Friday, November 30, 2012

FRIDAY FAVES!!

It's hard to believe it is already time for my annual holiday party!  I hope all of you come out - it is a really fun time.  We share snacks, cocktails and laughs... all while shopping!  Woo hoo!

Here are my loves for the week.  Enjoy!


FAVE FASHION

I love black.  And grey.  And jeans.  And aviator glasses.  So pretty much love it all.







FAVE YUMMOS

It's no question I love red velvet (see prior Friday Faves) but this is such an awesome idea!  If in a rush, rather than frosting, place a marshmallow on top 5 minutes before baking is finished and it will toast up beautifully.

Fantastic!






FAVE FURRY

Oh... I miss Henry!  I do love my little grandpup so much.  He is soft, snuggly and snorty.  Sweet, sweet boy.  And no, Sassy... I do NOT want him to come live with me!  Well, maybe... if he could wear this:



FAVE FUNNY

One of our fave movies this time of year:  Christmas Vacation.  Who doesn't love Chevy Chase?  I mean seriously?!?

One of the best lines EVER.  This will be my house this weekend!






FAVE SNACK IDEA

Oh my - these are almost to cute to eat!  I am a huge Laughing Cow fan anyway but these just take the cake.  Or cheese.  :)  Pretzel ears, peppercorn eyes and an olive nose.  Easy and adorable!






FAVE TRAVEL SPOT

Okay, truth time.  I am a giant, hopeless romantic.  Yep, sappy as can be.  So no surprise that when I saw this I totally fell in love.

Romeo and Juliet's entrance, Verona, Italy.  Yes please.  People leave love notes on the doors.

Must go.





FAVE WINTER DECORATION

I absolutely, positively LOVE snowmen.  My house is covered with them.  My tree has a hundred ornaments, all snowmen, most from my hubs.  Because I love them.

This is fantastic - simple.  I think he would have to live inside though... seems if he got wet it would be bad.  I want him!





FAVE KID CRAFT

I'm thinking little guy should make these.  How cute?!  Doesn't seem to "crafty" for him.  My luck though I'd end up finishing all of them....







FAVE PHOTO IDEA

I'm thinking this is a cool idea for some old black and white photos I have, although I don't want to ruin them.  The instructions seem easy but I find that is rarely the case!  Anyone have any luck doing this?  I'd love to see your finished product!

Instructions:  Just print off any picture, spray paint a piece of wood black, cut the picture to match the size of the wood. Coat the wood with Mod Podge and lay the picture on top. Once it has dried thoroughly, use sandpaper to rough up the edges, then seal the photo with another layer of Mod Podge. Screw-in and paint eye hooks and hang with a pretty ribbon. Voila!





FAVE SWANK DECORATION

Oooh, I love this!  I put up last week's Friday Fave idea of hanging ornaments but this one is pretty, too!  Maybe I'll have to switch them out!





Hope you have a fantastic Friday, friends!
Jen


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

T for Technical, not Tennis

I absolutely love passionate people.
 
Especially those that are passionate about me.  Or my kids.
 
This weekend little guy had a basketball tournament.  As we started our first game, I realized quickly we were going to be matched up pretty well.  Although we have only played a few games this season, we are playing up a grade level most of the time to get the competitive level we need to challenge our boys.  This actually gives little guy some work to do.  At 5'6" he is typically 2 to 3 inches taller than most of the boys his age so it's nice to see him eye to eye with another player.
 
Until the smack down starts.
 
5:00 minutes into the first game, it was apparent to me that Coop was going to have to fight to the end.  The boy he was guarding wasn't really bigger than him but definitely aggressive.  He threw elbows early and backed hard into Coop underneath the basket every trip down the court.  Coop had three fouls going into the second half... all against this kid.  And I lost count at how many times Coop landed on the floor from trips and shoves.
 
By the fourth foul, it was obvious Coop was pissed.  He was huffing around throwing his arms up.  It didn't take rocket science to figure out what was coming next.
 
The next whistle was for him.  Nope, not a foul.  A technical.  Yep, my 11 year old was given his first technical for "unsportsmanlike conduct".  My son.  Unsportsmanlike.  I can barely type it... seriously.  He wouldn't be hurtful or hateful to a fly. 

 
 
The ref said he saw Coop try to kick the other player.  I asked him straight out (in my MEAN ass mom voice) "did you try to kick that boy, Cooper?" 
 
"NO MOM!  I would NEVER kick someone!"
 
But here's the best part of the story:  said boy that my child was abusing?  His father was sitting behind my Dad and I in the bleachers.  And he was vocal.  VERY VOCAL.  About my "dirty player that finally got kicked out of the game".  Dirty.
 
Passion kicked in.  My Dad, usually the nicest, calmest, most patient man on the face of the planet, turned around to him.  Very politely, he said "Excuse me?" 
 
The next couple of minutes are a blur, but suffice it to say he proudly stood up for his grandson.  Even after the man continued to insult Coop. 
 
