Thursday, November 17, 2011

in case you missed it

Just a friendly reminder.

This blog has moved.

Jen has taken up residence at her new blog...

Come visit !

Thursday, November 3, 2011

my blog is moving and getting a name change

A blogger friend of mine e-mailed me the other day and asked me a question.  This person asked me if I ever considered changing the name of this blog. I'm going to paraphrase here he/she said that this blog really isn't "all about Jen", so why the name?

Honestly, I had no vision of what this blog would be when I started and like the name it wasn't very well thought out. Time and practice however has taught me a few things, first I like what I'm doing on my blog now but the name's gotta go. He or she is free to reveal themselves if they'd like to take credit for nudging me towards this change. I'm rather excited at this do-over of sorts!

This left me with some choices to make. Do I keep my URL and just change my Blog name ( I thought that might be confusing ) Or do I go for the whole shooting match and just start a whole new blog? The fact of the matter is I like this blog, it's kinda like an old friend and so are many of you, so I've decided to export this one to my new blog here with a fresh new name, something a bit more fitting.

Now you might ask what's the new Blogs name? Now that took some work! I made lists and thought of clever little sayings, then rejected them all. The person who wrote the e-mail mentioned in a follow up e-mail that blog names are personal. How right that person is.

So I started to reflect, to think about our life especially these past five years since the kids deaths. We have lived  through so much heartache but there were so many blessings too, we are after all hopeful people. Surely there was a name there somewhere! In my search for that blog name, I kept on coming back to one thing, people are curious ya know, and the #1 question I get asked is "what it's like after the loss of a child", "how do you go on"? My answer to that is "you go on because you have to there's no other choice". "But you do have a choice in the manner in which you  live on". I will tell you this, "there's a ache that never goes away but God has provided for our family and we're living a full life".

So my blogger friends I do hope you will join me over at my new blog named we're living a full life. I'm afraid I couldn't take my followers when I exported this blog so you'll have to come yourselves if you wish. I should also say that if you are an e-mail subscriber and want to receive what I'll be writing on the new blog by e-mail you are going to have to sign up again (sorry!) and thank you.

That's so be sure to jot it down!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

yes, i really did number 22

Last weeks writing prompt with Mama Kat's writer's workshop was to write a list of the 22 THINGS I had done. This week I can take one of those things and elaborate. The choice was easy, because I really did # 22 and a few people commented on it!

Here's what they said.

ARIANA said, "now # 22 is just crazy!!!" in her comment. An my friend MARK said in his "#22!" " Seriously?" " Were you strapped in?" "That's craziness!!!"

Let me explain since not only am I not crazy, I am actually the most normal person I know. I plead tired step-mother with a touch I didn't have a clue! What to know what #22 is, read on?!

You see I married young and my husband had three little kids, they lived with him so I became an instant Mom, I was barely 22 at the time.  Full of myself I jumped in head on into the step-mom thing. Some people might think that's crazy but that's not #22, continue reading.

When their Mom picked them up it was alone time for my husband. After all most married couples get years of privacy before kids but not us, alone time was weekends only.

So here's the story, we had only been married for a few months but on this particular weekend we decided to get away.  I cuddled up next to my husbands warm body while he was driving and fell asleep, it was a short distance to our destination but I went out like a light. I should say at this point I am not normally a napper.

A few months later on weekend afternoon after a romantic encounter hubby came back into the bedroom and sat on the bed eating a cold piece of pizza and drinking a beer. Being a big lover of pizza and beer I was rather surprised when I felt a rather strong urge to jump out of the bed, run to the bathroom and throw up. Dizzy and in a cold sweat I sat on the camode and just knew that I was pregnant.  Then the light went on for the reason my lights went out and I....  fell asleep on the back of a motorcycle.22

I received one more comment about #22, it was from JACKIE and she asked, "Oh my goodness, how do you fall asleep on the back of a motorcycle?" 

