Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Yep, I Still Do

Dear TD,

It's impossible to believe that 19 years ago we stood in front of our friends and family and said I do.  Do YOUremember what we promised to do?  I'm not sure I can recall, quite frankly.  I'm sure it was something along the lines of "sickness and health, 'til death do us part".  Yikes.  That's frighteningly long.  At least we got some of the sickness stuff out of the way early so maybe now we can just focus on the health part.

I do specifically recall, however, that I refused to state "I obey" in my vows to you.  I figured if you knew anything at all about my stubborn, thick headed personality, you would know that those words would never be uttered by this scorpion woman.

In observance of our day  I've compiled a list of random thoughts to mark the occasion.  Shocker... I made a list.  I'm certain you just fell out of your chair.

Here goes:

1.  The year was 1992.  It was HOT.  You met your best friend's girlfriend and decided to smile at her.  I instantly fell in love with you.  Okay, maybe it was just lust.  But whatever it was, it worked.  Thank god you made a move and kissed me behind Wayne Smirl's oak tree in the backyard.  Kudos for being courageous and taking a chance.

2.  You proposed on one knee in my parent's kitchen 5 months after meeting me, two days before Christmas, at around midnight.  I freaked out, seriously doubting you understood what you were getting yourself into.  I figured I might as well grab you if you were brave enough to ask me.  I may have forgotten all you said that night but I'll never forget that gold swirl velvet carpet or red brick facade paneling.

3.   I officially apologize for not making it a full year in our first apartment.  I hated Blue Springs and still do to this day.  Breaking our lease and having to pay it anyway was my first true understanding of the meaning of "contracts" but actually taught me how far you would go to make me happy.  Thank you for letting me have my way (the first of MANY times you have conceded to my spontaneity). 

4.  Thank you for being the most fantastic father in the world to my son.  Words cannot even describe how much I appreciate your selfless, unconditional love to Jeremy.  Your amazing support of him has shaped the man he is today, an incredible husband and father to his family.  You are his ROCK ~ consistent, steady and always there.  I love you MOST because of this, truth be told.

5.  For the record, I totally blame my complete lack of hearing on you.  Endless hours down at that heavy metal bar in Westport with the Ragsdale's during our mid-twenties effectively destroyed it.  In return, now you get to repeat everything you say for the remainder of our lives.  Way to go.  At least you taught me how to drink beer, albeit Milwaukee's Best Light (or so they said), so essentially I could be a cheap drunk when we get old if I somehow forget my expensive vodka taste.

6.  Although I pretty much forced you into having another child, I'm so glad you hung with me through the endless years of infertility issues.  It's amazing to me that we even stayed married through all of that mess.  I was an evil woman and I totally own that (along with the drug manufacturers). So thanks for hangin' in there, babe... I think we're even in that I gave you the little guy as a result and he's pretty cool... so far.

7.  As the social chair of our family, I gotta give you some huge props.  I have stuck you in some (ahem) uncomfortable situations over the past 20 years with some of my friendships.  I was lacking a bit in judgement in people back then and hung out sometimes with what my dad would have referred to as "the undesirables".  Thanks for going with the flow, especially in times when you really probably didn't like me that much.  And certainly didn't like some of them! 

8.  Our roller coaster has been flying downhill lately with multiple shifts left and right.  You are handling the growing changes in our family immensely well, even when it's a hot mess.  When I am out of control crazy, you seem to be quiet, balanced and calm.  That's pretty awesome, considering I feel pretty out of control crazy most of the time.  I guess opposites do attract, or whatever that stupid phrase is.  I'm glad we're not exactly alike ~ I'm not sure I would like you if you were just like me. 

9.  I've been in the throws of a midlife crisis for the past 5 years and I have to admit you've handled it quite well.  Thank you for recognizing I won't be bat shit crazy forever.  Well, at least until we plan our tiny home project.  I may be completely off my rocker by then.  Hopefully you can hang on until then ~ I could really use your mad sheet rock hanging and floor laying skills.  Sub floor is so heavy.

10.  Our 40's may have brought about a little slower metabolism, new hair growth where not desired (and missing hair where we want it), accentuated laugh lines (yeah - we're gonna call them those instead of the dreaded crow's feet) and a myriad of other fun changes, but somehow we still got each other.  Maybe we figure nobody else would want to deal with our crap awesomeness.  At least we're in the boat together and not stranded at sea alone.

More than anything, I have always appreciated our ability to be friends.  Even when we aren't, we still are.  You get me and I dig that.  We may want to throw skillets at each other's heads sometimes but in the end after the dust settles, we always come back to our friendship.  I think that's going to be a huge advantage when I get Alzheimer's and try to sneak into another man's room.  Well.... maybe.

Happy anniversary, babe.  Beers up to another 19 years, which undoubtedly will end with us tearing down a nursing home together.  We have to be warriors somewhere!  They better have wi-fi so I can still publicize our lives together on the blogosphere.  I know how much you love that. 



