Friday, September 16, 2011

Five Question Fridays!

 Head on over to 'My Little Life' and link up too!!!





1. If you had a weekly newspaper column, what would you name it?Obviously,  'Jersey Girl in Louisiana'!

2. Who is your mentor/inspiration?
I guess the cliche answer is my parents, but it is 100% true.  They both worked their butts off to give my brother and I the best life they could.  And it was an awesome life.  And they are the world's best grandparents to my boy.

There are a handful of amazing ladies at my church too, who are so caring and giving and full of Faith that they inspire me to be a better Christian.  




3. What is your wake up beverage of choice?


Hmm.. Well if I could have ANYTHING I wanted I would either have a Starbucks Mocha Coconut Frapp or a Hazelnut Iced Coffee from DD, but since those are not my morning options, I either have regular Folgers coffee or a cup of tea.  Occasionally juice too.


4. Would you wear your mom's clothes?

I would and I do!  My mama is mega stylish.  She has been in clothing retail for YEARS and definitely has a better wardrobe then me.  I LOVE getting hand-me-downs from my mama.  They are awesome and smell like home <3

5. When you were a kid, did you put posters on your wall? If so, what were they of?

Backstreet Boys!!!  I LOVED (okay I still do, hush.) Nick Carter!  I still joke with my husband that Nick Carter will be my second husband.  My walls were COVERED.  I went through a stage where I love JTT (Of Home Improvement) too, but no one held my heart like BSB.
My bedroom in 2000 and I still never close my drawers, much to my husband dismay.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sunday School and 9/11

Yesterday was my first Sunday as a Sunday School Teacher.  I teach 2nd-5th grade along with 2 other ladies. I have to admit, I was really scared about teaching such an impressionable age and being fairly new to the church(I started attending the Episcopal Church at 16 with a friend and her family, stopped attending at 18 and started attending 3 years ago with my husband and our son), I don't want my lack of knowledge to hold anyone back from learning, but our rector asked me to teach and I felt God tug on my heart(He does that often.. so if you think I am over-committed, take it up with the Big Guy.), so I signed up for 20+ weeks of teaching.

Yesterday we had Little Chapel, so I only had my kids for about 20 minutes at the end of the time, and being 9/11, another member of our church had brought a book in for me to read to the class.

Let me back up a little and say that I lived in New Jersey on September 11, 2001.  I was a senior in high school and I was sitting in my 3rd period class, ironically called 'Politics of Hatred'.  I remember the announcement over the PA system that a plane had hit one of the towers at the World Trade Center.  I remember hearing the second plane hit.  I remember a friend in my class RUNNING out of class, crying, and I followed her.  She said her father was suppose to be at a meeting in the WTC that morning and she needed to find out.  We went to the nurses office and she called home. Her father's meeting was canceled that morning, possibly sparing his life.  I remember the school went on lock-down and no one could come in and no one could get out.  Eventually they let us leave and head home to our families.  Being sandwiched between NYC, Philadelphia, and Washington DC, was a scary place to be.  By now 4 planes have crashed and no ones knows what will happen next.  Will they go to Philadelphia?? (Which was 10 minutes away from the town I lived in.) Will a plane just randomly crash somewhere else close by if passengers on the plane over take the hijackers again?    I am sure everyone in this country was scared, but I don't think people who lived outside of the Northeast were as scared as we were. I don't think the anniversary of 9/11 effects them like it does me and many others who were so close to everything.

So back to Sunday School.  That morning I didn't really have time to think about the 9/11 anniversary too much.  Sure, I'd been watching shows on the History Channel for a few days, but in the hustle of trying to get myself ready and my 5 year old ready for his first Sunday School class, I just didn't dwell on it.  Then I was handed the book I knew I needed to make time to read to these children.  Most of them who weren't even born on that horrifying day 10 years ago.  Then I wasn't sure how I was going to get through it.  For me, when I watch 9/11 coverage and documentaries, it literally makes my chest tight, it makes me relive the emotions I felt 10 years ago, and actually may be even more emotional for me now, as a wife and mother. But I think it is so very important for the generations to come to know what happened on that day, and remember not just the horrible loss of lives, but the courage of those firefighters who were running into a building that everyone else was running out of, and the things that 'every day people' did, how this country was so bonded together after such a tragedy,

So after Little Chapel and a craft,  I took my kids into our classroom and began to talk to them about 9/11.  The book I was given to read was called "The Chapel That Stood" By A.B. Curtiss.


