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Friday, August 30, 2013

The Normal One?

In most every family, there's a sibling claiming to be the "Normal One".

Admittedly, once upon a time - I staked that claim as well.  I thought because my (baby) brother did things differently, that I had it ALL over him.  Then I got older (I won't say grew up) and talked to him more as an adult, not as my "baby brother" and realized, hmmmm... maybe he's got it together more than I think I do.

The "normal" one?  HA!  Me?  I think not.

Let's face it...I'm just fine NOT being "normal".  Normal's just a setting on the dryer.

I don't believe anyone's really "normal."  I think we all have our very own special issues that we work around to feel "normal."

Many of my friends read my blog.  Those who have known me for a really long time know most of the stuff in my life.  I don't hide anything, it's all there.  They just nod their heads like, "yep, that's Jenn."  Others who haven't known me that long often read and ask me, "How did you turn out so normal?"  HA!  I don't feel normal at all.

For me, it was about tucking it all in and functioning.

I had a lot of crap growing up.  Even though you get through and mostly over come, it's still there.  You don't forget, and the older I got, the more mistakes I made - the more crap piled up. It wasn't so much about being or appearing normal.  It was about staying alive and staying the hell out of trouble.  It's about taking responsibility for yourself and doing what's right.

I'm not unique or special.
Heck, I know there are MANY others who look at what I've been through and think,  "Pffft, that's it?  That's all you've got?"

For certain, it was all I could handle - or hide - or get beyond.

A few years back I mentioned to my friend, Karen, that she was my hero. She kindly asked me to NOT put that kind of pressure on her.  I didn't understand where she was coming from at the time, but honored her request.

She's been through some stuff.  She is one of the strongest women I know. The things that I KNOW I would have cracked under, she steam rolls over like it's nothing.  She fights for every single moment in her life & though it's not been easy - she comes out on top.  She was just functioning the best way she knew how.

I admire her strength.

I know, deep down, that I am NOT the "normal one" and I'm good with that.

I don't need to be normal, or the belle of the ball, or the one everyone looks up to, or whatever.  I just need to be me.  I need to do what I need to do to function in a proper manner and provide the most kind, loving and nurturing environment for my kids.

If that looks normal.  Great!

Thank you for reading my blog!

~Jenn

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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Some people will make you remember them - whether they're here or not!

(written on July 31, 2013 published August 27, 2013)

Today I was doing my elliptical work out, as I do every morning.

I have an incredibly eclectic mix on my "work out" play list.  I never know what's coming out...

I could go from Buck Cherry to John Cougar (yes COUGAR) to A/C D/C to JLo to Kid Rock in seconds.  Mostly the music that comes out is loud, angry, up beat or whatever it takes to get me through my morning workout...

There is no sweet or quiet music scheduled to play on this play list.

I realized during my work out that it was the anniversary of Gary's death.  When people I love, who've died, pop into my head - I say a little prayer.  I ask God to wrap His arms around them and keep them close by His side.  The next thing I knew "My Immortal" began to play.  If you don't know that song, or it's words - please click on the song title above.

THIS song.... reminds me of my brother.  No one else.

Of any death that I'd experienced in my life, the death of my brother has changed me forever.

I am truly not the same, nor will I ever be.  I'm forever changed.

Many years ago...

 "When you cried I'd wipe away all of your tears
When you'd scream I'd fight away all of your fears
And I held your hand through all of these years
But you still have
All of me"

When I was younger, I was the main caretaker of the family.  I was the oldest sibling, my parents worked and well.. whatever - I didn't lead a positive childhood.  I was in charge.  I cared for both of my brothers.  I helped them with whatever they needed.  I was their mom & dad - their disciplinarian from the time I was 7 years old.  I often resented that.  "My Immortal" captures all of that for me.

This song caught me completely off guard.

It is NOT in the "work out" play list!

The next thing I knew a stream of tears ran down my face.  Tears of sadness, of loss, of regret for not repairing our relationship and plain old missing my brother.  Unplanned tears that came on suddenly, like someone smacked me in the head - and when the song was over, the tears stopped.  Just like that.

It was at that moment that I realized my brother must have felt left out & wanted my attention.  It brought a smile to my face.  The pain lifted and a flood of love came through my heart, and I realized that my brother may be gone - but he's still around.

It was almost as if he were saying... Yeah... Um, you're praying for Gary today on his anniversary in heaven, but YA KNOW... mine is coming too -- how about a little something for your bro????

