It’s been a while

So, I guess it’s been a hot minute since I logged on here.

Anyone else around?

Lots has happened since Nation Pi Day, as seems to be how life works.




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National Pi Day…is that really a thing?

Phototastic-3_14_2016_37b990f5-6d66-4dd4-addc-e58da968e066Last year, for “Pi Day”, Brennan and Jackson were determined to memorize Pi.  They did not succeed, but they did get farther then I ever did.  (3.14 vs. their maybe ten digits more …click here for one million digits: )
This year, we are in a new land, with new friends, and new expectations.  This year our newer then us neighbors invited us over to celebrate March 14 (aka Pi Day 3.14) with PIE.  Being the smartie pants that Brennan is, he suggested getting oatmeal cream PIE for our contribution.  Me, being the lazy person I can be some days, thought this was a great idea.  Mini Moon PIES finish off the oh so fancy look of the silver platter.

Different doesn’t mean bad.  Different just means not the same as what you have done in the past.  And for me….I think this different is going to be SO tasty!

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Joining the YMCA and a PSA

My family joined the YMCA of Omaha in January.  It’s been going well, with Bart and I working out at least 3 times a week, if not more, plus I am really liking the classes, especially the ones I get to take with Crissy and Missy.  There is a Y just five minutes away, and that is perfect for us.

It’s all been going well.  Ethan likes Y-Care at the SW location on Monday’s while I do War and Bart works out, the big boys get to play in the gym, and then we get to come together for an hour of “family fitness fun” led by Megan MD, an old co-worker of Bart’s who has other ties to our family as well and is now a personal trainer at the Y.  I like that even the boys are involved in fitness.  We’ve been going to the Y on Saturdays to practice swimming with the boys as well.

Everything’s been going great until…the other day. I went to the Y with my girlfriends.  We worked out, had fun, kicked calories butt, probably annoyed the other people there.  I still can only do the stairclimber for 2 minutes, but I know soon enough I will be able to handle that beastily machine for longer.  Well, I walked the stairs and then it was time to change into my regular clothes… and, well…I saw something when I walked into the locker room.  It is burned into my eyes.  Into my soul.  Into my heart.  Haunting me day and night.

I turned the corner of the locker room to the row of locker’s I’d stashed my clothes and coat.  And there.  Before my eyes.  Was a naked old lady.  Like, birthday suit naked.

Now, after the initial shock wore off, I saw she was actually not naked, just had on nude clothed undies and a nude camisole….making her look very much naked to my unsuspecting and weary from the workout eyes.

I am already skittish about changing in front of people…I am self conscious and I’d just as soon change in a bathroom stall then in front of anyone who might walk by, as was happening in front of my face.  Living in a college dorm was a long time ago…I’ve since lost my “I don’t care who sees what ” attitude I had to a adopt living in a dorm with shared hall showers with no locks.

So….I did what any person in shock would do.  I smiled, said hi, kept walking, and did a bunch of stretches in front of the bathroom stalls, stalling….pretending my muscles needed that “cool down”.  When she was finally done, she looked at me and smiled, made some small talk, and then I walked over and quickly threw my jeans on over my workout pants and left like I was on fire.

The moral of this story is…never.ever.ever.ever wear nude colored undies to the gym.  Especially if you are going to be changing in a common area.  There are zebra print, hot pink, tiger striped, messaged undies out there.  Many to choose from, even in granny panty styles that are comfortable for all.  So, please, for the sake of my sanity, please, if you are in the Omaha area and going to be striped down to your bare essentials, please…wear some neon undies so EVERYONE will know you are at least a little dressed and won’t go into the shock I did.  I just want everyone to be happy.  And happiness is not found in the nude panty aisle.

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Happy Birthday to ME! #jessturns35

6tag_030115-115454   My birthday is always sort of a build up/let down sort of thing.  I get very excited about it in my mind, and then BAM, it comes and goes and it’s like not a big deal at all.

This year was different…this year was great!