It was a sweet story about St. Paul's Chapel that stood next to the Twin Towers and how it sustained no damage, as the sycamore tree in front of it saved it. It talked about the pairs of shoes firemen left on its fence as they quickly changed into their boots, many never returning for their shoes. The story taught the lesson that terrorism is temporary and courage and faith is forever.

It was NEVER so hard to get through a story tear free.  I didn't look away from the pages once, because I knew if I looked into the children's eyes, I would have lost it. 9/11/2001 is a day I will NEVER EVER forget. I will pray for the lives lost and for the comforting of those who have lost someone.  I will thank all firefighters and police officers and military persons forever, whether they had a link to 9/11 or not, because these are the men and women who help to keep us safe every day.

So tell you young kids about 9/11.. teach them the history so history doesn't repeat itself.

PRAY.

And most importantly.... NEVER FORGET.

Friday, September 9, 2011

My Top 10 Reason why Preschool is better then Kindergarten.

My little man has started Kindergarten. And do you know what I have learned in the 3 weeks since Kindergarten started.  That preschool was waaaaay better.  Do you think I could forge his birth certificate and send him back to preschool???      Yeah..... I figured that was probably a bad idea.

So without further ado, here are my top 10 reasons why I think Preschool was better then Kindergarten.

10.  Preschool was at our church.  Our nice, safe, loving church, full of familiar faces, good hugs, and warm smiles.  A place where I could come and go on the property as I please. Where I could stop in the book store, or help in the pumpkin patch and catch a glimpse of my boy.  In Kindergarten, I know no one.  No one is hugging. And they pretty much tell the parents they don't want you on the campus.

9.   The dreaded bus in Kindergarten.  Mason LOVES the bus, but he is a boy, of course he is going to love some big yellow vehicle with many wheels.  In the bus, there are no car seats(yes, my 5 year old still rides in a car seat, I hope yours is too), heck there are no seat belts.  There are too many big kids for my liking and its not like I know the bus driver. I know his last name and his boss' phone number and THAT.IS.IT.  How do I know he isn't some crazy crackhead who is going to take my baby on a joy ride to the ghetto areas of New Orleans??  How do I know some big boy isn't going to pick on my sweet baby??  How do I know they will make it safely the entire mile to school?.  I DON'T and when you are a neurotic mom, like me, you wait every single morning with your cell phone close at hand, just in case...

8.  In Preschool we made friends.  Now, I am sure Mason will make more friends as the year goes on, and that is all well and good for him, but what about me?  In Preschool, all the parents waiting in the school hallways together for our kids classroom door to open. We saw each other every day, sometimes twice or 3 times a day.  In Kindergarten, I send my kid on the bus, so I don't meet any parents and even if he didn't take the bus, you aren't allowed to get out of the car in the carpool lane, so no good that would do.  We want out Preschool friends back!

7.  Nap mats.. Seriously.  Here are some comparison photos.  I got these photos from Google.

In Preschool, nap mats were like this (Okay, a little less nice, with solid colors) with pillows and blankets attached to them.

This is the Kindergarten "nap mat" Looks like a mat for a gym if you ask me. No pillow, no blanket, nothing.

6.  Communication with the teacher.  In Preschool, like I said before, we stood in the school hallway every morning and afternoon for pick up and drop off.  There was always a chance to chat with the teachers,  In Kindergarten, you either have to write them a note and send it with your kid, or call the school, leave a message, and hope to hear back in the next day or two. 

5.  Kindergarten classes have tooooooo many kids. There are 30 kids in my son's class and ONE teacher.  That poor, poor woman. In Preschool there was 16 and 2 teachers.  And 15 other kids besides your own, is the perfect number of kids to invite to a birthday party.  I would loose my mother trucking mind with that many kids running around.  So then you can't send party invitations to school to hand out because you cant do that unless everyone is invited and its not like I know any of the parents of these kids, to mail them invitations or even hand them invitations. Great. It should be super easy to throw birthday parties for the next handful of years.

4.  Bullying. Big kids, more kids, name calling, laughing, mocking, you name it. The stories I have heard from my friends who live in other states are experience the same kind of bullying in their Kindergarteners classrooms too. SERIOUSLY they are FIVE AND SIX!!!  What the heck are these kids learning at home?!?!? 

