Monday, April 29, 2013

Our Weekend in a Nutshell: 2 Birthdays and a Garage Sale

Hallelujah!! The garage sale is OVER!!!!

I can't tell you how happy I am to type those words!

I feel like I've spent the better part of a month getting ready for this thing and now that it's over, I can honestly say that I never want to have one again.

But don't tell Addie because she is hoping to have a garage sale every weekend so that her and Nia can set up their lemonade stand and make some bank for college.

And let me just tell you...these two made a KILLING this weekend!! People would just walk up and give them dollars because they were so cute.


We also had plenty of repeat customers, like our neighbor Sue. We are making her a punch card :-) 


We were so lucky to have such beautiful weather for our garage sale weekend. We were able to move out a lot of stuff from our house and the kids were able to enjoy the sunshine. You can't ask for a more successful sale then that. 

After we closed our doors on Saturday, it was time to head to our first of TWO birthday celebrations this weekend. The first was actually a surprise 30th birthday party for my cousin Scott. He was genuinely shocked when he came through the door!!!


But, he wasn't nearly as shocked as all of us were when we realized that Jill and Ben had flown in from Colorado to surprise everyone!!!!! Addie was so happy to see her.


And so was I :-)


We had the best time singing to this goofy fella...


And playing with the kids.




Scott's wife Liz did an amazing job coordinating everything and I am so happy we were all able to get together to celebrate :-)

On Sunday, after a little relaxing, it was off to Mima and Papa Steve's house to celebrate Aunt Dana's birthday!!! We made some big ass steaks...


Took some cute pictures...



And then ate some DE-LICIOUS cake!! Can you tell Nolan is excited for a piece?


Here's Aunt Dana with all of her babies.


After dinner {and one too many glasses of wine} everyone got a little goofy taking pictures. Nia insisted on taking individual pics of everyone so we played Glamour Shots for her. Didn't she do a great job?! Ha!


I had to include this picture because Nia Beans loves "reading" my blog and I had to show off her photography skills.

So...how was everyone else's weekend? I swear I get tired just reading my Nutshell posts. Ha! But there is no time to rest!! Lots of fun in store this week for us, including a very special meeting with my girl Heather tomorrow!! I can't wait!!!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Health & Fitness Friday: Some Special Shout Outs

Happy Friday Friends!


I hope you'll all forgive me if today's Health & Fitness Friday is short and sweet. My workout this week has consisted of about 1,267 trips up and down my basement stairs preparing for what will hopefully be our LAST garage sale until the kids are in high school. WHEW!

But I couldn't let this week go by without giving some shout outs to few ladies who deserve a very enthusiastic WOOHOO!!!!

First up...my lovely buddy Steph who has hit a MAJOR weightloss goal this week!!! I am sure she is doing her own post for today so I won't spoil the fun...but please head on over and give her a big congrats...this girl has been working SO HARD!

Next up, my twinnie Amanda who ran a very successful 5K this week and managed to get herself a new Personal Record!! Amanda and I are planning to run the Monster Dash Half Marathon together this October and because she is totally badass and doesn't like to waste time, she has already started her half marathon training. I guess I better get my bootie in gear too!


 And finally, my girl Jen from Boys Will be Boys, who finished yet another Mud Endeavor race this week with her hubby. She has truly become the vision of Health & Fitness lately with all of her clean eating and kickass workouts. In addition to that, Jen has been busy spreading her motivation around and even took the time to send me the SWEETEST little gift this week. I can't wait to wear it :-)



As I said above, I have been pretty busy this week and my workouts have kinda suffered because of it. I did get in two runs last weekend, the first of which was a 6-miler that I dedicated to Boston and my hometown, which has been recovering from some serious flood damage this week.


Aside from those two runs last weekend and a few short yoga sessions to stretch, I have done NADA this week...unless going up and down my stairs 1,000 times counts. But I do have a 5K this Saturday that I am really looking forward to. I haven't run a 5K for time in a while and I am hoping I can really kick some butt and get a PR. We will see!!

Because our week has been so crazy, meal planning and cooking have once again gone out the window. As frustrated as that makes me, we have done SO good this year and I am actually excited about getting things back to normal this week so I can try some new recipes. I also made a late night impulse purchase on Groupon and signed up for emeals, which so far looks like the best $2.50 I will ever spend a month!! The Groupon is still going on so be sure to check it out. I will report back next week after I have tried some recipes and given my app a test run :-)

Well that's all I have for today friends!! I am looking forward to reading about what everyone else has been up to!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

When Connor & Addie Get Married...