First off…scrapbooking with Diana!  I’ve always tried to scrapbook sometime in the month of December…since moving to Omaha, I’ve become friends with a group of ladies where several of us have December birthdays, so we generally get together at some point in the month.
Diana and I wanted to spend some one-on-one time together, so we chose to scrapbook ALL day at Busy Scrappin’ to celebrate OUR birthdays.  I had a great time and enjoyed spending time with Diana…I am SO grateful we served in the Benson Ward Primary Presidency all those years ago!  She’s such a good friend, even if I don’t get to see her as often as I’d like.


Next up, to celebrate my birthday (and see the boys), my brother and sister in law came to town for a few days!  They live in Arkansas, so it is not toooo long of a trip.
Jess brought crafts from a store in her mom’s town in Idaho…LOVE THEM!
The boys enjoyed painting with us as we created masterpieces.  That was fun…but also slightly annoying as I do not like messiness with crafting. 🙂

Mine!  CUPCAKES!  The middle block has metallic paper AND glitter sides…I am in love!

On 12/31, Jess and I went to see ANNIE!  I LOVED IT!  We’d been planning on doing this for about as long as I’ve known they were remaking the movie.  I think I like the new version more then the original…but that’s just me.
(Waiting for the movie to start…we are pretty awesome!)

I am grateful Heavenly Father linked up Jess and Justin…because apparently Jess thought Justin was a dud at first…now she thinks he’s a DUDE!

After Annie, we went home and took a nap…I LOVE BIRTHDAY NAPS!
After that…well, let’s say I struck out.  I thought going to eat at Texas Roadhouse at 5 on 12/31 would be no big deal…um, yeah…an hour and a half later, we left and went to Freddy’s for burgers, fries, and custard.  They even gave me a free custard blizzard!
The funny thing is…when Bart was hounding me about picking a place to eat, I kept thinking, “We should just go to Freddy’s b/c it won’t be crowded and it will be fast.”…next time I will listen to myself.

One of my cousins, Xuan, is in town for a few months while her husband does some work here…they were able to come with us to supper and come over and craft some more!  Can you ever craft too much?  NO NOT EVER!

To wrap up the night, we toasted the New Year at like 10:37 or something…it was a very random time.  But, I was tired, the boys were tired, Bart was a grump, so we went ahead and did it and then we went to sleep.  Picture is compliments of my selfie stick.  It’s dorky and I don’t care!


We got to spend another day with Justin and Jess, plus see my cousins again…then it was Saturday!  Crissy’s birthday!  We went to Wheatfields for breakfast and then we got manicures.  I have lots of January birthday friends, so we celebrated all our birthdays together.  I am so grateful for these ladies in my life.  Missy, Crissy, and Anna are such wonderful friends and I am blessed to have them in my life.  Each one teaches me different things and helps me want to be a better person.

So, overall, my birthday WEEK was pretty darn good.  Thank you to everyone who sent wishes and cards and love my way.  Turning 35 was great.  I am sure it’s going to be an epic year.


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Merry Christmas from all of us!


Bonjour your name goes here this is Brennan wishing you a merry Christmas. Hello this is Ethan hope you get a good gift. Hello this is Jackson and I wish you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

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Christmas Cookies

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When we lived in Louisiana, we joined Bart’s Aunt Linda each Christmas season.  Since moving to Nebraska, we’ve (mostly) kept up the tradition, inviting friends over to decorate cookies each year.

This year was a lot of fun because the boys are all older and spent more time into actually decorating the cookies!
I had a great time and am grateful for my friends who could join us and the time I got to spend with them.

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Merry Christmas Omaha!

With this being our LAST Christmas in the mid-west, we are trying to do all of our favorite traditions!  We are also trying to cross some winter-based things off our “Omaha Bucket List”.
This weekend we went to Mangelsen’s to see Santa Claus (yes, he has a fake beard, no, I do not care…he’s super nice and I am free to take as many pictures as my scrapbooking, picture addicted heart desires.)  OH…I also found a “selfie stick” while waiting…for just $10 bucks!  Totally bought it so Bart can wrap it for me!  🙂

Santa at Mangelsens, Omaha Christmas

That same day, we were invited to go see our first ever hockey game!  We watched UNO beat St. Cloud at the CenturyLink Center.
It was fun to get to hang out with the Alexanders and see Amber and her cute family, too!  I flinched every time a player hit the wall hard or the puck hit the glass.  Those moments were intense.  There were no fights since it was at the college level.  Oh, well. 😉
first ever hockey game, UNO vs St Cloud

Sunday night was the annual “Living Nativity” at Holy Cross Lutheran Church.  We’ve gone as long as we’ve known about it being an event, so at least 3 or 4 years.  It’s always nice to take a few minutes and not just talk about “The Nativity” but also have some visualization.  It helps the boys envision it a little more, what a baby in a manger would be like, how the Angels sang, etc.  And the possibility of having a live camel maybe, just maybe, spit on the boys…well, that has them excited for days.