3.  Homework. Bogus. Enough said.
 
2.  The hours.  Last year I was able to send Mason to school for 3 hours a day and then pick him up and get to spend the remainder of the afternoon together, or I could have him stay at preschool for 6 hours and pick him up then.  We did mostly 3 hour days and a few 6's thrown in there through out the year.  Kindergarten is 7 hours a day, every single day.  And they expect him to sit still and be quiet.  How on earth do you expect a 5 year old boy to be quiet and sit still for that much time of the day?? I mean because if I can get him to sit for 15 minutes to eat dinner, I am ready to celebrate my success.

1.  Since when did Kindergarten become 1st grade?  Because when I went to Kindergarten (which I still have very strong memories of.. Thomas Paine Elementary..Mrs. Yates, the big yellow tube, getting to pick up the milk from the lunch room when it was your "special day" etc... ) it was half day and it was mostly playtime.  We also had music and art.  Kindergarten now, they expect so much out of your kid.. way more then they did when I was in elementary school.  Why does the world keep pushing kids to grow up faster?!  Seriously, they do it fast enough all on their own... just sayin'.


xoxo
Jess

Hiatus.

That is what it feels like I have been on. A hiatus from blogging. Besides a few book reviews, I haven't posted anything substantial in months. I read so many blogs that are witty and inspiring that it can discourage me from blogging because I think I will never be as clever as they are. But I'm back and will do my best to be witty and inspiring as well. I may rant, I may curse, I may cry, but I'll be real.

Here is a quick catch up of what our lives are like today. Mason our 5 year old (5 1/2 if you ask him, that 1/2 is sure important) just started Kindergarten in August and its pretty much kicking both of our asses. Between the awful 6am wake up, to the discipline marks he comes home with in his folder for talking too much (seriously, if they knew me, they would understand more, I never shut up, just ask my poor husband), and the teasing over his absolutely adorable Thomas and Friends raincoat I made him wear during the friggin' tropical storm (I mean seriously, who knew 5 year old could be bullies?!) by Friday at 5pm we are so thankful to have two days of less rushing and less structure.


See, I told you it was adorable.

My sweet husband is working extra hard at a new job. 45-50 hours of hard labor in this New Orleans heat and humidity is no fun, but we love love love him for all he does for us. He is cheering on the Phillies from afar, building complicated train tracks with Mason and taking us on new adventure all the time.


Building at the Louisiana Children's Museum

And I am keeping busy too. Still working full time as a nanny, but probably for only another 3 weeks or so. I am currently the president of our churches Episcopal Church Women's group and I start teaching Sunday School on Sunday from grades 2nd-5th. I am chairing our churches Annual Church Picnic next spring, and helping with our ESL (English as a Second Language) program at church as well. I also hope to get to spend some time volunteering at my son's school, though I will be on the hunt for a new job soon, even though being a stay at home mom is so tempting, it doesn't pay our bills, so off to work I will be going.


Mama and Mason


We are adjusting more and more to living in Louisiana, not that I don't complain when the humidity is 100% and the heat index has been over 110 for 2 week, or when we are standing in line at Walmart that are longer then they are at Christmas (seriously, WHY are there 787361 check out lanes in Walmart and it never fails that only 5 are open and someone is writing out a check in 1/2 of them) waiting to check out with every other person in our town who is stocking up their Hurricane Kit for an approaching Tropical System, but our friends and our church make missing home much more bearable.

Motherhood is still constantly keeping me on my toes and throwing me curve balls and I am always trying to be the best mom, wife and Christian I can be, though I will always be a work in progress. So I hope you will continue to come back and check out my blog, as I intend to be better about posting.



xoxo
- Jess

Friday, August 12, 2011

No More Dreaded Mondays




Who really LOVES there job? Not me! and I bet not most. This book was an eye opener for me! Reading about people who became very successful in life, who were originally told they wouldn't amount to anything, is refreshing to hear! The book talks about taking control of your employment, control of your destiny! No one needs to be miserable. Definitely a motivational read and not just for someone looking for employment, I think its perfect for everyone who is employed! And the fact it is backed up with Scripture is icing on the cake!!

* I received this book for free by providing this review from Waterbrook Multhnomah Publishing group*

God's Love Letters to You.