Love you,
Jennifer Taylor (Cunningham Bartimus) Davis
(Friends - for those of you wondering.... although I hate my ex, when hubs is being sassy he loves to call me by my prior married name.  Oh, and Bartimus is the man I dated before Davis.  Our conduit.  He loves to call him my ex-husband, even though we never married.  He's halarious like that.)

Oh - by the way Davis.... you totally owe me for something.  I'm just sure of it.  When I figure it out, I'll let you know.  It's important to keep tabs in a marriage.  You're it.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Are You Ready for some FOOTBALL?!

Just like that, we go from the high of winning the world series to the anticipation of  a new football season.

The moods in my house flow like a raging river ~ multiple twists, turns, falls and rocks.

This season is filled with anticipation, excitement and a tad bit of anxiety.  For the first time in 15 years, my husband is not coaching football. 

No more coaches meetings, team parties and money gathering.  No more equipment in my garage (or basement, or living room, or kitchen).  No more helmets lining my garage.  No more dragging of the dummies into the back of the truck three times a week.  No more white boards laying all over the living room with a million plays written on them.  Well, maybe that part will still be the same. 




I'm a bit sad.  I loved the preparation for football season.  It was so fun to see all of the families of our returning athletes.  Hug them.  Ask them how their summer was going.

But mostly, I will miss the boys.  In a few short weeks of conditioning, I came to know and love the boys my son's both played football with.  They gave me a million reasons to smile.  15 ten year old boys ~ pulling pranks, making jokes, working hard, smelling AWFUL.  In the end... all of them loving the sport of football.

Tonight kicks off our first official football practice.  As parents, we will sit on the sidelines and watch our little guy work hard at the sport he loves.  We will cheer him on when he completes a task well.  Take mental notes of things he can improve.  And embrace our new role as spectators.

It will definitely be different.




Have a great Monday, friends! 

Jen

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Let 'em Play!

Have you ever contemplated the hours and hours of time your children spend in front of a screen?  Felt guilty over their dedication to the game?  Well, maybe you should rethink your guilt.

My girlie received another letter this week as Jer is now able to write 3 times a week (Tuesday, Thursday and Sundays).  He fills his letters with details about his days, the recruits he is training with and his instructors.  Sometimes he shares specific topics, like his daily schedule.  Others he talks in generalities about the upcoming tests or physical training.

And he always shares his successes.

Bub has spent roughly a zillion hours in front of a video screen.  Even being the fantastic father he is, once E goes to bed at night (and sassy, because she is an early riser) he will log on to some online Call of Duty game and play with fellow Navy men.  He and a group of guys have created a special Navy team to go fight the bad guys.  On the screen, anyway.

It's not really a surprise to me, therefore, that this week Jeremy was awarded two ribbons:  sharpshooter and warfare.  Yeah, the stuff he REALLY likes and wants to do.  I can picture him now holding a weapon and taking those shots.  I'm sure he channeled his PS3 controller at that moment.  Or the adrenaline got  him.

Navy Sharpshooters


So go ahead, parents.  Let your kids play their games.  Give that awesome hand / eye coordination they can use somewhere else.  Because let's face it ~ it's not that often that most of us have to figure the square root of something.  

Have a great Sunday, friends!


Jen

Saturday, July 28, 2012

We Are FAMILY...

Holy cow.  I am so freakin' excited.  It's down to TEEN days that I will watch my son graduate from boot camp!
Family dynamics are fascinating.  It's so interesting, complicated and complex the manner in which a family interacts with one another.  Sibling to sibling, mother and child, child and father.  No two families are alike.  Expectations, discipline, communication and the very moral code of specific familial units are different from family to family.
What strikes me as most interesting is the differences among extended familial relationships.  Grandchildren to grandparents.  Aunts and uncles to nieces and nephews.  The mashing of several families under the umbrella of the matriarch and/or patriarch. 
In most circumstances, the eldest members of a family set the tone of the extended family.  They establish traditions ~ vacations, holidays, birthday celebrations and the like.  They are typically the Grandparents (although some families are lucky to have the great-grandparents still alive to take that spot).  They love unconditionally, they give unmercifully.  I quote Bill Cosby:  "They are trying to get into heaven".  Nice to everyone in their final years of life.
Life experiences, tragedies and successes also often define a family.  A sibling fights with another sibling over what to do with a parent's estate after passing.  A parent is upset with an adult child over decisions they have made in their journey of life.  An aunt passes.  A child has a serious illness.  An uncle becomes a missionary and moves 3,000 miles away from the rest of the family.

While in the journey (forking a thousand different directions), specific spots in the family unit are fulfilled.  Sometimes it coincides with birth order, sometimes personality.  The eldest of a family may be the organizer, the planner of events.  The baby of the family may be sassy, opinionated and sometimes hard to please.  The middles may go with the flow.  The most social, however, may be the party planner (despite birth order).  And we all know that the women in the family are most likely delegated the responsibility of communication efforts with all others (let's face it boys, you just don't like to talk.)

In all the mass chaos of a family, an underlying pattern becomes established.  Mutual respect, trust, unconditional love, moral codes ~ these items are defined typically by the actions of the eldest in the family.  If they love and support each other and their children, their children typically do the same for them.  And then their children.  And so on.

