Category Archives: Uncategorized

Hello, My Name Is Jen, and I Am An Old Lady

This morning started out like any other morning. I got up, started the coffee, went to the bathroom… but then, as I was washing my hands, I saw it. One bright silver hair mixed into my otherwise pitch black unruly mane.


Just sitting there… staring at me. All silver and beautiful and very very much not black. Just sitting there staring at me like it was no big deal… like it’s very existence wasn’t a HUGE something.

The last time I found a grey hair on my head I was 20 and had a full on meltdown in the bathroom at my work, because I was positive I was now going to be like my stepdad… completely grey by the age of 22. My crisis was averted when I quickly discovered that it wasn’t actually a grey hair, I had just gotten sunscreen on one strand so I could wipe it off and move on with my life.

But this was definitely a real grey hair and it was definitely attached firmly to my head (I double and triple checked) and I couldn’t decide how I should feel. I’d always swore once I started going grey I was going to do so gracefully… because old age is a beautiful privilege that a lot of people don’t get, and because silver hair is gorgeous, and because embracing the maturity that you’ve earned is a wonderful thing, and because I want to set an example for my children about how I’m not afraid of getting old and about how society’s fixation on youth is stupid and blah blah blah.

And on the other hand I AM NOT EVEN 30!! All those cliche quips about aging gracefully I said when I thought I wouldn’t STILL BE IN MY FREAKING 20s when I started dealing with it! And OMG seriously you guys I AM NOT OLD YET!

So I had a crisis… but not a normal kind of crisis, I had a crisis over deciding whether or not I am supposed to have a crisis right now. A crisis over the possibility of a crisis over one stupid hair. Even at the time I realized how stupid it was so since I clearly can’t be trusted to think through this on my own I messaged a couple friends who’s opinions I trust nothing but the above picture… and got the following responses.

“It’s Beautiful!!!”
“I have tons of grey hair… clumps… but I kind of love grey hair so….”
“I’m jealous! It’s gorgeous!”
“I’m going grey all over, I hope mine turns silver like yours so I can be one of those badass silver haired old ladies.”
“Awesome! If you get a bunch more you can totally be Anna from Frozen for Halloween this year!”

So apparently the conflict I was having over the whole thing was not reflected in the minds of the women I love, trust, and turn to for advice in life. And since I pride myself on surrounding myself with amazing, strong, fabulous women I may as well take their advice when it’s offered… or when I specifically ask for it… so at least for now my crisis has ended. I am aging gracefully and embracing my new found natural highlights.

And yes I do mean “highlights” to be plurel… I went on a small search and officially have at least 3 shockingly silver hairs. But I’m ok… I’m ok… I’m ok… (I’m going to keep saying that until I’m fully convinced.)

The Beach is Only 1.5 Hours Away

So seriously… why don’t we go more? An hour and a half… that’s it. And we’ve been there only twice since we moved here how many months ago. (In my defense, David has been gone on work trips at least half that time and two kids at the beach by myself isn’t something I’m up for.)

Well yesterday we went. David is a hunter/fisher at heart and the Oregon coast is more full of clams, cockles, and crabs than you can shake a stick at.


The kids spent their day building with the sand, drawing in it, digging for clams along side David, investigating all the different forms of beach life… they learned all about the different kinds of clams, especially razor clams because they were the kind we were looking for. Of course they wanted to know where the clam’s poop out of because everything at this age leads back to the topic of butts.

Finn spent most of his time just digging. Digging digging digging.


And Verona spent a lot of the day just running along the surf with joy.


Being Single is OK, Being Cliche is Dumb

Dear Single People,

Quit bitching about Valentine’s Day.

Yep, I went there, I did. And yes, I’m well aware that I have no right to be telling you this seeing as how I haven’t been single on the big V Day since high school… but not having the qualifications to tell someone what to do has never stopped me before. (And isn’t the whole point of a blog the ability to run your mouth about things whether anyone should give a shit about your opinion or not?)

I get it… not having anyone to hold your hand over a candle lit dinner on February 14th means you’re not the key demographic this very minor holiday is aiming at. What I don’t get is why that stops you from having Valentine fun.