I have never been one to read devotionals, but this short but sweet book was just perfect for a novice. With a short reading and then references on where to read more about the days devotional was wonderful! As a working mom, it was perfect for me to read each night. I read many to my husband allowed and it gave us plenty of new things to discuss. Open your heart to the Lord and open your eyes on this book!


* I received this book free for my reviews by Booksneeze.com*

Saturday, April 30, 2011

'Plain Wisdom' .... My thoughts exactly.

Image from Google.

I absolutely LOVE books pertaining to the Amish. Author Cindy Woodsmall is one of my favorite Amish Fiction authors and when I learned that she wrote a book along with her Old Order Amish friend, Miriam Flaud, I couldn't wait to get my hands on it.

'Plain Wisdom' By Cindy Woodsmall and Miriam Flaud is filled with short stories, advice, scripture, and some recipes that just sound delightful. It feels like you have been invited into an Amish home with two very different, but very similar women who share their life lessons with you.

I was inspired by some lessons, such as always remembering that a conversation with a love one could potentially be your last. To remember to never judge a book by its cover or a women by her kitchen. That a good friend removes loneliness and God is always your Good friend.

This book was heartfelt and inspiring. Full of Plain traditions and love for God,

I recieved this book free from Waterbrook Multhnomah Publishing group for this review.

Friday, April 1, 2011

5QF


Go link up 5 Question Friday!
1. Have you ever had surgery?

When I was 10, I had my tonsils and adenoids out. I have vivid memories of that visit. The raccoon on the nightgown I wore, the dream I had about flying through the clouds in a car with the nurse who had stayed with me, weird.


2. Ever ride in an ambulance?

Twice, but never on the stretcher.

The first time, I had been a passenger in a car with a friend when I was 16 and we got in a car accident. She said her neck hurt so they took her by ambulance and I rode in the front passenger seat.

The second time was when my son had his first febrile seizure.

3. How are you in a medical emergency? Panicked? Calm?

I panic. But now that I am a mom and a nanny who is often in charge of many little ones, I am working on it. I have handled 2 seizures pretty calmly.

4. Do you have a garden? Flowers or veggies?

We have a tiny little area in front of our front window that we plant some plants and flowers in every year. My thumb is not very green.


5. When did you move out of your parents house?

When I was 19.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sandy Spring Sundays

One positive of southern life is being able to enjoy the beach in MARCH! Just an hour ride into Mississippi and we have gulf beaches to enjoy.








Sandy Spring Sundays Spent Smiling!

(How's that for some alliteration!)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A recipe!

For a few months, I had a cooking blog with two of my friends called '3 Moms and a Kitchen'. We arent blogging there anymore, but obviously I am still cooking!

Every so often, I will post a recipe. Here is one I had posted in '3 moms'.

Banana French Toast

I don't think I can really call this a recipe... It is pretty much just adding bananas to the french toast recipe I use. French Toast is a super easy, super affordable, and definitely not only for breakfast! And you probably have all the ingredients on hand all the time, so its a good quick go to item.

Ingredients (serves 2-3, but easily doubled or tripled!)
(all measurements are approximate.. You can't mess this up y'all!)

4-6 pieces of bread
1-2 tbsp butter
2 eggs
1 1/2-2 cups of milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp sugar
2 bananas cut into slices



Directions

-Heat a large skillet over medium heat.

-Whisk together your eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon.

-Dip each side of the bread into the mixture and place into hot skillet. I can get 2-3 pieces in at a time.

-Add the banana slices to the side that has not hit the hot pan yet.

- After you lightly brown the first side, flip carefully. The bananas will use the egg mixture like a glue and will stay on the bread well.


-When both sides are golden, remove from pan and finish the other slices.

-Add some warmed up maple syrup and a side of bacon or sausage or corned beef hash!

Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Untitled.

I had an abortion.

There, I said it. I have been staring at this blank blog post for days now trying to figure out how to even begin a blog like this. Nothing sounded right.. I though about calling it a confession, or a secret, but none of those seemed right.

If you are horrified enough by the first 4 words of this post, then I suggest you stop reading now. I am not writing his because I want anyone's pity or anyone's opinion on it. If you liked me before you read this and you stop after, then you really aren't the kind of person I want in my life, or even reading my blog, anyways.

But, let me back up a bit... Almost 12 years....

I was 15 and in love, well you know that "in love" you think you are in when you are 15. Like the Taylor Swift song.. " When your fifteen and somebody tells you they love you, you're gonna believe them". I really did believe and I think in my own 15 year old way I loved him too.