THIS is totally something Eric would do to me.  As my younger brother and the middle kid - he was a total pain in my ass.  If I looked him over even slightly in any regard - he was always right up in my face letting me know what I'd forgotten.  Especially if it was intentional...

We may have fought, we may have screamed and yelled and said things that could never be taken back - but ya know what... I'd never trade any second of any of those days.

I'm truly blessed to have had whatever time I had with my brother, and things like that song sneaking into my "work out" play list - may bring tears, but it also brings on the comfort of knowing ... he's still around.

This month has been filled with many tributes to those I've lost... I hope you can trek through all that.

In this tribute, I'd also like to reach out to those who may be struggling.

HOLD ON!
Don't let go!
My brother, Eric, decided this day 6 years ago that life just wasn't worth it.  If he'd have reached out to me, I'd have done all I could to help him.
He didn't reach out.

Please reach out....

Someone, somewhere will be devastated.  You will be missed.  You DO matter and you ARE loved.  Reach out!  Don't give up... EVER.

Life is worth it!  YOU are worth it!

Thank you for reading my tribute to my brother.

 ~Jenn

In memory of my brother Eric


Monday, August 26, 2013

Sometimes you need to re-assess friendships & decide if they stay or go....

Have you ever been in a situation where you held onto a friendship much longer than you should have?

Sucks to even say that here, in print....

Sadly - sometimes you need to go back and analyze why it is that you've given some friendships so much care and attention.

Is it still a functioning friendship?  Was it ever?

...or did you talk yourself into the idea of an actual friendship when one didn't exist?

I'm naive.  I'm the type of person who misses cues.  In some ways, I'm just sort of dumb in this area.  I just go along my merry way thinking everything is sunshine and roses, when instead - it's actually rocks and thorns.  If I haven't heard from you - I don't think you're avoiding me.  I assume you're busy and will get back with me another time.  I need the very direct - "you suck, go away."

Maybe I'm overly secure... or just dumb.  I miss a lot...

** Oooh, let me throw a disclaimer in here before red flags go up....  My dear sweet beautiful friends, no worries...  Not me...  Not you...  Wrote this a while ago, don't remember why.  We good?? **

I have been in situations in the past, however, where I've put so much of myself into a friendship and it wasn't what I thought it was.  It happens to everyone at some point in time.  Right?

Friendship is meant to be a two way street.

Admittedly, I'm one of those people who give too much and am misunderstood.  I don't expect things in return, nor should I.  You don't do for people expecting a return. You do from your heart, or you don't do.  It's in expecting the return where you end up hurt and feeling taken advantage of.

In true love and friendship, trust is the glue that keeps you from feeling taken advantage of.  It's the part of your heart that knows you're receiving what you need and giving what the other needs.

There is a point, however, where you may be in a situation - as I had been in the (distant) past where I was giving from my heart.  Trusting in a friendship and giving for the joy of giving for the sole purpose of making another person happy.

...only to realize that NOTHING will truly make this other person happy.

This other person was just miserable.  Miserable with themselves and miserable in life.  Never showed love or appreciated anything.  This person will never be happy.  I know this to be fact.

It made me terribly sad to walk away and leave that friendship to die.  When you miss the cues - the times where people just don't want you there - those are the times that open your eyes.  The times when you say, what the hell am I doing here?

The times you need to walk away.



Thank you for reading my blog!

~Jenn

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Friday, August 23, 2013

I'll bet you think this post is about you...

REPOST from August 12, 2012

Remember that old Carly Simon song, "You're So Vain"?

That's kind of how I feel sometimes when folks read my blog and call me out.

I'll bet you think this blog is about you, don't you, don't youuuuuu....

Every once in a while, I put something out there & have someone wondering or even asking, "Is that about me?" or just assume it is and flat out assault me.

Maybe a little strong, but you get the point.

To set the record straight, unless I've specifically named you or given you a private heads up...It's not about you.  OK, maybe that's not completely true - because I have used some real examples without saying so, but they're not always negative examples.

Besides, I have angry blogged AND told the person they were being blogged.  See, no problems...If I didn't tell you,  It's not you!

Come on folks...  Has anyone here, who reads my blog, ever felt that I was afraid to speak my mind?  Ever??  Yeah - I didn't think so.