I am a little bit French, half “dark something” (<– that’s the technical term), and possibly Hobbit… there is not a drop of Irish blood in these veins that I’m aware of. And yet, somehow, I still manage to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day like it’s my mother fucking job. I can’t imagine anyone in this world who would describe me as particularly patriotic… yet I still manage to celebrate the 4th of July every year. Nobody within the key demographic that holidays are aimed at want to stop other people from having fun right along with them.

I’ve never been carded while attempting to buy a Car Bomb on March 17th and had the bartender say “Sorry lady, you’re definitely over 21 but that last name is clearly German. Go home and drink some ice tea you non-Irish poser, today isn’t for you.” I’ve never had the guys working the firework stand on July 4th shoo me out of the tent because I’m a Mennonite who doesn’t say the pledge. And I promise nobody is going to slap the glue stick out of your hand if you get out the red, white, and pink construction paper and try to make your BFF a card.

Sure, Valentine’s Day is about love, just like St. Patrick’s Day is about Irish heritage, and July 4th is about patriotism. But those days also about chocolate, green beer, blowing shit up… and chocolate, green beer, and blowing shit up all awesome.

So if you’re sad about not having a special someone in you’re life that’s fine, I understand why that might be bummer, you’re allowed to be bummed. If you just don’t like Valentine’s Day and don’t want to celebrate then don’t, you’re don’t have to. If you really, genuinely, get off on hating Valentine’s Day then invite another single friend over and eat cookie dough all night while you commiserate, cookie dough is magic and sometimes wallowing feels good.

But loudly bitching about Valentine’s Day because you’re single doesn’t make you sound edgy or counter cultural or like you’re making a point. It just makes you sound like a cliche, and that’s lame.

Instead go buy that 75% off chocolate on the 15th. I know I will be.

Why I’m Not Allowed Near Art Supplies

I was talking to a friend a few days ago who told me she can’t leave art supplies out because then her kids get into them unsupervised and there is always giant messes and she just can’t handle it. I was like, yep, I hear ya. I can’t leave art supplies laying around within people’s reach either. But it has absolutely nothing to do with my kids.

Today there was a bunch of ribbons, tacks, and various kinds of paint that got left out for whatever reason. So I picked them all up and put them away. Just kidding!
I started to go clean up the kids room and was like “Hmmm… I bet I could use this ribbon to find a better way to display the kids art!” and spent like an hour measuring, cutting, and planning… then hanging floral ribbons from the ceiling to floor in my hallway that I can use paperclips to clip the kids’ art to now so I don’t have to fight with tape. Ta-da! The good news is I now have a super easy way to display my kids’ art. The bad news is I didn’t clean a damn thing.

Then I thought since I’d gotten too distracted in the kids room I’d clean my room instead… but then I saw more ribbon and was like “Hmmm… I bet I could use the rest of this to find a better way to organize my earrings!” so instead of cleaning a damn thing in my room I made an even bigger mess by dismanteling a giant picture frame, pounding the metal things that hold the glass in down, spray painting it blue… then not liking the blue and spray painting it green… then deciding the blue really was better and spray painting it blue again, then measuring, cutting, and planning how I was going to use the ribbon, and trying multiple ways to hold the ribbon in place until I found one that was successful. Ta-da! The good news is once I hang that bad boy up on the wall in my room I’ll have a super easy way to hang all my earrings and other jewelry so I don’t have to go all pirate on my dresser every day and dig for buried treasure. The bad news is I didn’t clean a damn thing.

Then I was talking to my friend Brittney, the conversation went in a fun/weird direction, so I drew a picture of what we would look like if our houses burnt down. That’s us sitting on our ash covered home foundations drinking coffee and waving to each other. The good news is… well actually that one wasn’t helpful at all other than maybe mildly amusing Brittney. And I didn’t clean a damn thing.

Then I walked past some paint and made a bunch of happy envelops to send people mail… letters that maybe I’ll get distracted enough to write someday. Or not.

I also played a lot of Beatles songs on the ukulele cause it was that kind of day and cause I probably shouldn’t leave that laying out where I can see it either. And I read a lot of books to the kids and they joined me in a lot of the art because I am good at spending time with my kids… just not good at keeping my house from looking like a tornado went through it.

You know what I didn’t do?

Clean a damn thing.