When there is a break in the pattern, a rogue maneuver, a "black sheep" (yep, they do exist) that goes against the moral code of the family, they typically experience one of three things:

1.  Exorcism from the family.  "Way to go, Sully - we're BANISHED!" ~ Monsters, Inc.

2.  A chink in the armor.  I'll forgive you now, but will forever remember your misgivings.  (otherwise known as "Keeping tally".  Reference #1 above - enough mistakes and #1 usually occurs).

3.  Forgiveness is granted, mistake is forgiven and life moves on.

Families, by its very definition, is as follows:

a. A fundamental social group in society typically consisting of one or two parents and their children.
b. Two or more people who share goals and values, have long-term commitments to one another, and reside usually in the same dwelling place.

When the black sheep doesn't "follow the herd" having shared goals and values, it makes all the other elements of the family conflict.  Communication is thwarted.  Trust is abandoned.  Unconditional love is challenged.  And the entire family unit suffers.

I'm a black sheep.  To an extent.  Divorce shattered my family.  It divided it into two camps.  My siblings and I chose sides.  Relationships went forward with years of non-communication.  And the unit?  Well, it's no longer a unit.

And I almost repeated it.  I divorced with a 3 year old son.  I shattered his familial unit.  His father and I did not agree on any item of co-parenting: discipline, religion, education or health care.  Ever.    And our unit?  After about 12 years, it became virtually non-existent.

I am thankful every single day of my life that I met my husband.  Even when I'm mad at him and want him to sleep on the couch.  Not only did he bring me into an extended family that does unconditionally love, respect and trust one another, but he influenced our family to be the same.  He fulfilled the role of father to my son, especially when he needed it most.  He forgives more than anyone I know (except for my son... Bubba has the most forgiving heart in the world to those that don't even deserve forgiveness).  He trusts each of us to do the right thing.  And he has our backs every single step of the way.   

Someone mentioned they felt it was weird that I would go to my son's graduation from boot camp.  They questioned why I would be involved since he is married.  That statement is beyond foreign to me.  Not only do I want to revel in his successes, I want to support the ones he loves the most.. his wife and child!  Being there for Kate is just as important as watching my son march through those doors.

So I will go.  With hubs by my side.  To unconditionally love and support all of our kids.

Because that's what families do.
Oldie... but I love it.  Shows our fun side!

Have a great Saturday, friends.
Jen

Friday, July 27, 2012

FRIDAY FAVES!

It's FRIDAY!  This week's post will be a tad bit mushy, friends.  It is just a few short days from my 19th wedding anniversary so to preemptively celebrate I thought I'd post up a few faves from Tim and I over the past few years!  I can't really barrage you with oldie pics yet (but hopefully with some love I can have a scanner someday and do just that!) so I'm just posting some of my fave moments during the last few years.

Enjoy!

July 31, 1993.  Jeremy was 3 1/2 when we married.  Instafamily.



Tim's 40th Birthday, 2009


 
Neighb Night Out in P&L, 2011


Zac Brown Band, 2011
The Parents, 2011

Warrior Dash, 2012



First race together ~ Brew to Brew, 2012

St. Patricks Day, 2012


Boys of the Sun Tour, 2012


 Ah, mature love sure has its advantages!

Have a great weekend, friends!

Jen








 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

I Always Feel Like, Somebody's Watchin' Me

With just over 20 days left in boot camp, Bubba hit one out of the park.

He was promoted to Starboard Watch Section Leader.

What is that you ask?  Good question.  We have no idea.  Except we know he is responsible for organizing, scheduling and standing watches (he has now learned how to sleep standing up~ a skill hubs and I have always known he had).

Here's what I do know:  check out where he is on their org chart!



He's the SWSL, 4 steps under the top of the chart.  Tells me all I need to know!

Here is his actual job description:  

Port and Starboard Watch Section Leaders (PWSL/SWSL) (RPO1)

The Port/Starboard Watch Section Leaders are the senior Recruit Petty Officers for respective watch sections.


The Starboard Watch Section Leader (SWSL) shall serve as the division's watchbill coordinator.  Watchbills will be prepared and subsequently submitted to the RDCs via the RCPO.
The Port Watch Section Leader (PWSL) shall coordinate the rotation of the ship watchstanders with the RDCs.



He is daily contact with the Recruit Chief Petty Officer... the main dude in charge.  That is the most AWESOME part to me.  He is being noticed.  He isn't hanging back in the crowd and just "getting through".  He is participating, he is volunteering, he is working hard.


Ah... my pride cup runneth over.


In my letter to him today I reminded him of situations in his life where he has led others successfully.  He has many experiences to draw upon.  Those experiences, even frustrating at the time, have shaped and molded him into the man he is today.


And what a man he is.


Have a great Thursday, friends!


Jen

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

This is How We Do It

The Yankees did it.  They totally did.  Without whining.  Without arguing.  Without complaint.

They went onto the field.  They swung their bats.  They caught pop flies.  They executed plays.