Rest assured, if you're my friend or someone who knows me on a regular basis - you should know that if I have an issue - I'll tell you.  I'm not going to blog you.  I have no problem confronting my issues directly.

Mostly my writings are past experiences, generalizations and things I've seen over and over again. Many times I post something I'd written a year ago, when certain things WERE relevant, but I didn't want to put them out there.  Some things have nothing at all to do with me or my life at all.  I just aim & shoot write & post.  If it hits you, sorry 'bout that.  I wasn't aiming at you directly - but if it hits home with you and I haven't given you a heads up - that's on you, not me.  Check your heart.  Maybe there's a reason for it to sting.  That's for you to decide.  Not me.


I always say that we humans have so many common threads.  We're all so alike, yet so different.  Many times I'll say something & have someone say - wow, that's exactly how I feel today - or who told you that - or why did you say that?  Really, it's not you!  Really!

It is my hope that my thoughts and opinions and experiences - the good, the bad and the ugly will connect with someone.  I hope that there's something that I have done right (or even wrong) that can help someone else, or even put things in a different perspective of, "Hey - I never thought of that" or even "Wow, that's REALLY messed up - I won't try that."

What I can tell you - is that if you know me, you're pissed off about a post & you haven't received a heads up in advance - it's not about you.  Get over it!

Now take this kiss & move on, will ya?  :)

Thank you for reading my blog!

Hugs & Smoochies!

~Jenn

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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Girls, Girls... Ease up on the jealousy!

My daughter came home from school the other day spouting off some nonsense about her other friends bragging about something exciting that was coming up for them.

Needless to say, I was concerned.

I wasn't concerned about the fact that she was talking about her other friends' excitement, but HOW she was discussing the excitement.  How she was fed & how she came to feel about it.

We have a pretty close group of friends - the kids and parents, so the way this came to me from my daughter was troubling.  Especially since she's never displayed even a hint of jealousy in the past.

We don't operate that way in our house.  As far as I'm concerned jealousy is a wasted emotion.  We are grateful and happy for what we've got and try to teach our kids the same.  When my daughter came home with this, I knew she was being fed from another direction.

So I asked her... What EXACTLY troubles you about all of this?

Our dialogue went something like this:

Lovely daughter:  "Well, ya know.. they keep talking about "this and that and the other thing."  It's getting annoying."

Me:  "Well, who are you talking about all this to?  You know that YOU are doing the same thing they are, just two weeks later.  What's the big deal?"

Lovely daughter:  "Well, BLANK said they are all bragging and she's mad because she's not going and she is tired of hearing about everyone else talking about it."

Me:  "I think your friends are excited.  Isn't this the first time they're doing this?  Why does BLANK care what everyone else is doing?  She just did X a few weeks ago.  Maybe hers was different, but so what."

Lovely daughter:  "Yeah, she did.  Hmmm.  I don't know why she's so mad."

Exactly...  Because there is no REAL reason to be mad or feel jealous or allow anyone else to cause you to feel that you're being left out in any way.

For the most part, I know where these things come from.  I'd never tell my daughter the specifics, but I do tell her to be grateful for the things she has.  She has a lot!  We may not live in a sprawling mansion with the very best of everything - but we have a nice home.  We have food to eat.  Both mommy and daddy have jobs.  We are able to vacation every year, sometimes more than once.  We are all healthy.  Our family is TOGETHER and we all love each other.

THESE are the things to be grateful for, and most of that is fluff!

Jealousy is a wasted emotion.

Just be grateful for the little stuff.

Love, laugh & find happy in the little stuff.

The rest will fall into place.

Thank you for reading my blog!!

~Jenn
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Monday, August 19, 2013

Love is... The Absence of Judgment

"I ain't the kind you take home to mama
I ain't the kind to wear no ring
Somehow I always get stronger
When I'm on my second drink"
~Miranda Lambert - Heart Like Mine

I've never been one to be all pious and up on my high horse.  Pfft, who the hell am I?

I know this sounds like it's going to be this deep depressing woes me type of post, but no worries.  I'm cool with me.  I may not have been the belle of the ball or the most popular in my life.  I've made many, many mistakes and I'm still making them - but I've always been able to be happy, have fun and accept myself for the person I am.  Heck, I kinda like who I am and what I've done with my life.  Mistakes and all.

Am I always the most appropriate??  Um, NOOOOO... I give my husband plenty of eye rolling moments, believe me.  What matters is that he loves all of those moments.  OK, maybe not ALLLL of those moments.  Point is, he doesn't judge me for who I am or the craziness that comes out of me...  He just loves me and accepts me for who I am.