Funschool Sunday

What’s been going on in our little corner of the homeschooling universe.
1. Collections
2. Sculpting
3. MagnaTiles and Light tables
4. Face painting
5. Being a veterinarian
6. Learning about circuits
7. Learning about vogue-ing
8. Learning about air pressure
9. Learning about aerodynamics
10. Learning about electrical currents
11. Building
12. Clay
13-14. Swings
15. Cooking
16. Glazing

Ashes in my Pine Tree

This morning my doorbell rang and I found an old woman on my porch who announced herself with the phrase “Good morning, I’m about to ask you the strangest question you’ll be asked all day.”

Just for the record, if you’re trying to spark my interest that intro is a pretty damn good way to do it.

She then proceeding to hold up a big ziploc baggie full of ashes and asked if I would mind if she laid her mother to rest in my front yard. Yes, you heard me right, she wanted to spread her dead mother’s ashes on my seldom mowed lawn.


Apparently this whole part of town used to be one farm, specifically her family’s farm. They’d lived there for generations and the morning her mother was born (in what is now my neighbor’s house) her grandfather planted the giant tree out in front of my house in honor of her arrival into this world. As her mother grew she spent huge swaths of her childhood under/in that tree as it grew right a long with her and had always said that she wanted to spend eternity in it’s shade.

The whole property had been sectioned up and sold to people building city property some time around 1930, so this lady had been going through the neighborhood for I don’t even know how long with old maps, property deeds, and county land records trying to figure out exactly which house her mom and grown up in and subsequently which tree she wanted her ashes under… and was pretty sure it was this one.

I, of course, told her to go for it.

And that’s the story of how there came to be a really old lady spending eternity right outside my kids’ bedroom window.

Sex Ed aka What It’s Really Like To Have Kids

I have a new idea to improve public school sex ed classes and reduce teenage pregnancy. They should have me come in and give a talk… a very honest talk. It will go a little something like this.


“Good morning children. I’m sure your teacher has already thoroughly gone over all the teenage pregnancy statistics with you. How much child support costs, how much less likely you are to graduate or even go to college, the health risks… that’s all true. You’ll have a lot harder time in life if you get pregnant right now.

And I’m sure since you’ve all seen babies you’re aware of how adorable they are, and how fun they are. Babies are crazy fun and adorable and wonderful to have… that’s also true.

But since you already know it’s hard and expensive and fun and rewarding to have kids let me tell you what it’s really like to have kids… the part nobody tells you about.

When you have little kids there will always… ALWAYS… be one thing in your house that smells like pee. Maybe nobody else can smell it, but you’ll be able to. YOU’LL ALWAYS BE ABLE TO. And you’ll search and search for it and spend what feels like half your days just wandering around your house like a senile old dog sniffing random objects, searching for the mystery pee smell which may or may not actually exist. Yeah, you heard me, sometimes THERE WON’T BE A SINGLE FREAKING THING IN YOUR HOUSE that actually has pee on it at all… BUT YOU WILL STILL. SMELL IT. ANYWAY.

And it will gas light the shit out of you. That, THAT is what it’s really like to have kids.”

*drops mic*

*runs back over and grabs mic off the floor*

“And also your entire bathroom will always be covered in tooth paste.”

*throws mic back on the floor and leaves the room*

And all those little teenage girls will raise their hands furiously screaming “Get me an IUD! I need an IUD right now!!!!” and the next day they will all get them. And there will be substantially less unintended teenage pregnancies in this world.

You’re welcome America.

I Fail At Writing Books

I currently have multiple books that I’m “writing”… by which I mean the idea has been thoroughly born and now nobody has actually started any real writing. I’ve been saying for years I’m going to write a parenting book called “The Zen Art of Chilling the Fuck Out”, my friend Erinne and I have been planning to write a children’s version of the Martyr’s Mirror for a while (sometimes we actually get together but then end up just drinking coffee and running after our kids instead), and Kristen and I have no less than 5 children’s books layed out in story board form and then abandoned.

Well now I have one more to add to the list. My sister Tricia and I decided we should write a book about how to be an adult. The idea came about when we started talking about people we knew in high school and realized, wow, even though we always complain we feel like we don’t have our shit together we’re apparently very good at being grownups. At least compared to a lot of people our age we used to hang out with.