And they won.

Congratulations to the 2012 Mustang 10 World Series Champions!



You earned every single second of glory from this win.

Special shout out to little guy for his out of the park home run last night.  And his last strike of the season being a burner on one of their best hitters.  You rock, buddy.  Momma is so proud of you!

Crossing the plate after his homerun


Oh, and to echo yesterday's blog, this is what a FAMILY looks like.  This pic displays bio moms and dads, step moms and dads, bio grandparents, step grandparents, etc. from every boy on our team.  They sat in harmony, clapped and cheered through the game and reveled in the win for their sons together.  Nobody stayed home missing out on one of their son's monumental moment.  See, it can be done.  This is what it looks like when it works right.

So many people we couldn't get them all in the frame!


Happy Wednesday, friends!

Jen

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Go get 'em, YANKEES!

What a NIGHT!  AHH!  Baseball is not typically my favorite sport to hang around and watch, but I sincerely LOVE watching my little guy and his friends play.

Our team has been together (most of them) for 4 years now and it is obvious we have gelled not only as players and coaches, but the parents as well.  We are honestly all friends, cheering on each other's kids successes, sharing in their mistakes and providing encouraging words to all.  We even watch each other's younger children play around the bleachers making sure everyone is accounted for.  Reminds me of the 70's when our parents truly understood the "takes a village" concept.

Our tourney game was awesome.  Coming back from a loss on Saturday, we were battling for our place.  If we won, we play again tonight for 1st place.  If we lost, we were out of the tournament in 2nd place.

The boys were as calm as I've ever seen them.  They had amazing confidence in their abilities.  They didn't make any mistakes.  No overthrows, no missed catches.  They were definitely on their game.

And it helps that we played the whiniest coach in the league.  He's a great guy... if he's winning.  The second he starts to lose he completely loses his mind.  It is actually quite entertaining to watch him unravel right in front of our eyes.  He challenges every single call the umpires make, publicly arguing with them on the field.  Complete toddler.  I'm actually shocked he didn't don the rule book at anytime last night (which is typical of him).

Not only did we win, we almost shut him out.  He placed first place in the division and showed his true colors as our kids made play after play, hit after hit, run after run.  By the 5th inning we were up 12 to 2.  Yep, you read that right.  This team that beat us 3 times~ we totally took over.

So tonight we are off to try to secure 1st place.  Giant win for us.  So deserved.  Every single boy on our team has excelled way beyond expectation - all of them are hitting, catching and dedicated.

I love these boys.  And their coaches, of course!



On another note - I have to comment on this.  I absolutely love how ALL of our families come together for the kids.  Not just the bio parents, but the steps too.  It's so awesome to see a bio mom and a stepmom sitting side by side cheering for a boy they mutually love.  That is EXACTLY how it is supposed to work.  Way to go, girls.  Keep working on that relationship... even if it is a bit awkward at times.  Keep those kiddos first.  Up on a pedestal.  Only you can ensure that this next generation of kids feels love and respect from ALL of their parents - not alienated or estranged from their other parent after new divorce.  You ROCK for your efforts!

Happy Tuesday, friends!  GO YANKEES!
Jen

Monday, July 23, 2012

Trouble out West

Ah - so glad to be back to my blog.  It is strange when I schedule a week in posts as I feel I haven't written forever.  I have bee super busy with little guy's baseball tournament, travel to Denver and work stuff.  I can't wait to get back to a simpler schedule?  Oh yeah, I don't have one of those.  Ever.

This weekend was so bittersweet for me.  As my sweet daughter and I took out to journey to Denver to visit family on Friday morning the news was breaking the shooting story in Aurora (very close to my sister's home).  Our drive was still fantastic, but within 20 minutes of arrival at sis' house we were barraged with more news of the event.  Every local and national channel ran the story the entire weekend.  My brother in law is a Fire Chief and first responder so he awoke Friday at 1:00 am with the call ~ mass casualties in Aurora.  So bad.

Kate and I stayed pretty busy with our fam this weekend but there were still a lot of discussions surrounding the event.  The best debate was Friday night, surrounding the shooter's rights.  Why does he have any?  How can this not be his fault?  Could he possible get off on some mental health plea? 

It's exhausting to talk about, truthfully.  As citizens, we have no power in a situation such as this.  There is literally nothing that we could have done to prepare or prevent this from happening.  It is a situation that is completely in God's hands.  As friends and family mourn over their lost ones, our only recourse is to pray the legal system works swiftly and justly for them.  We pray those injured find strength in healing.  We pray this never happens again.

And then we go on living.  Because it's all we can do.  Unless we want to become agoraphobic. 

Despite the horrible event of last week, our weekend was filled with family love, laughs and fun.  We hiked.  We ate.  We played HOURS of Farkle (which I HIGHLY recommend... way fun!)  Kate and I giggled like school girls having a sleepover at bedtime, not wanting to close our eyes and go to sleep and miss any fun.