When Connor & Addie get married, Tara and I will tell them how we knew this day would come...even before they were born.


Their love started early...


With wagon rides...


And movie nights on the couch...


Pretty soon these two were in a full-blown relationship. There was a LOT of hand-holding...



And romantic meals...


We've even caught them playing doctor...ahem.


They've traveled to the Moon...


And to Chicago...


And they're no longer afraid of a little P.D.A. when the mood catches them.




They love to cuddle...


And bake together...


And play together...


And even after almost 6 years together in a long-distance relationship...these two are still going strong.

We had a chance to meet up last week and let Addie and Connor celebrate their 5th birthdays together. We took them back to their favorite Children's Museum...




And then walked to our favorite pizza place...


Where these two pretty much made out the whole time...


While Tara and I planned the wedding :-)


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Mommy's a Maniac



I don't know how or when Addie and Blake learned the word "maniac" but they both know how to use it in the right context and they say it ALL. THE. TIME.

Like when I'm running around the house like a crazy person looking for my car keys, only to realize 20 minutes later that they are actually around my wrist, Blake will say, "Mom's a maniac!!!"

Yes buddy...I am.

Or when I bolt out the back door in my bathrobe after Howie because he is chasing a rabbit and I'm shouting" DON'T RUN! YOU HAVE A BAD LEG YOU ASSHOLE! I'M NOT BUYING YOU ANOTHER ONE!!" Addie will say, "Mom's a maniac!"

Yes sweetie...I am.

Or even when Eric comes home from work and I'm bee-bopping all over the house juggling 20 projects in addition to cooking dinner and taking care of the kids. He will look at Addie and Blake and say, "Mommy's a maniac!"

Okay...I guess I do know where the kids learned that word.

The thing is...I am constantly running around like a maniac because I have this problem of never being able to say NO to anything or anyone. I have talked about this so many times on my blog and for a while, I was being so much better about picking and choosing my projects and responsibilities. 

But today...as I look at my calendar {that literally doesn't have a blank space left over the next 6 days} I wonder why I always do this to myself. WHY didn't I say NO when the director of Addie's preschool cornered me on Friday and asked if she could count on me to run their first annual 5K this weekend. I KNEW I was having a garage sale that day. I KNEW that by saying yes I would have to be up extra early, get a babysitter {since Eric is still working OT) and open my garage sale an hour late. I KNEW all this and still said YES! Actually, I said "OF COURSE! I'm so excited" and then I literally had to clamp my mouth shut and walk away before I asked if there was anything else I could do to help.

And the thing is...I really do want to run that 5K. And have my garage sale. And get Addie to ice-skating lessons. And go to a birthday party later that night and bring my garlic swiss dip that takes an hour to cook. I want to do all those things but in order to make them all happen in one day, I know that at some point I will become "Maniac Jen" again.

I think the problem is #2 from the definition above.

I am a person who has an excessive enthusiasm or desire to make people happy.

And I don't think I will ever be able to change this about myself, which means that #1 and #3 will apply to me too sometimes and I'll just walk around like screaming banshee all day :-)


As cute as screaming banshee is...too many days in a row of screaming and running around like a maniac is NOT good for anyone. I start getting frazzled and forgetful and straight up emotional. And that's where I'm at guys...I am worn a little thin right now.

But do you know what gives me hope? This beauty that sat in our driveway all weekend.

Photo: This can only mean one thing...it's almost CAMPING SEASON!!!!!

Camping season is almost upon us and it can't get here soon enough!!! Eric and I have both been very busy bees lately working hard for our family with very little time to ourselves. Bringing the camper home this weekend for it's Spring clean-up made us both smile because we know that in just a few short weeks, we will finally be able to SLOW DOWN and enjoy our first cozy campfire of the season.

So what is it that finally gets you and your family to slow down? Or better yet...how do you turn off your maniac switch?

Friday, April 19, 2013

Health & Fitness Friday: Love for Boston

There is really only one thing on my mind this week, and it only seems appropriate to share my feelings on this post.


I am not exactly sure when I first started referring to myself as a runner. It may have been when I finished the Couch25K, or when I crossed my first finish line, or even when I took my first steps out the door. Regardless of when it was, the fact is...

I AM a runner.

I run because it makes me happy. I run because it takes away the crazy. I run because it keeps me healthy. I run because it's in my blood now. It's part of who I am.

Other runners can relate. We all run for the same reasons and it doesn't matter if we can run 1 mile or 1 marathon...we are untied.