My answer to her would be; I was at the time an exhausted step-mother who didn't have a clue she was pregnant, and apparently that meant I could sleep anywhere; even on a motorcycle!

Monday, October 31, 2011

there's frost on my pumpkin

I can hardly believe that November is upon us. How is it that time has flown by so fast? 
 With the change of the seasons comes so many glorious things.
There was a lovely frost across our land this morning, it glistened in the morning sun like the ocean.

 Why don't you take a minute to breathe in the cool fall air, chat with your neighbor over the fence when your raking your leaves? Heck rake you pile and then jump in them, go wild for a change. Cuddle up with someone you love in front of your fireplace on a chilly day, maybe with a glass of wine or some cocoa.

Think of your favorite knit and wool sweaters your boots, your comfy robe and slippers and your most favorite comforter, don't they always seem so much better this time of year? Kinda like old friends.

Bake a pie out of that pumpkin that's sitting on your porch, believe me it isn't that hard. I've even done it! Put on a pot of soup or stew, bake a loaf of bread, the aroma in the can't be beat.

Enjoy the falling leaves or maybe chop some fire wood.

When was the last time you were apple picking or went on a hay ride?  Have you visited a pumpkin farm recently? Did you go trick or treating yesterday with your kiddies? I didn't get one single trick or treater at my house due to our rural location- boo hoo!

Enjoy your fall my friends, because before you know it, it will be winter!

make me laugh monday - cats

My blog buddy and sister in spirit Kristen over at 
had decided to brighten our Mondays by injecting them with bit of fun. 
She's beginning today a photo linky with a twist.

Why not write a bit of  fiction with your photo- non fiction- 
 just link your photo wordless?
The idea is to have fun with it. That's why she's calling it
"Make Me Laugh Monday"  
I'm doing it, why don't you? Cheetah and Tarzan. I have a feeling they are going to be Monday regulars!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

from my kitchen - home made pizza

To think last week end we were walking around Washington DC and the weather was beautiful, spring like even! Today one week later it is cool and nasty out, last night it dipped down into the thirties here. In some parts of Northern Virginia today they say...SNOW! wow.

So what to do?

I say make home made dough, fire up the kitchen's oven, break out the pizza stone and make some pizza!

There is NOTHING better then the aroma of fresh dough rising in the kitchen on a cold rainy day, let me tell you! It brings back wonderful memories of my grandparents. Have I every mentioned that my Popa was a baker and that Nana loved to bake pies and bread after he passed?

It is one of my fondest memories of childhood. Mmmm, I can close my eyes and just conjure up that smell in my brain and the feel of the dough  and my grandmothers hands in mine teaching me how to kneed and work the dough.

But now things have changed. I have my trusty Kitchen-aid mixer with dough hook to do most of my work for me! All I have to do is choose the right flour ( King Arthur Flour- my personal preference and I have not been compensated for the shout out to the King ) and make sure I add the right amount of water, yeast and salt and in the right order. The amount of flour when it comes down to it really is a feel thing I might add...

Thursday, October 27, 2011

the life I never planned

I never planned this life, I planned another one. BUT I have accepted the life I have as the one I was destined to have. Was it easy? Of course not! 

But in doing so I truly have been left with the gift and that gift is gratitude. Gratitude for every moment however short that God put my children on this earth and I treasure each and every one of those moments with my heart and soul. I am blessed with the best family and forever friends. They fill my life will love and inspire me to be the best person I can be. Some days are better than others, and I am reminded how flawed a person I am on those bad days!
I could easily feel sorry for myself but despite my circumstances I will never feel the victim, it's all about attitude so I try to keep a good one.

I'd like to think that maybe now I'm a nicer person, a bit more patient, rather more generous then before. My heart if open to forgiveness and I love deeper and am more respectful of others than before.  
Just maybe through my experience of loss I've gained a bit of perspective. That I appreciate what I have just a teensy bit more than before because I've lost so very much....
Do you deal with your life with a glass half full or a half empty attitude? 