On my sister's property

 
We arrived home last night to a letter from Jer.  He put in his official request on where he wanted to be stationed.  We've been told it's sort of "suggestive" - if you say you want east coast, you get west.  If you say you want west, you get east.  I'm not really certain if that is truth or just coincidence, but either way he put in for west of the Mississippi.  His instructor has alluded (totally alleged at this point) that most likely will be his destination.

I'm not sure why my head tries to convince me that California is farther away from me than Florida, but it sure plays tricks on me.  I guess it's because I've driven Florida but never driven further west than Colorado.  I'm sure they are equal distance... we are right in the middle of the country after all.

So it's settling in.  They are moving.  Shortly.  Ah, deep breath.  This will be hard.  Very hard.

But what an awesome way to spend Christmas... at the BEACH!

Happy Monday, friends! 

Jen

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Born to Run

Another week of  running down!  Hubs and I start our "official" training schedule (16 weeks) in two weeks but we have been pre-training to get our miles up before Hal Higdon starts kicking our asses.

I'm so freaking excited to report I have NO remaining pain from the Warrior Dash Debacle!  Woo hoo!  I'm running 10 to 15 miles a week with no pain in my ankles.  Oh don't get me wrong, my hips and IT bands are screaming at me.  But no pain in the ankles! Guess it's time to dust off the foam roller once again.

I'm so excited to jump in.  Hubs and I have printed calendars for the next 4 months and for those of you that know me, I love them.  They are like to-do lists for me.  Something to check off once accomplished.  I am totally going to buy us some stickers.

Not our actual calendar- just a substitute :)


Yes, I'm 5.

Seriously though - I've been reading around the blogosphere about runners that give themselves rewards... real rewards (not the sticker kind) each week during training.  I'm SO down for that!

How in the world will I come up with these?  Oh yeah... 18 hours in the car with my daughter did it!  Crazy our similarities since she is building rewards for nugget at the same time I'm trying to come up with stuff for hubs and I.  Ah, circle of life.

Bubba wasn't much of a "reward system" kind of kid.  He was more of the "scream your head off and lecture until your eyes bleed" kind.  Obviously that worked!  Hey, I'm not trying out for mom of the year anytime soon so just relax.  I couldn't incent Jer to do anything.  If he wasn't going to do it, then he just wasn't.  Period.

My little guy though is a HUGE reward system kid.  He LOVES recognition, celebrations for his successes, sports wins, etc.  With each award he is given he pushes himself harder to get to the next one.  Especially money.  If he knows I'm going to give him a dollar he will do just about anything.  And he hoards money (thank GOD).  Never impulsive, he thinks through every future purchase with great thought.  I am so lucky he is just like hubs!

So I can't WAIT to get started.  I can't wait for our first reward!  We've gotta have SOME incentive to putting over 500 miles on our bodies in the next 4 months!

Happy Sunday, friends!  

Jen



Saturday, July 21, 2012

These are MY Truths

I first started to blog the day before my 38th birthday and the journey has most definitely been an eye opening experience.  It has become so much more than I originally thought it would be.  It's my story, my journey, my perspective.  The entries contained within are my experiences and my opinions. 

They aren't right or wrong.  They are mine.



It's fascinating to me that anyone really would care about something I write.  Especially if they don't know me in the first place.  Sure, my friends and family have opinions about what I write.  As expected, since I usually write about them.  But as always, I am shocked when people lash out about something in my blog that don't even know me.  I seriously don't get it. 

I think maybe it's time to address a few items openly to hopefully help those that struggle with my posts.

If you don't know me, don't assume to understand me. 

If you have never met me (or have only met me once or twice) you cannot possibly know or understand the journey that brought me to this singular moment in time.  Just because you may have a friend or two (or ex) in common with me does not make you the expert on all things ME.  Unless you have looked in my eyes, walked in my shoes or verbally addressed me you cannot possibly claim anything I write is correct or incorrect.


My posts are MY opinions, not yours.

I may write something from time to time that hurts your feelings.  You may disagree with me.  And that's okay.  But just because you don't agree with me does not constitute me being a "liar".  I learned at about age 6 that there is my opinion, your opinion and the truth somewhere in between.  Everyone has a different perspective and they may not be able to come to a consensus of the true intent of a situation.  When you place even more spaces between the two people experiencing an event the truth becomes even more muddled (OMG - did you hear what she said about what he told his best friend?)  Yeah, by the time you hear whatever that was, I'm sure it's jacked up. 


Firsthand is always best.

As I look through my old posts, most of them are in the first person.  They are about me saying how I feel about something.  Or my kids.  Or my spouse.  Which makes since... afterall, it is my blog.  Sure, you may share an experience with me, or my kids or my spouse.  But my posts are MY perspective.  If I happen to indicate something negative (which I try hard not to do unless I'm reacting to something) and it upsets you then you'll have to address that with me.  Or just stop reading my blog. 

What's Mine is Mine

Ever heard that saying "I can be mad at my family, but you can't?'  My BFF and I use it all the time to remind each other that as best friends we always look out for each other but when we are mad at someone in our families we are able to vent to one another without repercussion (meaning she won't hate my fam and I won't hate hers).  It's kinda simple:  my family may be weird, different or uncommon... but they are MINE.  So step off, basically.  I think that's fairly explanatory.