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away -- I was a dumb ass.
Yes, really - ME!  Total dumb ass.  OK, sometimes I'm still a dumb ass, but in a different way.  Back then, I was insecure about myself, because - ya know, I didn't exactly lead a stellar childhood.  I had no female presence reinforcing that I was good in any way.  I felt like I was good.  I did what I thought were the right things to do.  I was pretty confident in my own rite, but I never felt like I really "fit" anywhere.  I did my thing and I blended.  Sometimes I was a shape shifter & molded myself into a shape that would fit the situation I was in - but it was never right.  It was never ME.  I allowed people to put me down and tell me how awful I was and for a short while, I actually believed it.

Then I ran.

Let's face it, I know I give people plenty to talk about.  I'm a total goof ball.  I've come through so much crap in my life, that sometimes I'm going to be stupid.  Maybe not on purpose - but there will be stupid!
...And I probably won't care

I AM goofy.  I definitely say the wrong thing ALL THE TIME.  I may be an embarrassment from time to time, but I'll also give you everything I had if you needed it.

I don't need people in my life who judge me.  If you're going to love me, you love all of me.  The good the bad AND the ugly.


“If you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best.”
~Marilyn Monroe

So when people want to be my friend, and then tell me what I need to do, or how wrong I am or try to change me in some way, it sort of makes me wonder...

Why in the name of all that's holy would you even want to be around me if you don't like who I am?  Think about that.  Who's really the problem here??  Not me.  I'm good with myself.  Do you want me around because you think my outlandish behavior somehow makes you sparkle??
Well that's stupid.  Who's REALLY the one who needs to feel good about themselves??

*  I know I project a lot of what I write on ME, even when things aren't really going on or happening TO me.  This is more "issues of ghosts of the past, coming to light in a situation belonging to someone else."  So my loves getting ready to jump to my defense... I'm good!  *


In this life, there will always be someone around who's going to look down their noses at you and judge you for something.  Too fat, too skinny, too pretty, poor, rich, stuck up, quiet, weird...
WHAT-FRIGGIN-EVER!

Who the hell cares??

At this point in my life, I'm so totally and completely blessed.  I've got an amazing husband who I adore more than I can say, who looks at me and my goofiness with a sparkle in his eye and melts me every single time.  I have children that think the sun beams from my eyes and I shoot rainbows out of my mouth.  I have amazing and wonderful friends who accept me for all that I am (and sometimes feed the beast, eh hem, Don.)  The fact is that we all accept each other for WHO WE ARE.  The good the bad and the ugly.  Judgement has no place in love.  Love is just love and acceptance of people for exactly who they are.  It is the ABSENCE OF JUDGMENT.

So how are you??  You good with you??

That's all that matters.

Sparkle & shine my friends... Sparkle & shine...

Thank you for reading my blog!

~Jenn


Heart Like Mine 
Miranda Lambert 
(if you click on the title it will take you to the YouTube Page for the song)

I ain't the kind you take home to mama
I ain't the kind to wear no ring
Somehow I always get stronger
When I'm on my second drink


Even though I hate to admit it
Sometimes I smoke cigarettes
The Christian folks say I should quit it 

And I just smile and say "god bless" 

Cause I heard Jesus he drank wine
And I bet we'd get along just fine
He could calm a storm and heal the blind
And I bet he'd understand a heart like mine

 

Daddy cried when he saw my tattoo
But said he loved me anyway
My brother got the brains of the family
So I thought I'd learn to sing

 

Cause I heard Jesus he drank wine
And I bet we'd get along just fine
He could calm a storm and heal the blind
And I bet he'd understand a heart like mine

 

And I'll fly away from it all one day
And I'll fly, I'll fly away
 

But these are the days that I will remember
When my names called on a roll
He'll meet me with two long stem glasses
And make a toast to me coming home

 

Cause I heard Jesus he drank wine
And I bet we'd get along just fine
He could calm a storm and heal the blind
And I bet he'd understand
Understand a heart like mine
Oh yes he would



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Friday, August 16, 2013

That whole "too nice" bit.... It gets old after a while...

"Too nice" is a place where I resided for entirely too long in my life.

Mostly when I was younger and didn't want people to think I wasn't nice.  :GASP:  Someone thinks I'm not nice...  Holy HELL -- let's do everything humanly possible to rectify that.