Other parents chimed in, too.  They saw what we saw.  I promise I'm not bragging on my kid - it just is what it is.  He's no bully... on the court or off.  I'd take his head off if I ever saw him display a second of that behavior!  It is my most despised behavior.  I have giant convictions about it.
 
I'm proud of my Dad.  I think he might have been a tad bit embarrassed but I sure wasn't.  He even apologized to me, concerned I was embarrassed.
 
Totally not necessary.  Ever.  I'm glad that he feels as protective about my little guy as I do.  It's so awesome to know others would stick up when necessary (and when others can't).
 
I love that passion.  It's the best!  Big thanks to Pooh for being the best Grandpa EVER!
 
Have a great Tuesday, friends!
 
 
Jen
 
 
 

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Task of a Plan

I'm so achy.  My hands are torn to shreds from all the pine needles.  My shoulder is still burning from my Evil Knievel stunt this weekend.  And I have hours of prep to go before opening the house this weekend.
 
AHHH!!
 
I will say this:  I have the most patient husband on the planet when it comes to my craziness.  He just smiles, pats my head (condescendingly I'm sure) and moves out of the way.  This time of the year I am absolutely CRAZY.  I run around like an insane woman.
 
Wait... that's not really any different than any other time of year I suppose.
 
I do yearn for the day when that part of me will slow down a bit.  Where I can relax without guilt, put my feet up and just chill.  I'm not sure that is really in my DNA though.  But I do yearn for that ability.
 
A ton of my friends are already through Christmas shopping.  I haven't even started.  Not only that - I haven't even made a list yet or figured out WHEN I'm going to start.
 
I did start my Christmas cards last night.  Well, the design of them, anyway.  But I'm not sure when I will actually order them.  Or send them for that matter.
 
And so it goes... my life.  Lists, obligations, promises and desires.  Someday, one day, it will be simplified. 
 
Hopefully this week I can accomplish a few things, amidst two work speaking engagements (at night), cleaning carpets (thanks, Jack) and a little party for 50 of my closest friends in 4 days.
 
Have a great (PRODUCTIVE) Monday, friends!

Jen

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Audition for Jackass

Just call me Ms. Graceful.

It's not unusual for me to have non-descript boo boo's that I can't defend.  A bruise here, a cut there.  I'm always pushing beyond my boundaries, taking risks (mostly unnecessary) and being overly confident of my physical abilities.

Who knew Christmas decorating could be a combat sport?

Each year following Thanksgiving I begin prepping my house for an annual holiday open house.  It's a simple gathering where I invite my friends that make stuff (or sell stuff) to come and display their wares to anyone that wants to come shop.  This year will be the 5th year I'm holding the event and I do absolutely love it.

Except the prep.  The prep can kiss my ass, quite frankly.

Thanks to my fantastic mother in law who owned a beautifully giant house and decorated to the hilt, I have become the recipient of a zillion yards of greenery, wreaths and the like.  I transform our house into a winter wonderland because of her!  In addition to hanging all of these garlands, I am simultaneously moving furniture from the first to second floor to make room for my friend's tables of goods.  

And this year, Bubba isn't here to help me.  Guess who got the job?  You got it... the 11 year old.  Little guy was so excited.... well, not exactly.

Every movement to take down the fall decorations from on top of my kitchen cabinets made him nervous.  He shouted "momma, be careful!" every time I placed my foot on the granite counter.  We made it all the way around the kitchen to the last cabinet and I was very confident we were good to go.  I'd done this feat a million times, switching between spring/summer and fall/winter decorations ever since we moved here.

As I placed my foot on the granite, I placed my left hand on the crown molding on top of the cabinet for security.  I reached for the last item - a glass bowl filled with wine corks - and twisted just enough to allow my foot to slip.  The next 5 seconds were in slow motion... but little guy's words and terror on his face are burned in my memory.  He started screaming as I went down, pulling the crown molding in my hand, crashing everything on the counter top in my path.  Faster than a bullet from a gun.  I'm not even quite sure what I hit but I can say this morning with confidence that it was roughly everything but my head... thank God.   I have cuts, bruises and overall I'm in massive muscle pain.... everywhere.  Nice.



And I'm not even done decorating yet.  And Hubs brought home an 8 foot tree last night.

It's a good thing we have ibuprofen.  And Jim Beam.

But somehow, by some grace of God, my Nana's china sat less than 2 feet from my dismount and it was left unscathed.

There is good in everything bad!

Have a fantastic Saturday, friends.  Try to stay in one piece!  

Jen




Friday, November 23, 2012

FRIDAY FAVES!!

Black Friday.  Nightmare day, if you ask me. 

I have only been out shopping with the crazies once in my lifetime - once to many, if you ask me. I love a sale just like the next girl, but I absolutely, positively will NOT stand in line for 4 hours to save $20 on something. 

My time is far more valuable than that.