I'm proud to say that I don't have to many enemies in life.  Just a few, actually.  It's fascinating they would ever read my entries, given they don't speak to me, my hubs or my kids.  There really would be no reason for them to have a opinion about anything I write.

But apparently they do.  So hopefully this entry helped you out a bit if you happen to be one of those people.  Or just piss you off more.

Either way, have a great Saturday! 

Jen


Friday, July 20, 2012

Friday Faves!!

It's FRIDAY!  Kate and I are taking out today to Denver to go soak up some family love.  Honestly, I'm most excited about our travel there and home!  18 hours together in the car... I can imagine the laughter now.  Our belly's are going to hurt by the time we get home!

As always, below are my faves from around the web this week.  Enjoy, friends!


FAVE FASHION

Well, it's fitting since I'm LIVING baseball right now with little guy.  Tourney week is always a tough one.  All of our emotions from the entire season compile into one week.  Moms are screaming, Dads are yelling and Coach's emotions are at an all time high.  But we totally got this.  Go Yankees!


FAVE MOTIVATION

I love Chalene Johnson.  For those of you that don't know, she is the creator of all things Turbo Kick, Turbo Fire, PiYo and the like (Beachbody).  She is absolutely fantastic.  I love this quote - I love that I can reall start over every single day no matter what happened the day before!




FAVE ORGANIZER

This is FANTASTIC!  I can remember some birthdays off the top of my head but others I struggle with for some reason.  This is a way cute DIY and wouldn't take up much room.  Plus what a great way to remind everyone else, too!  Love it!




FAVE BEAUTY

I hate spending money on beauty products (and rarely do), but this product might need to find it's way into my bathroom.  I love the "beachy waves" look (even though I can't really achieve it).  I use my messy convertible hair as a close second to the beach look.  Right... not exactly.  Maybe this stuff would help?






FAVE SASSY QUOTE

Yep, this is me.  Take me or leave me.  I can't really change it, it is who I am.  Cross me and I'm totally done with you. 




FAVE SAMMY

Oh wow - I must have this.  I love everything in it!  Fried Egg, Avocado, Bacon & Tomato Sandwich.  Bring it on.






FAVE FUTURE DREAMER

In my effort to downsize, this will just keep it in the forefront.  I need to throw things away BEFORE I accumulate them, not after they sit in a box for 6 years!





FAVE FUNNY

Okay, seriously.  The title when I found this on Pinterest said "Because everyone knows how ridiculous you look trying to jump around in a sleeping bag".  Yep.  This is ridiculous at all.

Holy cow.

By the way - the only thing I MUST keep warm are my FEET, so this totally won't work for me.  But I did get a great cackle laugh outta it!



FAVE REMINDER

I rarely go onto Pinterest.  Mostly because when I do, it consumes me. There is WAY to much stuff to look at and in no time you can spend WAY to much time there.  I do get a lot of the Friday Faves from the site though.  Jump on, jump off.  Because it IS electronic hoarding, my friends!





FAVE YUMMO

Oh my.  Hubs is salivating over this right now if he's looking at it.  He absolutely loves lemon and who wouldn't love it coupled with blueberries?  Yowzers!  Click here for the recipe:  Blueberry Lemon Cupcake



Have a terrific weekend, friends!  I'll see you on Monday!

Jen

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Downside of the Mountain

The countdown for Jer has slipped into the 20's.  YAY!  We have passed the halfway mark!!

I continue to be in awe of him and this journey.

He is sending Kate letters weekly and is proud of his accomplishments.

As he should be.

Less than 30 days until I can hug my Bubba again.  Only a few short weeks until we can print our passes to get onto the RTC base.

I'm dying with excitement!  Snapshot below from their website...



Have a great Thursday, friends!


Jen

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

It's 5:00 Somewhere...

Hola, senor and senoritas!

Yep, that is almost my extent of memory from 3 years of Spanish.  Oh, and uno cerveza, por favor.  I got that one down.  Guess I'm not moving to Mexico anytime soon!

I found through the Tiny House Blog community a fantastic story.  I loved it so much I started to follow this woman's blog.  She performed the ultimate in downsizing and lived to tell her story.

Gabriella and her husband moved from their pacific northwest home to Baja, Mexico.  Alongside them in their journey was their 12 year old daughter, Terra.  Their quest?  To simplify and reconnect with things that mattered most to them.

They lived there for 5 months.  In a pop-up trailer.  With their dog.  And no Internet (in the home, anyway).


Click here to read more from Gabriella: Small House Revolution

Some of you may be reading right now thinking "You've GOT to be kidding me!  NO WAY would I ever survive that!"

I bet you could.

The Gen Xers are an awesome group of peeps.  I'm so thrilled to be in this generation.  The Boomers have blazed a trail of negative press in front of us, especially with their normal desire to just retire.  As you know, they are going to suck the life (and money) right out of the system.  There are just WAY to many of them.  And it doesn't help that they came from big families with tons of sibs.