Ugh....  I'm ugh'ing at myself, because believe me - I was that person.  The people pleaser wanting to go above and beyond so people would think I'm nice.  Again.. UGH!

Ya know where "too nice" leads you??  It leads you to the end of the line, the bottom of the heap.  I don't want to be at the bottom of the heap.

Let's be real here...  The truth is that I don't mind doing things for people.  Heck - I LIKE doing things for people.  I'm just not interested in doing back flips and throwing myself out there like I used to - going above and beyond to get people to like me.  Especially when it's not appreciated.

It sort of sucks the wind out of your sails, ya know.  Not to mention, it's a great way to put yourself out there to have your feelings stepped on.

Can I get another UGH?

I'm not saying that people are ALWAYS unappreciative...just some people.

After a while you realize that sometimes people will just take advantage and hurt your feelings and that's that.  They won't necessarily notice, or sometimes they may not even care.  It just is what it is.  Some people have "mirror vision" and care only about themselves.


Oh - why am I sugar coating this?  Some people just suck.

They forget that there are other people on the planet and that it's not all about them.

Really, these people DO exist.

You may not realize it, because you're one of the good ones.  The ones who get that people actually have feelings.

Yet there are those people who WILL hurt your feelings, think nothing of it and move along.  The people who will take, take, take without even so much as a thank you  The people who will break your heart.

These are the people that you try the hardest to please, though... aren't they??

Thanks to "Just an ordinary girl, Life Unabridged" for posting this pic.
Yeah - I know, I get it... As I said, I used to be a people pleaser.  The one who wanted everyone to blow sunshine out of every orifice.

It happens all the time, especially with the younger kids.  I recognize it, because.. ya know - been there done that.

It makes me crazy to watch the people who are so good latch onto something so awful just to try to make it good.

As a foster parent, I see this way more often than I even want to say.  In the parents too, not just the kids...

The need for love and acceptance runs deep in every heart.

Everyone wants to be loved.  The truth is (as I quote my dearly departed friend, Bill Taylor) "there is a lid for every pot."  Not everyone is going to think you breathe sunshine and rainbows.  Not everyone is going to think you're all that and a bag of chips, and no matter how hard you try - not everyone will care how nice you are.

That's OK!

Go look in the mirror and fall in love with the person looking back at you.  Because the truth is - it doesn't matter how nice you are, how much you do for someone else, how much you love another - unless you first love yourself.

How can you love another if you don't love yourself & how can you believe someone loves you if you don't feel worthy of love?


The too nice bit... it gets old after a while.

Just be you.  Love yourself.  The rest will fall into place.

Thank you for reading my blog.

~Jenn

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Thursday, August 15, 2013

For my family...You don't know what you've got, until you have it for just a little while

It really is the truth that you don't realize how much you miss someone or something until you've had a small taste & then it goes away again.

In this, I'm referring to our recent family reunion.

Growing up, I did not have the opportunity of my father's family.  I never really knew why and frankly it doesn't matter any more.  Families are just weird sometimes and you just don't know what brings people together - or tears them apart.

During my life, I randomly knew some of my family, or came across them in the oddest of circumstances...

The perfect examples are my cousins Pattie & Susie.  I never knew them - never even knew they existed.  Yet, one day my mother ran into their mother in the parking lot of MY very small Catholic elementary school.  We were in school together.  We knew each other, played together on the play ground & never knew we were cousins!  Crazy, right?  We remained close for a short while, but then we all moved.  If not for that time, way back then - I'd have never known they existed.  We sadly lost touch and didn't connect again until the wonderful world of Facebook.

My grandfather's generation was referred to as the "Magnificent Seven" or the seven sons of seven brothers, coming over from Holland in the late 1910's, early 1920's.  They all settled in the same area.  They all grew up knowing each other, but then somewhere along the line - the family separated and that was that.


I grew up knowing one cousin, Judy, throughout my childhood.  Then in my teens I met Liz, Cathy and Melissa, who was a baby at the time. Liz and I became inseparable, closer than sisters.  As she so eloquently put it...one of us had the ideas, the other had the car.  There was a small span of time where we were out of each other's lives, but she and I remain close even though she lives several states away.  We speak almost daily.  She is always the hardest to let go of when she leaves.  It truly feels like something is missing.  We're already planning out next opportunity to see each other & have our fingers crossed that it will all come together.