So instead, today I'm making turkey bone gumbo.  I'm tearing down my fall decorations and putting up the Christmas stuff.  And I'm prepping my house for my annual Holiday Open House next Friday!  All in the comfort of my home, with endless amounts of coffee and warm jammies.

Yep, that will be me!

Enjoy, friends!

FAVE KIDDO TREAT
I made these last year and not only did little guy eat them up, Hubs and I ate our fair share! I let little guy make these on his own. He had a blast and felt very "culinary"!



FAVE GROWN UP YUMMOS

These look fantastic for the adults.  I absolutely love "finger foods".  I think this needs to find its way to my holiday table!  Click here for the recipe:  Bite Sized Bark





FAVE LIGHTING DECORATION

I have almost this exact light fixture in my dining room.  I love this idea!  I never really know what to do with it so I'll give this a try!





FAVE TABLE RUNNER

I love this... how simple, yet so pretty.  Yep, this one is a winner, too.





CHRISTMAS MORNING

I'm all about easy, especially when it comes to a busy time.  I'm thinking this might work for us for Christmas morning (or some variation of it).  Click here for the recipe:  Slow Cooker Sausage Breakfast




FAVE FLICK
(one of the MILLIONS this time of year!)

Oh yeah, bring it on, Santa!!





FAVE COCKTAIL

I absolutely love The Grinch who Stole Christmas.  I think collectively we watch the movie 20 times in the month of December!  So how fitting to make Grinch Punch?  LOVE it!  And no, it doesn't have booze in it.  But it probably could!  Click here for the easy recipe:  Grinch Punch




FAVE ENTRYWAY

I have a ton of open space in my foyer and I'm never certain exactly what to do.  I'm thinking I'm in love with this concept... hanging snowflakes?  It's a possibility!




FAVE SHOPPING OUTFIT

Oooh, I love this.  Totally me.  Stretchy pants, boots, tank top.  Love.




FAVE FUNNY

Not totally appropriate, but I love it anyway.



Happy Friday, friends!!



Jen

Monday, November 19, 2012

Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda

And just like that, my weekend is coming to an end.  I hate endings.  They are always sad, even when the joy in between was at its highest.

My pride is so overflowing this morning I'm not sure I can truly articulate it.  The kids are doing absolutely amazing in California.  One would think they have lived here their entire marriage.  They are totally settled, seemingly happier than they have ever been.  They have a fantastic home, a structured, consistent daily life and friends that are supportive of them.

And they moved 1,600 miles away to achieve that.

In talking with the kids this weekend, I am filled with mixed emotions.  They have adapted beautifully to their new lives.  Sassy is in school, Bubba reports to his ship with excitement each day and E is loving all his new found independence and time with his momma each day. 

I'm almost envious.

I have never taken the type of risk the kids took.  Honestly, I always looked at it like that:  a risk.  I was so entrenched with taking care of my mom for the ten years following my departure from home that I never even considered there would ever be another option to living in Missouri.  I've traveled all over the states and even though I found areas of the country where I thought the climate, community and people were awesome, I still could never see Hubs and I leaving Missouri.  I've always been comfortable at home, knowing what I know and not taking risks.

I wonder what my life would have been like had I moved away?  Both of my brothers moved right after high school.  They both enlisted and ended up on the west coast.  They seemed to have liked those years although both now are back in Missouri, too.

My son endured an often combative relationship with the other side of his family and the combination of obligation and conditional love became overwhelming to him.  His understanding of the true meaning of a family is entrenched with acceptance, support and unconditional love... something I am extremely proud to see him establishing in his own family unit.  But no matter how hard Hubs and I tried to keep things steady for the kids, the drama filled conflict coming at them from the other side was just to much to bear most of the time.  Now that they are here, the drama has come to an end.  Their obligations have come to an end.  They can decide to move forward and not even acknowledge the things that riddled them in the last few years.

For me, I stayed.  I endured somewhat common drama to the kids with certain members of my family, too.  But my mom kept me rooted in Missouri and I pushed through.  And now, I find myself a bit envious.  I don't regret my decisions to stay put but with the kids move I can see that Hubs and I had an open field of options that we couldn't even see.

I really need to learn to open my intuition.  Listen to my soul a bit more. 

What can I say.... a constant work in progress.  Do we ever stop learning?

Have a fantastic Monday, friends.  I'll be back in the Midwest by the end of the day!


Jen



Sunday, November 18, 2012

What's in Your Stuffing?

Let the cooking commence!

Thanksgiving is my absolutely, positively favorite holiday of the year.  It symbolizes everything family should be to me - gathered, working together, laughing and talking over a nice, home cooked meal.

The epitome of the normal family.

My memories of Thanksgiving as a child are some of my sharpest memories.  I vividly remember my mother slaving away in the kitchen as we all eagerly passed by.  She took great care in her food and poured her love into every step of it.  Her recipes were simple, old fashioned and full of yummy, bad cholesterol inducing agents.  Nonetheless, our family would gather around the table and savor every single bite injecting her love into us through her efforts.