But the Gen Xers?  Well, we are lucky to be in the movement of only children or two kid homes.  We rose up through the 70s and 80s during good economic times.  We watched our Boomer parents (well, not MINE ~ I'm the baby of 4 in a big spread so mine were actually the generation ahead of the Boomers) spend money, save money and work hard for the things they wanted.   

Hubs and I took the first step (sans our best vacay to date, the Elusive Cabin in the Woods) and actually scoped out what could be a tiny home.  It was quite interesting, to say the least.  The building was four walls, windows, doors and a roof.  Studs on the inside, spaces had not been created yet.  It was an open floor plan with two lofts above our heads. 

Our minds were spinning.  This is where I would put the kitchen (what's really needed in a kitchen - a stove, a fridge and a sink).  Coop wanted to know where we would put the microwave.  Very 10 year old perspective.  Thinking about where to put the bathroom.  The living space.  It was all a bit overwhelming!

The two loft areas were pretty spacious.  We could put a bed (sans frame) on either loft area.  Standing up?  Well, that might be a chore.  Walking in the "living room" area was tight for hubs.  To bad he's 6'1"... pray for shrinking in his old age.  I personally love the lofts but think we only need one.  Guests?  Well, they can sleep on our pull out couch, given we have one.  We can have something that converts into a bed.  Or just rent a hotel room for them!
Front door, back room (behind Tim) possibly kitchen.  First loft (stairs would go on the wall next to Coop)

Second loft, living room area.  Second set of doors (barn style).  We would put in glass sliding doors probably.  Don't think we'd keep a second loft (or at least this giant of one... not really necessary except for storage possibly)

We could see it.  We could feel it.  We could envision a great space.  Put in extra windows here.  Maybe solar panels to cut back on electric costs.  Use different materials on the roof. 

The best part of the experience?  My son.  Obviously this plan is for when he is moved onto college. At least that's our intention.  But he totally wanted to join in with us.  We could put our rocker here, mom.  My room could be on this side, mom.  Would we live here on this dealer lot, mom?

Not exactly, little guy.  We could put our house where ever we want in the world.  How awesome is that?

So we have a lot of ideas.  We are starting our research.  Honestly, I'd love for us to build it ourselves.  It can totally be done, I have faith.  I'm giving it to God - he will guide us correctly! 

Have a great Wednesday, friends!

Jen

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Baseball Momma's Pride

Our little guy's baseball team won the first round of their tournament last night!  Woo hoo!  I cannot wait until baseball season is over... so we can start football season!  Actually, this is the only time of year we are dying as both sports overlap.  Not in a nice way, either.  Football conditioning during baseball tournaments is TOUGH.  But somehow, this adorable little thing living in my house doesn't seem to be bothered by it at all.

Coop took on a new position this year:  pitching.  He absolutely loves it.  There were some games early in the season that he started and was timid, a bit nervous and overall stressful.  As the season progressed, Coach worked diligently with Coop to find his perfect pitch.  He asked him a lot of questions about how he FELT during the game.  He totally gets my kid!  After awhile, they both discovered he gets to nervous starting the game.  He is much happier coming in towards the end of the game.  Ah... a closer is born.

The team we played last night is notorious for holding their bats.  When they fall down in runs, the coaches actually instruct their kids to hold their bats on their shoulders.  Don't swing.  It's pretty distracting to a pitcher!  When Coop came in to close, they held their bats.  The boys started walking, filling the bases and walking in runs.  He should have completely freaked out.

But he didn't.

Nope, my sweet boy pushed through.  Coach talked to him from the dugout, providing snip its of encouragement.  Doing great, Coop.  Do what you do.  You've got this.

And he did.



We were able to keep our win by the 5th inning when time expired.  And my little guy delivered the last strike.

I'm one proud baseball momma.  Without a minivan.

Coop loves leaving the ballpark in our convertible, top down, yelling bye to his friends.  Back to his little 10 year old self.  Not so serious.  Just fun.

Onward to Wednesday's game!

Happy Tuesday, friends!

Jen

Sunday, July 15, 2012

For the Love of the Game

I love baseball.  My kid's baseball, to be exact.  I have a pretty fantastic reason.

Bubba played baseball every summer from t-ball to lettering in high school.  He had at least 5 different coaches as a little guy and a group of them as a middle school/high school kid.  There were some nice dad's with some baseball knowledge.  Truthfully though, none of them truly motivated Jer very much.  He played baseball because he loved it.  He loved the camaraderie of his team.  He played catcher and felt great responsibility for executing integral plays correctly.  He had a love for the game.

Coop, however, is having the luckiest streak a boy could have.  My only true explanation is that the stars aligned and placed a very special individual in our path to lead our son.  He is in his sixth year of baseball (including t-ball) and has been lucky enough to play for one coach.  Yep, ONE coach.  In rec league.  