This reunion was a first and was something truly amazing.  It was amazing to me, the bond of a family that somehow didn't all get to know each other - one cousin after another (The "Sea of Blonds" as I referred to our group) coming together as if we'd never been apart, or had always known each other.

I remain overcome with emotion as I type this out, during a month that is already emotional for me.

A few weeks have passed since I've seen my family.  Some don't live too far away and others in different corners of the country.  I miss them.

I still see them on Facebook & talk to Liz almost every day... but it is the truth that you don't know how much you've missed something or someone, until you've had a small taste & then it goes away again.

To my family, each and every one of you...  I LOVE YOU!!

Familie ik houd van u!

Same time next year?

Thank you all for reading my blog!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

I ran, I hid and I've been............

Caught & tagged...

...And here I thought I had the perfect little hiding spot.

I was all quiet, minding my own business and ducking behind my laptop screen when all of the sudden my friend, Cassandra from Dates 2 Diapers, reached over and tagged me in a very Duck, Duck, GOOSE kind of way!  I get it....  Sarah from The Momisodes got her and there's only so many places you can hide here in the blogosphere.

So now I'm up!

This is a game called "Five Things".
Oh Lawdy...  You people are going to know entirely too much about me...  It's all good, I suppose.  None of you are identity thieves, are you???   No??  Cool....

Let's proceed.
I hate rules...

The rules are simple.  By now you should know my disdain for the rules, but simple is good.  I can do this.  What happens is I tag 5 other bloggers, but before I can tag the other bloggers, I must answer some questions about myself.

♥ Five Things I have a passion for:
  1. My kids...  First and foremost.  Even my hubby knows that I would step on his face if I needed to to help my kids.  They are my heart.
  2. My husband, of course.  Took a long time for me to get it right.  He makes me right even when I don't want to be.  I am a handful!
  3. Coffee...  It is my life blood.  It is the first thing I head for when I wake up in the morning, and it's the good stuff.  We buy our coffee direct from Costa Rica.  Yes, I'm a coffee snob.
  4. Music.  I almost ALWAYS have music playing.  It keeps me grounded.  You know they say, music soothes the savage beast....  you may call me beast :)
  5. My friends.  I LOVE my friends.  Everyone I have close to me is there for a reason.  I may have a falling out here & there with a friend - but once I forge a close friendship, it's til the end.  

♥  Five things I'd like to do before I die:
  1. Sky Dive
  2. Go to Holland to see where my family is from.
  3. Be a grandma.  (Just no time real soon, OK)
  4. See a book I've written on the NY Times Best Seller's List
  5. Help to change someone in need's life for the better.

♥  Five things I say a lot:
  1. I love you.
  2. SHUT UP!  (not in the mean way... in the "you're kidding way")
  3. Put a fire under it.
  4. Seriously?
  5. Time to blow this pop stand. 

♥  Five books I've read lately:
(I've not been a good reader)
  1. Language of Flowers
  2. Along Came a Spider
  3. Now You See Her
  4. Mini Vans, Melt Downs and Merlot
  5. Room

♥ Five favorite movies:
  1. Notebook
  2. Tommy Boy
  3. National Lampoon's Vacation
  4. Bridges of Madison County
  5. An Affair to Remember

♥ Five places I'd like to travel:
  1. Netherlands
  2. Ireland
  3. Fiji
  4. Japan
  5. Germany

♥ Five blogs or pages that I love:
  1. Razorblade Brain
  2. Mommy Drinks Because You Cry
  3. Mom-Spirational
  4. One Blunt Mom
  5. The Brady Bunch on Crack (Because she's BACK!!!)
Well that was fun, wasn't it??  Now, my Tag'ees, if you so choose to continue this little game ... run on out and find someone else trying to hide behind their screen & tell 'em that they're it!

Thank you, Cassandra, for tagging me... this was fun!
Please go see Dates to Diapers on Facebook or on their Blog page.

Thank you for reading my blog!

~Jenn


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Monday, August 12, 2013

The Road to Self Acceptance.... Some trip, huh?

Tis the time of the year where lots of skin is showing.

I just got back from our annual down the shore trip...

Sadly, it's just a weekend down the shore.

This particular shore point is a three hour drive and it's a combination trip to both go to my absolute favorite New Jersey short point and to see a dear friend who lives in that area.

In any case - we crammed as much fun in those few days as humanly possible and those days contained as much beach time as we could get in.