But I think what makes my memory jog back the most is the smell of sage (which, by the way, is what I blame for the mid-afternoon crash of souls onto couches for naps... not the actual turkey.  I'll save that theory for another post.

Hubs and I had been married just a few years when we decided to take on the feat of pulling both of our families into our home (yes, a 1,000 sq ft townhome with only about 400 sq ft of "entertaining space".  If memory serves, it was my idea.  I'm certain of it.  Because Hubs is way to smart for something like that.

So it was my mom, Tim's p's my mom's best friend, Betty, us and Bubba.  So easy, right?  At 23 I'm going to cook for 7 people in a house that only has a table for 4 and essentially no kitchen space.

Hmmmm.

But somehow, just somehow... I managed to pull it off.  Hubs rolled up his sleeves and jumped in the fire with me, as he always does when my crazy schemes unveil.  We fed everyone, we played cards, we laughed and we had a blast.

That was the last time our families were together for Thanksgiving.  1995.  Almost two decades ago.

When I think back now on that event I cannot believe how much time has passed.  I have been married longer in my life than I was single.  I have had Tim and his family wrap their arms around me for two decades now, loving me through my best and worst decisions.

And I have cooked Thanksgiving for  17 years now.  I absolutely love fixing my mom's recipes for my kids.  I love watching them devour the food, laughing and asking me to tell stories about my mom, my grandma and my childhood. 

My Mom's Cranberry Salad, pre-whipped cream.  In a ladybug bowl.  Of course.



Although I happen to be in San Diego visiting my kids for my birthday, I am truly here to celebrate my fave holiday with them.  Because without them, it just wouldn't be the same.

As our journey of slaving in the hot kitchen continues, I will think of my momma all day long today.  She would be so incredibly proud of Bubba and his life.  Possibly as much (or even more) than she is of me.

Happy (early) Thanksgiving, friends.  I hope each of you have a moment with your closest family and friends to connect, love unconditionally and laugh.

Have a great Sunday!


Jen


Saturday, November 17, 2012

West Coast ROCKS!

I waited two months to see the kids.  Two whole months.  That was way tougher than I thought it was going to be, quite honestly.

Now that I'm here in San Diego, it's as if they never left.  Oh sure, they have a fantastic new house (which I LOVE!), they live in a new neighborhood with new friends (one of which I've already met!) and the weather is freakin' unbelievable.  But our relationship is so easy, so laid back, so unconditional that it gives us the ability to pick up wherever we leave off.

Of course it may take an act of God to get me back on a plane to Kansas City.

I'm getting tons of impromptu hugs from nugget.  In between chasing each other around the house with Nerf guns.  He's screaming G from all over the house to let me know he's looking for me (actually Sassy's mom's nickname, but I'll totally take it.  He knows we are his grandma's!!)  This morning we laid and snuggled on the couch watching Tickety Toc, some Nick Jr. show that wasn't around when my little guy was watching. 

And I'm loving every single, solitary moment of it. 

Well, except maybe the commisary.  No, I'm not going to say that I loved that.  On pay day, no less.

Or the freeway.  Oh good Lord, I'm pretty sure I lost about 3 years of live yesterday with Bubba screaming down the road.  I think Sassy needs to be the designated driver the rest of the weekend.  She's fantastic navigating around all this craziness!

Time to go - fun is abound for the day!

Have a great Saturday, friends!

Jen

Friday, November 16, 2012

FRIDAY FAVES!!

I'm just to excited to write up a Friday Faves this week.  Because....

1.  It's FRIDAY - enough said!
2.  It's my BIRTHDAY!!
3.  I get to see my kids TODAY!!!

I am so excited!

I am so blessed with a fantastic family, the most awesome friends and the BEST life ever.  Oh... and not only is Chesney coming back to KC in 2013..... he's bringing Eric Church!

My life is complete.

41 and still having FUN!


As I board the plane today to see my kids, I can't imagine a better birthday present.  This will be the best weekend ever!



Have a fantastic weekend, friends!  Friday Faves will be back next week!

Jen




Thursday, November 15, 2012

30 Things - What's on Your List?

A coworker (and friend) of mine sent this to me so I thought it would be great to share on this platform.  This came from a fellow blogger from an exercise she did with her hubby a couple of years ago.  I'll find her info and give her proper credit on my next 30 things blog.

Anyway - this is a great exercise to do with a friend, a significant other or a spouse.  So this is for you, friends.  Hopefully now you have a little more insight onto all things me.

Oh - and this is in replacement of the "thankful" lists roaming around on facebook.  I tried that one year and failed myself brutally - I can barely keep up with day to day stuff without adding on that task... especially in the busiest season at work!

For now I'll just do a few and catch up slowly.  Some days I may have to do more or less.  We shall see.

Oh - and by the way, if you are brave... do it with me!  Just comment below my posts and give me some of your stuff.  I'd love to learn more about everyone that reads my blog!