So when my friend Barb called me on Monday and told me about what had happened in Boston, I was in shock. Just a week earlier, I was crossing my own finish line in a big city with thousands of other runners. My finish line was packed with people cheering on their friends and family. Moms, Dads, grandparents, children...holding big signs and clapping their little hearts out. I remember the feeling of rounding the corner onto Michigan Ave., where the crowd gets thick and the cheers get louder. I remember saying to Tom that this was my FAVORITE part of the race. Not just because the finish line was within our reach...but because the energy was overwhelming. The euphoria you experience in those last few minutes of any race are priceless. Those moments are worth all the training, all the sweat, all the tears and all the hard work. And for me, that was all just for a little old 8K.

For those Boston runners...this was THE race. A race that some have been training for their entire lives. A race that most runners will never have the opportunity to run in. I can't imagine the sense of pride those runners feel as they run down those historic streets. And to have all those moments taken away from them by one senseless tragedy breaks my heart. And none of them will ever be the same again, especially if they or someone they loved were injured or killed that day. How do you come back from that?

I've only seen or heard a few interviews with some of the Boston runners this week but when each of them were asked how they planned to process and recover from this tragedy, they all responded the same way:

Keep running.

I've been so moved by all the organizations across the country that have been encouraging people to not only donate to Boston, but also to get out there and #runforboston. I even got an email today from my local running store letting us know that they are putting together a solidarity run on Monday.

I really wanted to get my hands on the tribute t-shirt that Adidas just launched but as of last night, they were already sold out.

image: adidas Boston Tribute Tee L89600


All proceeds from these shirts goes to The One Fund Boston, Inc.

I am so so proud to be a part of the running community and I think it's wonderful that SO MANY people in the US right now are taking up running just to show their love and support. What a perfect reason to lace up your shoes and take your first strides. I can only imagine how many finish lines will be crossed this year in honor of Boston.

We stand as one.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Tooth Fairy's Very First Visit

I feel like it was only yesterday that I posted about Addie cutting her very first tooth. In fact, I love that I can go back on this blog and read about those special moments. I honestly couldn't remember where I was when I finally felt that little tooth popping through and then I read that post and I was like YES!!! I was in church and she was chewing on my finger. I even have a picture of us from that day. Just look at all that drool on her little dress.


And now here I sit, 5 years later, writing out the story of the day she lost that same tooth. 

We were at the Davis Family Reunion this weekend and the kids were all going wild in the bouncy house. Addie had spent the last week showing everyone her wiggly tooth so she was very much aware of it. But when she came out of the bouncy house that day, Eric saw she had just a little drip of blood on her chin and when she smiled and went to wipe it off, Eric yelled, "ADDIE! Your tooth is gone!" 

Addie screamed so loud she actually scared me. I saw all this commotion over by the bounce house and I saw Aunt Dana climb in. For a second I thought someone was hurt but then I heard all the kids shouting that Addie lost her tooth!! They were all crawling (or bouncing) around the house looking for it but I was SURE she had swallowed it. And that made me sad because I really, really wanted her to have it for her pillow.

Anyway, a few minutes later I heard Aunt Dana shout from the bouncy, "I found the TOOTH!!!!!" and all the kids went wild clapping and yelling. Then of course they all crowded around her to see it. The magic tooth.


Have you seen a happier face in your life?


 That night, Addie and I couldn't wait to get home and set her pillow out for the tooth fairy. Nana made her the most adorable pillow (and she is working on her own design to sell in our shop. YAY!) and thanks to Aunt Dana Nia's toothfairy, I knew to sparkle up some money ahead of time.

And because I am a sucker for late night crafting, I decided to also make Addie a little Tooth Fairy Receipt. It was all perfect and it took her FOREVER to fall asleep that night.


But when she woke up, everything was waiting for her...


Including some glittered fairy wing prints that were left on the window (but didn't photograph well). I realize the tooth fairy went a liiiiiiittle overboard and clearly inflation has changed the whole tooth industry.

But gosh...the look on that peanut's face when she woke up was worth every penny!!!!

I just can't believe my baby girl has lost her first tooth.


After posting this picture online, I had a few people ask me for a copy of the tooth fairy receipt so I went ahead and made a girl and boy version that you can download from our shop blog here.

And if there is one thing I can tell all of you parents who haven't played tooth fairy yet...it's to take out your video camera the night before. I taped Addie telling the story of how and when she lost her tooth, what the tooth fairy looks like, what she thinks she will leave her in her pillow, etc. It is the funniest video ever and I will cherish it always :-)