I'm a people watcher.  I observe and take things in around me.  I love the beach.  I love the sound of the ocean, the squawk of the seagulls flying over head and the feel of the sand between my toes, but I'm afraid of the ocean (a story for another day).  So while my husband took the girls into the water, I sat in the sun and watched the people around me.


I've personally been dieting and exercising - trying to get healthy and in some sort of shape over the past several months.  I've lost a ton of weight and lost three pants sizes, BUT - I am still not comfortable with what I see in the mirror.

One of my biggest goals this year was to wear a bikini top to the beach. My waist has always been on the small side.  I was truly hopeful.  As much weight as I lost, as many pants sizes as I lost - I couldn't do it.

I could not bring myself to go out of the house in my bikini top.

I looked in the mirror and I didn't like what was looking back at me.  There was no way I could leave my house and be in front of people comfortably. This killed me.  All the work I've done and continue to do and I could not fulfill my goal.

Shortly after, I read a Facebook status of one of my friends stating how people should look in the mirror before they leave their houses.  How these "fat girls" need to put their sh*t away.  It was incredibly offensive. This status really upset me and I addressed it with the upset that I felt.  Sadly, I allowed her status to feed my own personal insecurities of how I felt about myself.  I believe that if she didn't know me or my story & I actually were brave and confident enough to go out in my bikini top - I would be one of the people she was referring to.

Good for her!  Rock it Girl!
While I was on the beach this weekend, I saw a woman who was much, much larger than I.

...and she was wearing a leopard print bikini.

I was NOT horrified by how she looked.  I was NOT shocked by her appearance.

I WAS in awe of her strength of character and her self confidence.

She strutted her stuff as if she were Miss America.

She laughed and enjoyed her time with her friends, family, kids - whomever the people were she was with and she rocked her leopard bikini.

I so admire that.

In a world full of judgement of outer beauty - the world continually forgets about inner beauty and strength of character. This woman clearly did not give a flying shit what anyone thought of her.  She felt good about herself - so good that she put on that leopard print bikini and strutted her stuff on the beach.

...and I, couldn't even bring myself to put mine on.

I envy that woman's strength and positive self image and wish for even a minute that I could put on that bikini top and feel like Miss America, or even just sort of OK with the way I looked.

Because it's really about how we feel about ourselves....

I guess I've still got a long way to go in the self acceptance department.

You too?

You're not alone.

Right now, I want to be that big girl in a leopard print bikini laughing and dancing and strutting my stuff along the beach.

...as if nothing else in the world matters.

Thank you for reading my blog!

~Jenn

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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Memories of the Man Who Loved Me Best

When ever I smell Brut cologne, I stop dead in my tracks - thinking he's here.

Of course, he's not.  He's been gone for almost 30 years, but that scent lingers in the corridors of my mind, if no where else.  So much so that if I should happen to smell it, I immediately think of my dad and for a second look to see if he's here.

Like most dads, my dad worked hard.  We weren't rich.  He wasn't a college graduate, or a skilled laborer.  By day he was a microfilm technician, by night a furniture upholsterer at our down stairs neighbor's business.  Both trades now long gone by the wayside.

Even after all these years, I can close my eyes and smell my daddy.  I can feel him kiss my forehead and tap his finger gently on the bridge of my nose when saying good night to me, trying not to wake me.  I can see him sitting in the wing back chair that he re-upholstered in black & white snake skin naugahyde.  It was his favorite possession, his design - a creation he was incredibly proud of.  Our living room was very 70's with my dad's works of art, including an antique red velvet Victorian style chair and foot stool, adorning the room.  He took such great joy in taking a chair someone thought of as trash - and restoring it to it's former splendor.

He could look straight through the mess to see the inner beauty in anything.  That was my dad.

Every morning he was out the door by 7 am, every night he dragged his butt back out the door for job #2 by 6:30 pm.  Sunday was family time.  I remember sitting beside him on the high pile shag living room floor watching Creature Features or funny cars and NASCAR on Howard Cosell's Wide World of Sports.

As busy as my dad was running between jobs - he was always sure to have quality time with us.

This was it!  Very big deal! TV AND Record Player!
I know that TV time doesn't seem like quality time... but "back in the day" TV was a very BIG DEAL!

My early childhood took place in the 70's.  TV hadn't been in every household for all that long.  There were 7 channels & UHF - black & white.  Watching TV with daddy on Sunday afternoon was a big treat!