1.  List 20 random facts about yourself.

Well, most of you that know me already know these things, but here goes:

I'm random the majority of the time.
I am always multi-tasking.  Always.
Sometimes I stumble on my words because my brain is thinking ahead to what I want to say next.
I'm pretty sure my brother broke my nose when I was little (although he refuses to fess up).
I hate crawl spaces (or underground, unfinished, concrete basements.)
I love small spaces and used to hide in them when little (closets, clothes racks at department stores).
I love the sun and desire it every day (and get lonely and sad when it's gray).
I miss my mom every single day of my life.
Pictures of me are always better when I'm on the right (or left, looking at the picture taker)... see nose comment above.
I vehemently hate poleta.
I can't cover my face with blankets without fear that I will lose my breath forever.
I don't mind if my dog licks my face.
I have to be able to find my hub's toes in the bed at night to touch them with mine.
I have yet to find the perfect pair of jeans for my body.
I wish I would have lived in a college dorm.
I skim when I read but still have excellent reading comprehension.
I have a bucket list of adventures I want to do before I die.
I've been in the same career for 20 years (as long as I've been married.... almost).
I would live all of my days on nothing but pasta (Italian food in general) if I could figure out how to do it safely.
I absolutely, positively love to write and wish I had more time to do so.

2.  Describe 3 legitimate fears you have and explain why.

Okay, this is easy.

I'm afraid of high dives at the pool.  I just know when I hit the water I'm going to break all my bones at impact, sink to the bottom and drown.  I have no idea why I have this fear as I love water, lived at the pool as a kid (and still do as an adult) and I loved rope swings in my 20's on the river.  But I am genuinely afraid of them as an adult. 



I love the dark but still fear what lurks IN the dark.  This goes back to childhood.  I had night terrors or nightmares (whatever they are called) a lot when I was a kid and they were DARK - people kidnapping me, people trying to kill me... not good.  I don't know why (a therapist would LOVE me I'm sure!).  Thank god for bedside lamps because I still won't turn off the light from across the room and get into bed without jumping.

When I hold a gun, even when it is unloaded, I am convinced it will misfire and kill me (or the person I am with).  I know that it couldn't happen, but somehow I believe a bullet would materialize and that would be that.  Death is so permanent the thought sends chills down my spine.

3.  Describe your relationship with your parents.

This could be its own blog, so I'll be brief.  I love them.  

I hated my mother when I was a teen and I was brutally awful to her.  I apologized every time we spoke for my nasty behavior as a teen after I became a mother myself.  She forgave me.  She became my best friend and confidant.  She passed 8 years ago.  I miss her every day.

My Dad and I?  Well, a little more complicated.  He's a fellow Scorpio, that should tell you all you need to know.  We are both fiercely independent, opinionated and passionate..  I love him, that's all that's important.

More tomorrow, friends!
Jen


.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Bend it, Beckham

Our football season has come to an end.  Unfortunately for little guy, it came abruptly. 

We played our last two games this past weekend in a local area tournament.  Saturday was tough - we played a very strong team with great athletic abilities.  The score was tied 6 to 6 at the half and we knew it would be a tough battle to keep momentum and bring it on home.

Unfortunately, we didn't.  Sometimes that happens.  We lost momentum, the other team made two scores and we went down.

For the boys, they played their hearts out.  With 2 minutes to go in the game, little guy tripped over a lineman and fell forward into the helmet of one of his teammates.  His fingers bent back towards his wrist as his friend continued to move in forward motion. 

End result:  high wrist sprain from hyper extending his fingers.  Ouchie.



So now, on the heels of full transition into basketball, we are here.  2 weeks no physical sports.  Rest, ice, splint and Advil.  And lots of praying.

It was a relief to have the doctor rule out any breaks on Saturday as hubs and I were convinced a bone in his hand had been impacted.  Thank God we were wrong.

I've slid into full on nurse mode, although I have to admit I don't baby him as much as I used to.  Maybe I've just grown calloused to his injuries.  Not that he has many.  I just know we aren't out of the woods until the day he stops playing sports (which according to him will be NEVER).

We have already found out we have tournament this weekend so this could be interesting.  Doctor said NO basketball but of course we will be taking him all week to practice.

It's fun being a sports mom.  Honestly, it is.

Happy Tuesday, friends!
Jen

Monday, November 12, 2012

I Like Your WHEELZ!

It always refreshes my heart to visit with friends, especially those that I don't see as often anymore.  This weekend I had a great opportunity to reconnect with my friends from my previous employer - friends that may have started as coworkers but will forever remain close to me.  Although the whole gang couldn't be together, three of us four girls were together both Friday and Saturday night to celebrate life and friendship.

And fun we had!

There are a zillion pics of all four of us together, but this one is probably my favorite.  It makes me totally sad to think that this was taken 4 years ago.  Not even right.

This photo was taken at Cocoa Beach.  One of our favorite destinations together.