We all face illness, death of our loved ones, job loss, our kids, loneliness and isolation, marital or relationship and financial stresses. 
I've kept a personal journal, done therapy, relied on my friends and family, blogged, prayed, screamed, walked on the beach, used sleep techniques when i wasn't sleeping and then prayed some more.
How do you do it? How do you deal with your life's challenges?

things I've done

Last week I did a post linking up with mama kat on the things I've never done, this weeks task is to write a list of Things I have Done... so here goes.

I am 52 years old and I have:

1. swam in the Atlantic, Pacific and the Mediterranean oceans.

2. moved to a state 8hours away from my parents after marrying.

3 lived in a beach community.

4. learned to cook Chinese (cooking class)

5.  buried two of my children, a daughter and a son.

6. owned dogs, cats and mice as pets.

7. gambled and liked it.

8. worked with the poor and homeless 

9. cooked for a men's shelter.

10. played viola in the junior- high school orchestra.

11. gone on religious retreat with Nuns

12. been to therapy

13. gotten drunk

14.shot a snake

15. surfed

16. stayed out all night (in my younger days)

17. took sewing lessons 

18. went up the Hudson River (NY) in a boat past the Statue of Liberty.

19. saw two mountain lions walk across my neighbors yard.

20. worn green dresses in every wedding for which I was a bridesmaid.

21. turned grey at 35

22. fell asleep on the back of a motorcycle

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

family,food, cake and a hike

After DC the family got together at my house for some food and relaxation.We did do a lot of walking after all. I have to say mother nature really cooperated and the weather was wonderful so we gathered outside.

My daughter, her husband and their kids Adam, Emmanuel and Xavier drove down to visit with my brother Paul and his daughter Amanda who were visiting from Hawaii. I'm afraid we didn't get pictures of everyone but here goes...

Here's Heather, my daughter and her Uncle Paul hanging out saying their hello's.

And here's Mom, my son Matthew and my son in law Bo enjoying the beautiful day and an adult beverage before we ate.

My husband isn't much for cooking in the house, however he is great at the grill! And of course that's Heather again, even as a child she was a ham bone!

My grandson Emmanuel's birthday was last week so we had to have a cake right? What kind of grandparents would we be! With his parents looking on he's blowing out his candles and making his wish.

Then they all took a hike back onto our property which is about 26 or so acres, this is what they saw.The next three pictures were taken by my nine year old grandson Xavier. I think he's got a bit of talent don't you?

This is our pond, a timber company just cleared about one square mile of timber on the other side of it for a family who inherited the land. It looks terrible and leaves much of my area looking more like a prairie.

This is our old three level tobacco barn. It hasn't been used in many many years as you can see by it's condition. The tobacco would be hung on poles up on top across beams and then a fire would be built on the ground and the tobacco is smoked before going to market.

These are a several trees that are sure to become fire wood for our wood stove at some point. They are most certainly storm damage from our last hurricane. 

And now a few pictures that my niece Amanda took when she was out and about on the hike.

This is a deer track that they found out in the woods, we have a family of deer who come up to the house regularly and eat the apples and pears off the trees.

Our apples are just about done as you can see, this one is pretty rotten on the vine, and the leaves are almost all on the ground now.

And that was our family day, with food, cake and a hike. My brother and his daughter left to go back to Hawaii early this morning. We are SO happy that they could come and so sad to see them go. Maybe next time we can all get together; all of us.

Monday, October 24, 2011

my trip to D.C with the family

Our trip to DC was great, the drive is just under three hours so it really is a good trip to do for us. Just close enough but not to much of a hassle if you time the traffic right to get there without thinking your driving in a parking lot.

Me, my husband, our son and my mom borrowed our daughter's mini van and with Bill at the wheel we  headed up for a few days to meet my brother and niece and do some sight seeing. 