...and I smelled his Brut cologne as he lie on the floor beside me.  Giggling as he tried to scare me.

For my brother, they went on hikes.  They packed day packs and walked the Appalachian Trail.  These are my memories.  The things that just a whiff of Brut cologne bring to mind.

They're both gone - he and my brother, but the memories linger.

Every single time I get a whiff of Brut cologne, a smile stretches across my face.

I close my eyes, and for just a second my daddy is with me.

Happy Birthday in Heaven, Daddy!

Thank you for reading my blog!

~Jenn

In loving memory of my dad
Forever in my heart



Thursday, August 1, 2013

Yup, we've got some thick skin - but the band aid still hurts coming off...

(Repost from 2011)

When it comes to being a foster parent, I've been asked may times, "How do you do it??  How do you let go?"  I've also been given many, way too kind words about how saintly we are.  

Thank you so much, but I don't feel much like a saint.  I actually feel a bit selfish.  I love the little ones.  Quite frankly, most times I'd rather hang out with the little ones than adults. They're more fun, they call 'em exactly how they see them (like it or not, lol) and all they want is to be loved.  That's easy.

We foster parent folks are definitely a different breed.  We take a lot & the reward is in the hope that we've been able to make a positive difference in the lives of these kids - and that the good doesn't get undone by the idiots that wrecked them to begin with!  I know that's strong, but we see a lot. 

For a while, I stood by my little mantra "It's like ripping off a band aid.  It hurts less & less every time you take it off."

I officially take that back.  

We've had about 7 kids come through our house.  Little "E" wormed her way deep into our hearts.  I cried for weeks after she left & I'm not sure Wag has ever gotten over her.  There were others.  Some a little older, some a little younger, but none we really allowed ourselves to get too attached to.  We loved them up, helped them as much as humanly possible and let them go without too many tears or heartache.  Hoping we've made even a small positive difference in their lives.

THAT was how I came up with my little "band aid scenario", by the OTHER kids that came through.  The ones who did not get under our skin.  

Then, two beautiful sisters came into our lives.  
My "little chicken" at 5 months old, all full of smiles and her sister "AM" at 2, full of attitude and spunk.  
The first few months with these kids were rough!  One had major separation anxiety & a complete and total mini Puerto Rican attitude.  The baby had Salmonella, vomited at every feeding & could not sleep lying down.  So every night, I'd do my running with my kids; Kyle's wrestling schedule, CC's cheering schedule, then bathe the little ones, do my best to get "AM" comfortably down to sleep with as few tears as possible and then hit the couch with "my little chicken" on my belly.  Most nights I slept on the couch with my hand on her car carrier, where she slept, rocking the carrier if she started to fuss in the middle of the night.  Other nights, she just slept on my belly all night long.  We did this every single night for 7 months.  Needless to say she and I formed an extremely close bond.  I loved every second of it.

"AM" went back for a while ("my little chicken" stayed) & then "AM" returned a few months later, happy to be back with us.  She was much easier this time & blended right in as if she'd never left. 

Oh yeah, these little sisters TOTALLY got under our skin - especially the little one.  I became her "momma" in every sense of the word.  

We'd have adopted them in a heartbeat if they were adoptable.

After 15 months of living with us, they went with family.  We were included in family events for a while, but it was clearly too much for the baby to handle.  She never let me out of her site & cried terribly for me when I had to leave.  It was heartbreaking.  The best thing for her, is for us to fade off into the sunset.

I miss "my little chicken" every single day.

In the meantime, our home has been open for 7 months.  I've been enjoying my "free time" and taking care of myself.  Who knows what's in store in the future.  Maybe we'll get more kids, maybe not...  Only time will tell.

So back when I said it's like ripping off a band aid...  no matter how thick your skin is - you still feel it.  The only thing you can truly do is open your heart and love them up.  Do all you can to make their lives fun & easy for the time they are with you, and when it comes time to send them along - pray they're going into a good (ore even decent) situation.  After all, as parents - we already give all of ourselves for the benefit of the kids, and only good can come from giving love.

If you've considered fostering and you've got love, an open heart & mind & thick skin - please do it!  

As I always say... What's one more kid??  :)  

~ For my Foster Parent friends <3  Love you guys!! 

Thank you for reading my blog.

Foster Adoptive Family Services New Jersey Website:  http://www.fafsonline.org/



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