KK, CB, Shermie and Me


We try to get together as often as possible, which usually results in not very much.  Even though CB is the one that moved away, since my departure a year and a half ago from my previous employer even the three remaining G Girls find it hard to get our schedules perfectly synced.

Huge bummer.  Because I totally love these girls and our friendships. 

We love the fact that we each represent a decade yet we have so much in common with one another.  How often do 4 women ages 60 something, 50 something, 40 something and 30 something get along so well?  But we do - and we never stop laughing together.

On her way traveling west, CB stopped in town this weekend.  Fun was had all the way around.  Friday night the girls met without me (we had football) but they had a great time, as per usual!



Saturday night I got to join in on the fun, although I was sad to miss Shermie.  She had other stuff to do that was way more important than drinking with us girls (again).  Wait... what could be more important? :)

I started (and ended) the night with KK.  She constantly makes me laugh.  Her intellect, quick wit and sharp comebacks leave me doubled over most of the time we are together.  I miss her in my daily work environment. 



To contribute to the fall party, I took a ton of my fave new caramel apple and candy apple jello shots.  Yeah - I think they were gone in 2 hours.  Oh well - next time I need to remember to make more than 50.



Although Shermie was absent, we were able to visit with CB's bestie, Donna.  Such a hoot.  She fits in perfectly with the G Girls (or we fit in with her and CB... whichever).



As always, it was hard to leave.  Our lives are incredibly busy and I'm not sure when I will get to see CB again.  We talk about it all the time but find it hard to actually make the travel.  And now all my extra funds are saving up to see the kids in Cali.

Have I mentioned I leave in FOUR DAYS to see the kids?!?!  I'm so freakin' excited!!

Cheers to old friends that remain close regardless of the distance.  I love you girls!

Have a great Monday, friends!

Jen


Friday, November 09, 2012

FRIDAY FAVES!!

Despite my growing sadness over the elections, I still found time to find fave things to cheer me up!  Here you go, friends... my sharing for the day.  Enjoy!

 
FAVE YUMMO

With Thanksgiving (my FAVE holiday of the year) right around the corner, I yearn for sweet potatoes more than ever.  Hubs makes the most AMAZING sweet potato pudding on the planet - I eat it until I about to pop every year!  It is my staple left over that I hoard in the back of the fridge!

We eat sweet potatoes about twice a week, so of course this is not unusual.  But something about this pic flooded me with memories of the sweet syrupy love I have of hub's dish.

Bring it on!






FAVE TABLE SETTING

Oooh, I love, love, love this!  So simple, just like me.  I'm sure I can get some wood somehow and get TD to build these boxes for me....







FAVE SASSY FASHION

Although I have a professional career, I still fall in love with edgy styles from time to time.  This one is right up there for me.  Although the purple may be a TAD bit to purple.  And I have no idea what it looks like without swinging it around.  But I do still love it.






FAVE KICKS

Yes, please... come to momma!






FAVE SASSY QUOTE

Okay, I'm gonna get slammed on this one.  I'm sorry, friends!  Hee hee!







FAVE HANDBAG

Oohhh - I LOVE this so much!!  I just refuse to pay the price for it.  But man, oh man... this would look so good on me!






FAVE FALL OUTFIT


Okay, not really fall... it's actually listed as a Christmas Shopping Outfit.  Whatever.  I refuse to talk about that holiday until my FAVE holiday (Thanksgiving) is over.  BTW - I hate the purse.  Just saying.  And the scarf... not necessary :).








FAVE SWEETS

I'm addicted to ice cream.  If it's in the house, it's gone.  I can't stay away from it.  So when I stumbled upon this one, I thought I'd died and gone to heaven.

Almost.  It's fantastic.  You must try it!





FAVE HOODIE

Mmmm - I love, love, love Northface.  This is perfect for these in between, cool fall days here in the midwest!  Maybe I would be re-inspired to run a bit more!





FAVE REMINDER

And finally - to end this hella week.... I love this.  When all else fails, just add vodka.



Have a great Friday, friends!

Jen

Thursday, November 08, 2012

The Doctor is In

Let the therapy begin.

Anything tragic that occurs in one's life can cause a flurry of emotions.  Consequently, many turn to therapy.  Or liquor.

The election results have resulted in just that:  my new career.  I've become a full time therapist in addition to my responsibilities as a consultant.

I'm officially changing my name to Lucy.  I've always thought it was cool she was a Van .  How cool is it to have a VAN in front of your name?  And Van Pelt brings back fun memories of my elementary school band teacher.

But I digress.


Just a disclaimer (in case you need reminding):  this blog is a PERSONAL blog and the thoughts and words presented herein are of my OWN opinion and do not reflect the opinions of others (primarily, my employer).  Just to get that out there.

15 years ago I spent a great deal of time with an association that lobbied in the healthcare arena, specifically to protect the free enterprise of the purchase of insurance.  I went to DC 4 years in a row lobbying to our Senators and House Reps for freedom of choice, the antithesis of "National Healthcare".  I educated myself, my clients and the employees of my clients on what Hillary Clinton was designing, presenting and attempting to place into her husband's candidacy for all Americans.  It was a bi-partison discussion.  I stood with fellow republicans and democrats to try to save the sanctity of free enterprise, competition and choice.