Matthew works five days on and five days off at his job, he's having a little snooze after working some very long 12 hour tours.

My mother is reading a text message! I believe it was my brother calling me old but saying it was my niece writing the texts. You know why? He's older of course!

I know I should have did my roots but instead of making excused of why I'm so grey; I'll tell you the back story of why my brother Paul and my Goddaughter Amanda who live in Hawaii were going to DC. Actually they started their trip in New York visiting with my brother Gerard and my sister in law Denise and kiddies, Syd, Gerard and Alex. Then they popped on an Amtrak to DC for the second half of their trip for a little sight seeing before heading to Virginia for a visit with Mom and us.

We arrived at the hotel within twenty minutes of them and went directly to the nearest Irish Pub, sorry no pictures of that my camera batteries were dead that minute and my replacements were around the corner in the hotel. God bless my brother who spotted the Pub on his two block walk from Union Station to the Washington Court Hotel where we stayed.

Yeh!  My niece Amanda  had this picture of the Pub door on her camera! I'm so happy to be able to add this to my post.

The hotel was very nice by the way, clean and reasonably priced. Our only problem was and how can I put this delicately, the walls were "thin" either that or the ladies in the next room lets just call them Mona were very uninhibited, morning, noon and night; bless their hearts!

So then to get off to sight seeing, Mom begged off since being pushed around DC in a wheel chair was just not her cup of tea we headed off in the direction of the Smithsonian's with our hearts set on the American History one. This is us in front of it, actually this picture shows the building across the street.

In the Presidents section of the museum they had these cool street signs the glowed against the dark back round when I took this picture I thought this might be a nice desk top background if you were a president freak or a road sign enthusiast.

Then we were off and walking after they kicked us out of the museum at 5:30. And the next day there was more walking and some driving in the van.... this is what we saw.

This is the Achieves, the building is so huge, much like everything in DC that from the sidewalk this was all that would fit in the picture frame of my digital camera, there are tons of stairs and a whole lot more building missing from the picture, the building is incredible.

Paul and Matthew dwarfed by the rotunda of the Capital Building...looks so huge doesn't it?

Here's Matthew and Amanda, I see the family resemblance don't you?

Me and my brother Paul hanging near the Washington Monument;  I didn't notice any cracks or tilting.

We wanted to get some pictures of the Washington Monument, just in case. With all the news of cracks and repairs...well you never know!

My brother was very impressed with the grass in DC, he dubbed it the "big grass". I guess living on a small island such as Oahu, most everything looks big here. My husband mows tons of grass weekly...not so impressed *giggle*

I grabbed this picture from one block over and you can just see parts of the White House peeking up threw the trees. 

My brother Paul and Amanda on the grass  with the Washington Monument in the background.

From the steps of the Lincoln Memorial you can see the reflecting pool is getting a make over. It struck me how large it really is when the huge machines that were excavating it appeared to look more like Tonka toys from above!

And good ole President Lincoln, looking so majestic overseeing all that construction and all the throngs of tourists, he really is a beautiful monument.

And don't think Mom sat in the hotel the whole time, we did get her out and about...

Even at 83 a woman's gotta eat so we put Mom on the Metro, see Matthew was her driver and we all went down to Chinatown for dinner. We had a great meal there. Actually it should be mentioned DC is a very handicapped friendly city the corners have ramps and the metro stations have elevators so we didn't have to much of a problem navigating her around other than we were unfamiliar with the location of the elevators.

So anyway Mom's meal was spectacular, she ordered steamed oysters in black bean sauce WOW was it a sight! And this time I did have my camera.

There was a lot more to see but alas not enough time, back to the house for us there was a large TV and a baseball world series game that needed to be seen. The next day my daughter and family are coming so there's another post needing to be written. There's food, birthday cake, and a hike on my property and some awesome photography by my grandson Xavier that needs to be shared.

Until then.....