Living Nativity

We’ve still got a few more things to do this December before we call our last ever Christmas in Omaha complete:  Drive to see the lights around town, attend the Mormon Gingerbread Display at the Winter Quarters Trail Center, and…we have our fingers and toes crossed…go sledding on Christmas Eve.  Though the forecast does not look good for that tradition to happen one last time.  That one started when Ethan was literally just a few weeks old!

What holiday traditions do you have that are location related?  Obviously some traditions can be done no matter the location, but some are dependent on your location.

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Recipes I want to save…handwritten by family or friends, or gathered from random places

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So thankful…that it gets better

I read the blog Momastery sometimes.  Last year, I read this one blog post that had me just GIDDY for the first day of school, 2014.  I was going to be exactly like Glennon.  11 years…full time stay at home mom (plus numerous “money making” schemes and a part time work at home job that generally doesn’t interfere with the full time mama gig.).  I was going to literally JUMP for joy!
Then…first day of school came.  My “baby” (who happens to be taller them pretty much the entire Kindergarten and first grade) started school!   One in middle school, two at Dodge Elementary.
I dropped him off, no tears from either of us.  Entered an eerily quiet house, just long enough to yell to Bart (who now works from home full time) that I was off to meet friends for Starbucks and hanging out.
First day, went great!
Second day, went okay.
Third day….it’s like Ethan and I turned into mental patients.  I totally blame this on Ethan, though. 100%.  And 0% on the fact I’d worked til midnight the night before and had also worked that morning from 6:30-8 a.m.  The new-ness of school was wearing off for Ethan.  He was realizing this early morning thing was NOT going away.  P.J’s are not appropriate school attire.  He can’t bring his Slam City Wrestler to show his friends.  And, each day he had to WORK.
Drop off on day 3 was traumatic.  For both of us.  He had to be carried/drug (this kid is heavy, y’all!) into the school.  Held to the side of the locker while I unpacked his backpack.  Then, his tiny itty bitty teacher came out to save the day (Thank you Mrs. James).  She picked him up in one swoop (That lady has got muscles, y’all…I bet she does weight lifting challenges in her spare time, just saying, I had no idea!) and carried him inside, as he cried and kicked her, and shooed me away…it was for the best.  A parent staying does NOT make things better.  I KNOW this.  I have seen this happen.  I just never had it happen to me…..
So, needless to say, I was a nervous wreck that day.  I cried.  I was in a pissy mood.  I literally had to bite my tongue to keep from cussing the kioski dead sea salt scrub man who asked me not once, not twice, but THREE times to take his product.  Then, on the way back out of the mall, he tells me, “I believe in second chances!”.  At that point, I bit my tongue, put my head down, and kept walking.  I am *so* proud I didn’t punch that asshat out.  Or open my mouth.  I was really in a foul mood.
When I went to get Ethan that day, they said he did okay, after about ten minutes of sitting and shooting “Go to hell” looks.  I know that look well…..
So, next day, I am stressed out.  Ethan doesn’t to go to school.  I am so nervous we are going to have a repeat of being carried into class.  I don’t want his teachers to take away his recess if he misbehaves in that manner again (p.s.  he gets all “green lights” for behavior, so it is the getting him INTO class part that is a problem, once he is engrossed in the work, he is fine, and has happy tales to tell at the end of each day!) and I don’t want to be worried sick about him all day…worried he won’t snap out of his bad mood and will misbehave and be sent to the PAC room or principal.
Although he did walk into his class on his own (Thanks Aunt Jess for the family pic in his pocket idea), he’s not really happy about it.