We won.  Until 4 years ago.

I sat on my couch Tuesday night with knots in my stomach and bile in my throat.  The past four years have been the hardest in my career to say the least.  I sit before owners of small businesses and their employees everyday and counsel not only the financial implications of the current administration's impact on them but the potential impact of the next four years should Obama remain in office and Obamacare remain as enacted.  

It's grim.  

Oh don't get me wrong:  I think it's super nice that we care so much about our citizens that we propose a method to give them allegedly free healthcare.

Right.

The implications of the Affordable Care Act reach so far beyond what most Americans know and understand.  

And those people, my clients and friends, their dedicated employees.... they will pay for it.  Until they can't.

It was grim 4 years ago when Obama single handedly pushed Obamacare through without regard to the political design that had been established centuries ago.  As a consultant, I hurriedly educated myself on all facets of the proposal (yes, all 2,000+ pages of it) to begin helping my clients understand it's intent.

And just like that:  I began a therapist.

But we had hope.  Hope for the future.  Hope that in four years (and in the middle of the Affordable Care Act implementation calendar, prior to the BOOM that will drop is 2014), we could change the current administration and protect their businesses from failure.

See, most small employers report that benefits is the SECOND highest cost of their organization closely behind payroll expense.  Each 20-30% increase in premiums they incur is a direct threat to future raises, purchasing of equipment, advances in technology and of course... retention of their employees, directly impacting their bottom line.

But we had ridden out that exposure.  We helped them through it with hope.  Hope for the future.

Tuesday that hope was squelched.  The American people didn't vote fiscally.  They voted emotionally, socially.

I cried as I fell asleep Tuesday night.  Wednesday morning my liberal friends on facebook were so excited (of course), expelling the virtue of acceptance and moving on.  I'm happy for them.

For me, that's not so easy.  I endure the policies written by the current administration EVERY SINGLE DAY.  

Needless to say, my first appointment Wednesday morning was morose.  With tears in her eyes, my client wimpered across her desk to me:

"What are we going to do now?"

I touched her hand and reassured her.  I will continue to advise her, counsel her and protect her company and her employees to the best of my abilities.  Hope is not lost.

I hope she didn't see what I was really feeling.  I feel deflated, defeated.  Hope is lost for now.  Most likely, the bill Obama pushed through will stand unless by some stroke of luck pieces of it can be repealed.  He promises now that he will work with Republicans.  He saw how divided this country is and promises to bring us together.

We shall see.  It's going to be a long and hard 4 years.

So to my liberal friends rejoicing today, pardon me if I don't join in your celebrations.  Excuse me if I don't share in your excitement.  And forgive me for not "praying for our current president".

Nope, I'm to bitter for that.  For now, anyway.

Sorry friends, sometimes my truths prevail (and escape onto paper).

By the way... if you happen to be in Obama's camp:  please don't comment on my blog.  I seriously can't argue with you at this time.  The time for debate is finished and is irrelevent.  I have to reserve my energy for discussion with the Americans this policy is directly affecting.  Real people enduring the true outcome of his actions.. So please forgive me for not wanting to banter with you over the results of this election.

Jen



Monday, November 05, 2012

I'll Never Forget

On a beautiful, sunny Friday in November, I was hurriedly collecting my things in my office.  Although I had taken off that afternoon to go pack for my girls weekend, I decided I had enough time to chat with my coworkers in the conference room as they ate their lunch.  As we laughed about the days events (or each other, I'm sure), I barely heard my name called over the loud speaker.

"Jennifer Davis, you have a call on line 1."

Somebody was paging me.  Weird, that never happened.

I ran back into my office and picked up the receiver.  "This is Jennifer."

The next 4 minutes of my life were a standstill.  Honestly, they still are.  It's as if someone took freeze frame photos of me and I'm looking at them through an eyeglass.  Each second recorded in time.

I don't recall my words exactly, nor do I think I ever will.  But the emotion is as raw as a brand new flesh wound.  And it still is.

I felt wounded, immediately.  I felt betrayed.  I thought she was lying to me to be cruel.  I felt guilt and shame.

And I couldn't move.  I'm not exactly sure how long I stood there in my office, holding the phone, long after my brother's girlfriend hung up.  I was angry that she phoned me - we didn't exactly see eye to eye on most things related to my mother.  How dare she call me... especially with such important information.  Where the hell was my brother?

Crumpled in a corner.  Just as I was about to be.

The walk back to the conference room was long.  I could barely edge the words out of my mouth.  Somehow I was able to whisper though.

My mom died.

People flew into motion.  Within seconds I was sitting, which was a good thing since my body had begun to betray me.  My shoulders were shuddering and a wail was escaping that was unfamiliar.  My stomach was lurching with every sob that released.