So look forward to our new book, “Adulting: You’re Doing It Wrong”, coming to the very back shelf off a bookstore near you. It will include such amazing adulting advice as “bills do not have suggestions as to when you could probably pay them if you get around to it, they have due dates”, “just because someone is really fun at a bar doesn’t mean their friendship is worth having in your life”, and “being an adult means embracing basic grammar… nobody is going to get all grammar nazi on you here but it is not that hard to capitalize words that need capitalization and throw in the bare minimum amount of punctuation to make your words readable”.

I <3 Really Bizarre Fashion

I’m back! I didn’t have internet for the first month we were in the new house… at least not enough to really blog (blogging from my phone makes me want to fall over and die) but we got into the new house (an adventure that will absolutely find it’s way into a belated blogpost), went back to Phoenix for the Free To Be unschooling conference (which was hella awesome), and shot Phoenix Fashion Week again.

Which brings me to the actual point of this story… how much I love Rocky Gathercole.

People who know about fashion and who are into fashion like designers who make clothes you could possibly wear somewhere, things that aren’t too costume-y. But I am not someone who knows about or is into fashion. I am a gal who wears dresses from the Target and Ross clearance racks on my fancy days and dress like a pregnant college student on all the other days (I may or may not be wearing maternity yoga pants and a tattered tshirt I got in the 7th grade as I type this… only God can judge me) and the designers I like are huge and ridiculous and bizarre and make you raise one eyebrow and say “What the fuck?” with every new look that comes down the runway. And I LOVE ROCKY GATHERCOLE.

It started out with this…
I am not even kidding.
And to that I say HELLZ YEAH! Then he busted out a little bit of this…
And ended with his daughter… in a Hello Kitty dress.
Yep… that just happened.

And that, that my friends is why I loved most of the things I saw at Fashion Week but I ADORE crazy balls-to-the-wall wild ones like Rocky Gathercole. Seriously.

(Click HERE to see the rest of my pictures from the week.)

So My Dog is Definitely Racist…

My dogs are sweethearts. They’re big, they’re chaotic, and sometimes they’re very very noisy, but they’re sweethearts. Daisy (the pitbull) also tends to be fiercely protective of the kids and I… the time someone tried to break into our house in the night while David was gone I was only about 40% scared for me and the kids, the other 60% was scared for the poor robber because I knew the second he managed to jimmy that door open Daisy was going to end him. (He got the message from her snarling at him through the window and decided to move on to another house. Lucky for all of us.)

10% protector, 90% lazy spoiled creature.
10% protector, 90% lazy spoiled creature.

The family next door to us in this hotel are conservative Muslims who also happen to all be completely terrified of dogs. TERRIFIED. So every time we’ve run into each other while I was out walking the dogs it doesn’t matter how far away we are from them or how calm and friendly the dogs are being… they see the dogs and lose. their. shit. Specifically the dad who usually runs in front of his family yelling at me to keep the dogs away and generally panicking all over the place.

What I see is a man who has probably had VERY bad experiences with dogs in the past. I get it. My response is to turn around and walk the dogs the other way until they’re gone so they’re not uncomfortable because they’re a very nice family.

What Daisy sees is a large man acting erratically, running towards me (to get in front of his family), and yelling. Her response is the same as if he was trying to kill us all.

Which, as you can probably imagine, only makes them freak out more. And then it’s this chaotic spiral of increasing noise and panic and general chaos. It’s not awesome.

It’s been almost a week since I’ve seen them while I have the dogs (which is awesome) but occasionally now Daisy will just start barking at people. Just random people. I couldn’t figure out what was going on, she’s never done this before. But then I put it together. She barks at anyone dressed like a conservative Muslim. Her only experience with people who look like that has been this family.

So just like my neighbor sees a dog and thinks it’s going to kill him and his whole family (regardless of how it’s acting) because that has been his experience… my dog now sees someone brown wearing a hijab and thinks they’re going to kill her and her whole family (regardless of how they’re acting) because that’s been her experience. And there is probably no way at this point I could ever convince them to interact with each other long enough to realize their preconceived ideas are not based in reality. Ta da! That’s how racism happens!

And that, dear readers, is the story of how my dog became a racist. The end.