So, you get the picture…school has been a battle to start out.  It’s caused all these deeply hidden emotions of being alone and missing my babies to come to the surface.  I turned into a big ball of crazy.  I felt like maybe I wasn’t as needed, like I wasn’t quite sure what my next phase was supposed to look like, because what I was experiencing and had planned for the future is not what I thought it would be, not even last spring when I looked forward to all 3 boys being in school full time.  It was as if I didn’t know quite who I was anymore…identity crisis is one way I heard this feeling referred to in a podcast I listened to.  (Love Power of Moms podcasts!)

But today…today I feel like I can confidently say YES!  IT GETS BETTER!  I left Ethan in the line before the school bell rang, where he was talking to his friend from preschool who is not in his class this year.  Ethan didn’t turn to me with tears in his eyes, his voice quivering, and say, “Don’t go Mama.  Don’t leave me here, please!” desperation in his voice.  He smiled and gave me his cheek so I could kiss him, but didn’t run after me for ONE MORE HUG PLEASE MAMA PLEASE.

And it felt so good.

I am so happy he has (hopefully) found his groove.

I am not say there will not be more hard days ahead.  Ethan is and has always been a hard kid.  But, the joy I felt today as I left without one moment of upset or sadness…THAT is what I need.  What I want.  All I want for my children is for them to be successful.  To do the best that THEY can do.  It might not be the best that others can do, but as long as they try, then they win.  And I think Ethan is figuring it out and now doing his best.  And for that I am so grateful.

Because seriously, I was ready to go to the doctor and get a script for some crazy person anxiety pills…sure, I am not exactly sure what this new phase in MY life holds….there are so many changes that will be happening within the next year.  But, for today, I will kick up my heels and say YES SCHOOL IS IN!  My babies are growing up…and I love it!  Someday I will be grateful for the lessons I will figure out I learned from this hard time.  But for now, I am just grateful to have easier mornings where I am not a crazy person the whole day, ready to snap at the kioski guys just doing their job, no matter how awfully annoying that job may be….

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White and Nerdy

Disclaimer:  This post is kind of braggy and whiny.


When I was in third grade (I think?) I remember going into the library at whatever school I was attending (Fort Polk/Leesville, LA) and being given a test.  It was a test to see if I could get into the gifted and talented program.  I don’t remember the person who gave me the test, the questions on the test, or my end score.  I did not “pass” this test.  And I remember wondering which questions I got wrong, how I could have taken the test differently to have done better.  I don’t know that I felt that way in third grade (the sadness at not passing) but I did in later years, sometimes thinking, “If they’d just let me take it again, I know I’d do better!”  ( am very competitive, especially in grades, and always wanted to do better then I had the time before)

Anyway, Brennan was tested for gifted a few years back.  This kid scored perfect or nearly perfect on his state math exam. (I think 100%, but maybe 99%?), prompting the testing.  Anyway, he did amazing and he got in.  He LOVES this class/program and he has really excelled being in a group of 4 white and nerdy kids, learning and being challenged.


Jackson just got the letter sent home yesterday.  He did very well on his initial tests and they’d like to exam him further, to see if he qualifies to be in the “challenge class” and maybe gifted and talented program.   He was SO excited, too!  He kept talking about the cool things Brennan had done, saying he hoped he was able to do some of the things Brennan had done before we move.
While this test excites me, it also makes me nervous…he’s seen how very cool the program is.  He wants to do the things his brother does…what if he is given the same testing opportunity and doesn’t quite make the cut?  I know he will be fine…he’s a smart kid with a huge heart.  But,I still pray he “passes” the exam, because I don’t want to have to see him sad, even for a little while.  I’ve had enough “sadness” from Mr. Ethan every day at school drop off!  I can’t take more child tears. It beaks my heart.


So, this post isn’t to brag, promise…….whether it is nature or nurture that these boys of mine seem to be Mr. Smarty Pants, I am happy for them, excited to see them excel…but my mama heart doesn’t want for Jackson wonder if he could have just done a little better.  (p.s.  that article made me laugh.  a lot.  it’s sort of dumb, but also funny)….And hey, if my kids have above average intelligence and become the rulers of multi-million dollar corporations, who am I to deny myself a spot on the board of directors, along with a fat pay check and company car.


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