I'm not really sure how long I was in that room but I will always remember the arms around me, the shared tears, the friendship and empathy.  These women I so casually called my coworkers had stepped up to a new role for me that day, although I didn't quite recognize it at the moment.  They shared an experience with me, one that I would forever burn them into my memory as my strength in crisis.

I don't recall the drive.  I had driven 25 miles to meet Tim at Bubba's school.  I'm not sure how I made that drive that day but I had only one thought coursing through my mind.  He had to know, right away.  She wasn't just a grandma.  She was his rock, his anchor.  

When we arrived at his small, private high school and entered the door my throat closed.  I couldn't speak the words.  The school counselor placed us in the library and went to get Bubba.

But I didn't have to speak.  My face said the words for me.  As he entered the room, he looked into my eyes and muttered "no, mom...".  I shook my head, my throat almost completely closed at this point.  He lowered his head and walked slowly into my arms, both of us enveloped by hubs loving embrace.

It's been 8 years now since I lost my mother.  At times when life is swirling around me quickly, I realize I haven't thought about her in a couple of days.  Guilt strikes still.  I spent a great deal of time with my mother during her illness the year before she passed but she had recovered, rebounded.  I thought we were in the clear.  I had become somewhat complacent that fall, feeling we had a lot of time left.

We didn't.

Today, I remember this moment in time as if it was yesterday.  The emotions are as raw as they were then.  The feeling in my stomach is there, my throat is dry as if I could erupt at any moment.

I miss my mother.  I miss my best friend.  I'm not sure that will ever subside.

I share this with you as a simple reminder.  Although cliche, life is short.  Say the things you want to say, do the things you want to do and always, always let those in your life know exactly how you feel. Because you never know when your phone may ring.

You are missed, momma.  Thank you for loving me 32 years of my life so unconditionally.  I will never, ever forget.


Jen

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Hoops are Up

And just like that, we are in the throws of basketball season.

Ah, my little jock.  He sure keeps me running.  At least I'll be warm in a gym at 8:00 am.   And at 9:00.  And at 11:00.  And again on Sunday at 8:00.

Oh - and we play our Superbowl football game on Saturday, too.

I honestly don't know how he does it physically.  He has to be totally exhausted pushing himself through two sports simultaneously.  Two very physical sports.

Sometimes I wish he'd just play chess.

But no, he wants to play rugby.  Or lacrosse.  Anything that lets him tackle, run and score.  Here's a clip from his first game (that he was able to play in) this season:


video


I love our basketball team already, in particular the coaches. They are amazing men - leaders with expectations, biggest supporters of the boys and grasping every teachable moment possible with enthusiasm and encouragement.  Exactly how I envision coaches should be.

Thank god we fell back and moved our clocks.  I have been literally exhausted lately.  Hopefully this extra hour will jump start me back to normal.

As if I'm ever normal.

Jen

Have a great weekend, friends!

Friday, November 02, 2012

FRIDAY FAVES!!

November... my FAVE month of the year!  I'm so excited for this month.  It's jam packed with basketball tournaments, football tournaments, visits with friends, travel to see the kids, my birthday and of course, my fave holiday.... Thanksgiving!  I'm hopeful this month can be dedicated to a lot more writing as well... in my spare time. :)

So here you go - new loves for the week!


FAVE FASHION

Love green, love brown.  Love this.

Tell me this though:  why does EVERY outfit have to have a scarf?  I still don't get this fashion and it never looks good on me personally.  Oh well, the rest rocks.







FAVE ELECTION TIP

Has to be said.  I feel as though I often spend time defending my positions.  This helps explain it best.





FAVE SPACE

I love bedrooms.  Get your heads out of the gutter.  I think it's mostly because as a child I really didn't have a "decorated" room that was all my own.  Sure, I had posters on my walls.  But I didn't really have special bedding, especially for me.  I tend to lean more towards a rural look, but urban with hardware and color.  This one is definitely on my list.






FAVE SNACK

Yummo!  No need to even explain... this looks fantastic!




FAVE ACCOMPLISHMENT

This is awesome. In light of the upcoming election, it must be shared.  Thank you, fearless women, for raging your paths to give the future women of America rights to voice our opinions.  We are forever grateful!





FAVE KICKS

Love, love, love boots.  Love them. Can't get enough of them!  Gotta find these!






FAVE ORGANIZATION

Okay, I have to do this.  We have a pantry about this size with straight shelves but this seems so much more user friendly.  New project?





FAVE C&C

Although I don't have mine yet, I still love these.  Why not combine the fantastic virtues of Spanx essentially with self preservation?  Love it!





FAVE MONTH

November is my favorite month for so many reasons, but of course one would be because it's my birthday month!  Yep, I'm a Scorpio... proud Scorpio!  And this year, I get to see my kids in Cali on my birthday!  Woo hoo!





 
FAVE BLING

Love anchors, love this sterling silver ring!



Have a great Friday, friends!

Jen