I made the decision to have sex with him and we didn't use any protection.
I don't know why..
I wish I did..
I was stupid, that's why.

I think I was in denial about being pregnant for a long time too. The boy who loved me had already decided he didn't love me anymore and he didn't even know I was pregnant yet.


But I remember it like it was yesterday.....

I remember not getting my period the first month and thinking nothing of it.

I remember going with my mom to try on bathing suits for a school trip and none of the tops in my usual size fitting me because my chest had grown so much.

I remember finally realizing and crying on the phone to a friend that I though I was pregnant but I would never have bought a pregnancy test myself.

I remember him telling me I HAD to tell my parents.

I remember my mom who must have over heard my phone conversation coming into my bedroom and tell me to get off the phone so we talk.

I remember telling her I though I might be pregnant.

I remember her walking out of my room and hearing her car pull out of our garage.

I remember her coming back with the CVS bag with the EPT test in it.

I remember peeing on the stick and how fast those two telltale lines popped up.

I remember falling into a pile on the bathroom floor.

I remember my mom telling me we would handle it.

I remember calling my ex and telling him I was pregnant.

I remember him calling me a whore, telling me it wasn't his child, and hanging up on me.

I remember crying.

I remember calling back 7 billion times that day and never getting an answer.

I remember my mom getting the phone book.

I remember there was no yelling.

I remember her making an appointment for me to "handle it".

I remember crying all night long.

I remember calling my ex the next day and hearing "The number you have called has been disconnected".

I remember feeling alone.

I remember my mom waking me up at 5:30am to go to the Women's Center.

I remember them laying me on a table for an ultrasound.

I remember NEVER looking at the screen.

I remember refusing to be awake for the "procedure".

I remember sitting in an awful paper gown in a waiting room with other women in awful paper gowns.

I remember crying.

I remember them calling my name to come back....

I remember laying on another table.

I remember them starting the IV.

I remember crying.

I remember my mom's comforting face when I woke up.

I remember leaving the clinic and driving through the crowd of protesters that always stood on the sidewalks in front of the women's center.

I remember they called me a murderer.

I remember crying.

I remember my friends and my parents NEVER judging me.

I remember being really, really sad for a long time but NEVER talking about it, because its such a taboo subject in the world.

I remember every single day, even almost 12 years later.

I do not for one second feel ashamed for what happened to me. It was a decision I was incapable at making at 15 and so full of teenage emotion, so my parents did what they though was best for me. And it was what was best for ME at that specific moment in my life.

I think the people who need support the most are sometimes shunned and unforgiven for things they have done. But I know that only God can judge me, and me and the Big Guy are pretty tight.

And if even ONE person feels like they are not alone out there because they too have had an abortion, then this blog post.. the hardest post I have ever written, was worth all the tears that fell on the keyboard as I was typing it.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Five Question Friday


Head on over to Mama M's and join the blog hop!

1. What is your favorite part of a Thanksgiving meal?

Mmm its a toss up between the turkey and the mashed potatoes.

And I honestly love the Ocean Spray cranberry in a can that comes out still shaped like the can.


2. Are you a host or a guest for Thanksgiving this year?

Both! We had some extended family in town last weekend, so I cooked for the 6 of us. Yesterday we went to my in laws to eat and spend time with family.

3. When you think of one Thanksgiving tradition, what comes to mind?

Talking about what you are Thankful for. And the mom of the house spending 5+ hours in the kitchen making the entire place smell amazing!

4. You have two pieces of pie in front of you and you HAVE to eat one...do you choose
pumpkin or pecan?

Pecan please! This jersey girl use to pronounce it "pea-can" and all the southerners laughed at me. I know now the correct pronunciation is "pa-con".

No offense pumpkin pie.. I just prefer you in cheesecake form, specifically from Olive Garden.

5. Are you a Black Friday Shopper?

As in wake up at the butt crack of dawn on a day I don't have to get up? No. I am not. I have gone mid day on a rare occasion, but the crowds, the messy stores, and every awful driver giving me panic attacks is NOT my idea of fun.

Maybe my attitude will change when our little man is old enough to want some high priced, sought after electronic, but right now, there is NOTHING I want or need bad enough to deal with the madness.

You can catch me on Cyber Monday looking for some steals online... and seriously folks.. you know that come the last week or two before Christmas, everything goes on sale in the stores...