unbeknownst to me. (eye roll)

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Family in South Carolina

After a flight to Las Vegas in March, my spine/ lower back started to hurt. After solid scoldings from my family practitioner, husband, sisters, and a nurse friend, an MRI revealed a bulging disc at L5 – S1. This is actually a relief given my MS history. I was flippant about how serious this was until I stopped being able to move without pain. Up, down, walking, sleeping, standing… it was all painful. I started Physical Therapy. There it was revealed that along with the disc issue, my SI joint was also rotated. How incredibly humbling it is to go from running half marathons to not being able to walk! Anyone who has been thru PT knows that it’s a slow, meticulous battle. I graduated PT, bought a SI support band (Serola BioMechanics gets 5 stars from me!), and recently have waded back into running. It’s only one mile at a time, but as the saying goes “you have to learn to crawl before you walk.”

Mixed into the fun was VBS, fishing, playground time, family time, wheat harvest, fall crop planting, our full-time business, and many many more activities. Summer seemed to rush by. I’m not sad it’s over. It wasn’t a hustle, nor did it feel terribly stressful. It was simply FULL. Full of good memories and time spent together that we all appreciate.

Here we are now. Back to school and September is already rolling. I will try to write more regularly. I’ve felt it stirring in my mind and my fingers to get back to it.

Much love — Jen

Perspective

Destination: Key West, FL

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Destination: Key West, Florida
Purpose: Connect time with husband, relax, and as a business owner- a smidge of working/ board meeting remotely

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While we were there, we checked out Hemingway’s house and his 6-toed prophylactic cats. Pictured are both his pool and the “last red cent” he threw down when he returned home from cavorting with his future wife in Europe. His current (at the time) wife was none too pleased about his travel and put in a pool while he was gone. He accused her of spending his “last red cent” installing this beautiful in-ground pool. It wasn’t a smooth marriage…

The Arts and Culture Museum and Mel Fisher’s Treasure Museum were both excellent stops. The Shipwreck Museum left a lot to be desired. The viewing tower was damaged by Hurricane Irma and closed. I’ll consider our entrance fee to that one a donation towards rebuilding after the hurricane.

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Truly, there are fantastic fruity both non-alcoholic and spirited drinks all over Key West. Did you know they don’t put pickles in their Bloody Mary’s down there? Maybe that’s just a Midwest USA thing….

Food was expensive. The Inn we stayed at on Duval had a continental breakfast, so we appreciated the simple breakfast most mornings. We ate well while we were on the island. It was March Madness basketball and our team was in the Elite 8, so we ate and watched at Jack Flatts two nights.

One morning, we took in a French bakery. Another afternoon, the French restaurant “La Petit Paris” had delectable sandwiches. We visited the Hog’s Breath for appetizers. After a warm day on the water, we enjoyed dinner at the “Old Town Mexican Café.” Our final evening meal was at the Blue Macaw with live music.

Traveling the island. Bring comfortable walking shoes or sandals! We walked EVERYWHERE with two exceptions: 1) the airport to Duval Street, and 2) Uber to the harbor and airport. The taxi drivers were absolutely crazy drivers. Uber drivers seem to be a bit more careful with their vehicles… and the pedestrians walking along the roads.

I found a good book, “The Pink Suit,” on a shelf at our Inn. There was also a nice hammock by the pool. Fantastic combination! The iguana wasn’t by our place. He was down by the docks on a bush. Silly creature wasn’t the least bit concerned about us. That speaks to the full-to-the-brim population on the Key.

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This is Ryan. He was on our fishing expedition. I was just getting ready to stick my finger in the mouth of a fish to take out the hook and throw him back. That’s what we do with fish in the Midwest. Apparently, reef fish have hidden teeth… and I would have had a new finger ornament until we got back to shore. It would have looked lovely with my curly, wind blown boat hair, and sun-encouraged freckles.

Ryan was excellent. I highly recommend our outfitter “Gulfstream Fishing.” It was $65/ person plus the license for 6 hours. The boat held multiple parties. Food and drink were available on the boat. Everyone was friendly and helpful!

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We only had 5 days for the entire trip including the travel portion, but we made it worthwhile. Neither of us are big partiers, so there wasn’t any table dancing. (haha) Naps, drinks, food, sightseeing, a day on the water with fishing, and reading. We had the conversations that connect us as a married couple, not just business partners. We hit the topics that needed to be covered outside the walls of our office. Flirting with each other and laughing is so refreshing!

Family · Parenting

Balloons

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Ah the joy of the Christmas vacation from school…

I’d like to freak out on  thank the amazing and unassuming sales lady who offered my children these free balloons on a solid 18″ plastic stick in the mall on Monday.

We just went to get a package of socks for my husband with a gift certificate and a few last minute late Christmas gifts. We were day-after-Christmas sale virgins. What in the what?! Who knew it was like the running of the bulls?

The mall was packed. I was frazzled by the time we reached the checkout line of our first of four stores. The same woman almost ran me over with her stroller three times. It was like stroller road rage. We get to the checkout and this sweet 20 year old asks my children “Do you want a balloon?”

Exuberant yes from Thing 1 and Thing 2! I think “how nice of them to give away balloons!”

From store one to store two I am playing tetherball trying to keep my loving littles from pelting other determined shoppers speed walking thru the holiday hustle. By the checkout at store #2, I am ready to confiscate the metal detector and dollhouse that were so excitedly received on Christmas due to the behavior of the balloon holders.

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It’s like dodgeball to get from the second store to the car without pummeling someone with the beloved balloons.

Frazzled mom and dad put the offending purple and orange balloons in the backseat….  where my kids find them again this morning to go to town.

What the flip?! Was it seriously not cold enough the last few nights to deflate those suckers? By mile four of our morning car ride, they are beating each other balloon-style, my four year old is howling, and my six year old is overreacting defensively to everything his sister is howling about.

But we do love balloons. Looking back, I should have held my hand up nicely as a non-verbal stop sign when the nice young sales clerk offered the balloons.

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