The Greenway

evie benchIt’s been four years since we lost Tim’s mom, who we now refer to as Grandma Debbie, though she never got to hear herself called that. She died when I was just a few months pregnant with Evie. Debbie knew, and was so thrilled at the prospect of being a grandma. Now she has three beautiful granddaughters.

girls 2While visiting Jeff City last month, we decided to meet for a few minutes at the bench and tree dedicated to Debbie in one of her favorite places. Without realizing it, we planned our visit for May 28 – exactly four years to the day since she died. It ended up being a lovely time – Evie chased Gramps and Uncle Kevin and looked at bugs, Grandma Jeanne got to hold the babies, and we took some family pictures.

family bench 2roly poly 2jenn and faithevie clovertree 3 cropcollage 1We love and miss you so much, Debbie. I’m convinced it’s you making Alice smile sometimes when she’s staring at nothing in particular.

debbie's bench 8

{52 Self-Portraits} Week 21

Finally ready to get back to posting after a really rough month. I’ll be catching up slowly, but for the most part I have still been taking my weekly photos.

This is from Memorial Day weekend, when Tim and I took a last minute road trip to northern California to see the redwoods. They were magical.

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21/52

Jenn Goes Skiing, Falls, Drinks Beer

We spent the past weekend in the mountains with some family that we rarely get to see. It was mostly wonderful and amazing with a little bit of ski-induced panic attack terror thrown in. But mostly wonderful.

Me pretending to be a ninja in Tim's ski mask because why not?

Let’s talk about the skiing first, shall we? Get it out of the way.

A happier time, before skiing.

AWFUL. Terrifying. Let me briefly introduce you to my neuroses: I’m very anxious, particularly in crowds, particularly when I am learning something new (and therefore out of my element), when people are waiting behind me in a high pressure situation (like a ski lift, for example), being out of control, going fast, running into people, people running into me, gross old men barking orders at me, and falling on my ass. All of those things happened. As far as the Jenn anxiety pyramid goes, we were just missing some spiders and bees and public speaking. Even without those things, there was some hyperventilating and some tears and quite a few beers later.

Things I Hated About My Ski Instructor (or Ways to Make Me Dislike You Immediately):

1. A constant stream of spittle foaming at his mouth. Gross.
2. Quickly showing us the gist of using a ski lift and then jumping on, leaving me to figure it out by myself with a 7-year-old and a crowd of people waiting in line behind me.
3. Constantly yelling at me to “RELAX!!” (Yep, that’ll do it).
4. Calling me a liar when I said it hurt when I fell. (I know it’s snow. But I hate snow. And maybe I have avian bone syndrome – you don’t know me.)
5. More spittle. Just making a bad situation worse.
6. Screaming at Ellyn to “LET HIM DO THE TEACHING” when she tried to show me a different way to stop, because “making the pizza” was clearly not working for me. She could see that I was freaking out, and was just trying to help me, bless her heart. He either didn’t see my meltdown, or chose to ignore it.
7. Not giving me a shred of positive reinforcement until I said I quit. Then, apparently, I was doing a great job and he was “disappointed.”

The Slopes of Doom (aka the bunny hill)

This lasted about 90 minutes before I called it a day. As a point of pride, I will say that after the first time down the hill and back up the ski lift, I was so, so done. But – I did it one more time for the kids. For the kids! It’s hard to be a wuss when two tiny people are already halfway down the mountain yelling “Come on, Jenn!!” I like to think I was a model of perseverance and facing your fears, even though I only did it one more time. It was still one more time than I felt comfortable with. So after my second time off the lift (which I aced, by the way – glided right off and kept my balance), I responded to Ellyn’s “Need a beer?” with a resounding HELL YES. Then I skied myself right back into the lodge and planted myself in front of the fire. The rest of my time was spent drinking Mt. Hood brews in the cozy lodge and playing board games with the kiddos and getting my fill of much-needed girl talk and eating myself silly.

The Overlook...I mean, Timberline Lodge

That's a giant snow drift outside the window, btw.

My little half brother and sister in law (E is 10 and O is 7) are just the best. Super smart, fearless, and adorable (you’ll just have to take my word – I’m not posting photos of them because they’re not mine).

How cute is this??

They had a blast learning to ski, playing Clue and Pictionary with the adults, showing us their video games, and eating junk food. Little O got so overzealous about her cheesy nachos one night that she made herself sick – she just might be my spirit animal. That’s what vacations are for, amiright?

The view out our window

It was a great time, and I hope it’s not another year and a half before we get to hang out with them again. Although next time, I’ll stick to sledding.

Celebrating A Year

One year of marriage down. In the past year we have been to Canada, Japan, England, Mexico, Missouri, Washington, Louisiana, and across the US to Oregon – twice. We’ve changed careers and moved across the country. We’ve picked out curtains. We’ve grown up.

We spent our first anniversary in Newport, looking at the ocean and eating great seafood. Smelling the stargazer lilies Tim got me took me right back to our wedding day. We drank the same wine we drank on our honeymoon.



Happy Anniversary, husband!

Back From Vacation


Usually, coming back from vacation means settling back into one’s routine and getting back to real life. How strange it is to come back from vacation right before a cross-country move and the start of a new chapter. Instead of settling into a routine, I have to get packing, job hunting, and moving. Instead of real life, it’s the crazy emotional chaos that goes along with a huge life transition.

Not that I’m complaining. It just hasn’t sunk in yet, I think.

Some highlights from our amazing vacation (posts coming soon!):

~Pina coladas in our quiet corner of the ship, looking out at the Gulf of Mexico

~Making friends with a monkey in Cozumel

~Ridiculous inside jokes that make no sense, even to us

~Dos Equis and guacamole at the beach in Mexico

~Marveling at the Louisiana live oaks

~Po’boys…oh, so many po’boys

~Beignets at Cafe du Monde

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*Photo: One of the 300-year-old live oaks at Oak Alley Plantation