The very best thing about this consistency is that he knows my son. REALLY knows him.  He knows exactly what he is capable of doing and he expects it from him every at bat, every moment on the mound and every step on a base.  He tells him to be calm when he needs him to relax, gently pushes when Coop needs to focus and delegates responsibility in the dugout of rallying his teammates.  The more he expects of Coop the more he delivers.  He has tremendous respect for my son, and my son of him. 

We are so blessed.  I never take for granted when special people surround my kids and care about them as much as I do.

Our team finished in second place in the regular season.  My son has perfected his swing and pitch this year.  And he didn't just do it for himself and his team... he did it for his coach.




So big shout out to Mr. Greg Carr for all his countless hours of work with these boys, consistent and motivating communication with us parents and a never ending love for the game.  As we move into tournament, just know we've got your back as much as you've got ours and our boys!  The boys will give you all they have and show you their heart.  Because you always do it for them.

Happy Sunday, friends!

Jen

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Boastful Momma

I am so freakin' excited! Jeremy wrote Kate this week and has been named Section Leader!

Sounds awesome - what the hell is that? Well, thanks to the Navy's awesome Recruit Training Center website I looked it up!

Well, like all "middle management" jobs, it has it's ups and downs for sure. The advantages are pretty cool.  He gets to lead his group of 13 Recruits assigned to him in their marches.. be in the front.  That's pretty awesome.  His assigned Recruits have to go to Jeremy first with all of their questions rather than to the Watch Leader.  He leads them into chow allowing him to get his food first (which totally pleases me!)  He got a kick ass pin to commemorate it.  All in all, it's pretty freakin' cool.

The disadvantages?  He says he gets no privacy (I actually won't type what he said, but you can get the gist).  Recruits are constantly bugging him with questions.  And if his section messes up with something?  He takes the responsibility.  Oh, that's a tough one.  But what a fantastic practice in teamwork!

It was hard enough for me as a momma to be responsible for my OWN 17 year old.  I can't imagine what it might be to have a gaggle of them.  Scared and nervous.  And making mistakes.  Jer's only 22 taking all that on!

Obviously, my pride meter is overflowing.  I'm totally beaming over this news.  However, to quote Hubs, this news really isn't much of a surprise.  Bub was born to lead.  This is totally expected.

I love the study of birth order.  Being a first born I'm sure has influenced Jer.  Whether with his sisters or his brother, Jeremy has always been a fantastic big brother.  Very protective.  Not afraid to share his past experiences to help guide his siblings.  Always willing to lend a hand when he is needed.



He was a born leader on Coop's football team, helping Hubs coach for the first few years of tackle.  He demanded a lot from the boys and they responded very well to his demands, becoming better players because of him.



So I have absolutely no doubt the Navy has seen this attribute in Jeremy.  And so fast!  When he wrote Kate the letter he was only 2 weeks into boot camp so this is quite a quick achievement.  I am confident he will continue to wow the socks off this institution.

Way to go, Bub.  You rock.  We all couldn't be more proud of you if we tried and can't wait to see you soon!

Happy Saturday, friends!
Jen

Friday, July 13, 2012

FRIDAY FAVES!!

Happy Friday, everyone!  What a week this has been for our family.  I'm so excited for the weekend to be here and enjoy some down time at the pool!

Below are my faves for the week.  Enjoy!

FAVE VEGGIE

Yummo!  I'm not a giant feta fan, but the zucc's definitely out weigh it.  I have two giant zucchini from my bestie's garden so this will make the table this weekend!  Click here for the recipe!  Zucchini Ribbon Salad




FAVE FASHION

Yep, don a dress almost every single day.  It's WAY to hot to put pants on!  Sorry guys, you must be ROASTING!




FAVE TINY HOUSE

Oh yeah, baby.  If you ever read my blog you'll know my BIG dreams of downsizing, living minimalist and owning a tiny home.  Off the grid.  This would be PERFECT.




FAVE DESTINATION

This looks so fun!  Maderia, Portugal.  Maybe on the list for hubs and I next year?  Have to do a bit more research!





FAVE YUMMO

WOW.  We have eaten our weight in berries this summer in our home.  This combines not only those scrumptious loves but my other love, pistachios!  Can I somehow make this healthy?  Click here for the fabulous recipe!  Strawberry Tart




FAVE SASSY

Sorry if I offend!  But so true - I can't tell you how many friends have posted their temperature gauge from their car this summer.  Yes, friends.  It's HOT!!!




FAVE MOTIVATIONAL

Yep, I'm training again!  3rd time is a charm.  I am posting this next to my mirror in my bathroom to keep me motivated!




FAVE WALL

I LOVE this idea!  My new love of anchors is over the top but the map on the wall is even way cooler!  If I ever do incorporate anchors into my decor I better choose wisely.  Or live on a boat.  One way or the other.



FAVE BLING

This has always been a cool symbol, but honestly I fell in love with the infinity sign during this year's debut of Revenge.  What a neat design!  Rings, necklaces, bracelets, tattoos... whatever!



FAVE PIC

I don't know this person. I don't know where she is.  But where ever she is, I totally want to be there.  Without her, of course.  AWESOME photography!


Have a fantastic Friday, friends!
Jen