Jen writes

April 25, 2012

Pictures (within a day)

It is morning. My son just came downstairs and is sitting one room away, on the couch with his dad. I’m in bed. Computer on lap. The birds that woke me an hour ago aren’t singing anymore. I can hear the sports news from the TV in the other room. The recap of last night’s Celtics game, which I managed to stay up too late to watch. (They won.) (I’m tired.)

Can you picture this life? My life? This small scene, where I haven’t even introduced all of the characters yet? (Two daughters, upstairs asleep. A sister an hour away in Connecticut. A brother a day-and-a-half drive away in Colorado. A mother, this morning waking up in a hotel room in the Adirondacks, a getaway to celebrate her birthday.) Where I haven’t even told you about the oversized sweatshirt I threw on over my PJ T-shirt because it’s COLD this morning? Or the white, wrinkled duvet cover that I have pulled up almost to my chin. (Very cold!)

Oh, now I hear the “beep beep” of Road Runner. (Or maybe it’s “mee-meep?”) Which brings me back to Colorado and the road trip to get there and my brother, who used to watch these cartoons 30 years ago. He, too, was the first child to get up in the house. Is there something about boys? (Sarah, help me out here.) And how is it that the sound of a cartoon coming from a TV a few feet away can bring my mind three decades back, where I see my brother sitting on the floor of our living room in Oneonta, hunched over a cereal bowl, slurping Cheerios and giggling like Woody Woodpecker himself?

This isn’t what I pictured writing today. But now it’s down to the wire. Those daughters will be awake soon. Sweetie will bring me my coffee. (Picture this: He will walk slowly into the room, my favorite coffee mug in hand. I will watch him navigate the inevitable laundry basket at the foot of the bed, the piles of books on the floor beside me. I will see the steam from the mug. He will walk around to my side of the bed and say, “Careful. It’s full.” He will grin. Yes, grin. Our eyes will meet. I will thank him. The coffee will be hot. And perfect. I will set it beside me on the coaster on the bookshelf that serves as a bedside table of sorts, too. I will read or write or just sit in bed, smelling that coffee until I get up in just a few minutes.)

The day will start in full. It is my day to make lunches, take the kids to school. I have potato leek soup to put in the Crock-Pot, bread to set out to rise. I have work to check in with and, no doubt, laundry that I should do. I have a 3-year-old to spend time with. Puzzles, maybe. Or Play-Doh. Later I will pick up the kids, let them stay at the school playground a bit to run off some energy. I will take my son to his drum lesson, and while he’s with his teacher I will take a walk around what turns out the neighborhood we lived in for a short time when he was a baby. We will run a quick errand after his lesson–a birthday present to purchase for a friend, an ingredient needed for dinner. It doesn’t matter. My son just likes to extend our time together. He never wants to go straight home after his drum lesson, and so I know to plan on a quick errand. We will end up at home, though, where we will eat dinner. The bread out of the oven, the soup turned down to low.

As I sit in bed before the day has begun in full, loud force, I can imagine the big picture in my mind but I cannot know the details until they occur. Maybe we will be out of cream, and the coffee will be milky today. Maybe there will be an argument over who knocked over the Lego supermarket, built two days ago by my daughters. Maybe there will be a note sent home from school about a field trip, or a notice from the library that a requested book is in. (Flat Stanley. We have been waiting for you for a LONG time!)

Surely there will be laughter (along with the Lego quarrel). And lots of noise. And smiles. And children competing with each other for my attention and standing in my way in the kitchen while I’m trying to fix a meal or get a snack or do the dishes.

Today is a day. Still new right now. I didn’t intend to paint you a word picture of it as I imagine it to be. And it certainly might turn out to be a different kind of day, just as this is a much different Five for Five “pictures” post than I imagined myself writing. There might be surprises. (There are always surprises.) But these are the words, and this is what came in the few minutes I left for myself to write. This will have to do. Now it’s time to get on with Wednesday.

(Oh, sitting here, having written that paragraph about coffee? I just reached for it beside me! It’s earlier than usual, though. The coffee has yet to be made. Ah, the power of imagination.)

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Read More in Jen Writes, three kids
Arnebya writes

I love how you walked me through a mental picture of your life/day. I adore how a sound or a smell can transport me to my childhood or a special memory (or, yes, even a not so special memory. It’s still a remarkable occurrence). I love that your day is so structured, even when expecting surprises. I wish. I wish I could say that my days are easily pictured, describable. The truth is, my days change, well, daily. Right now I’m struggling. I’m struggling with disliking my job, wanting to be at home, missing this precious time with my 2-year-old, finding out about my girls’ days at the end of the day, after everything has already been told to my husband. It makes me feel like oh, now we have to tell the same story to mom. I am resentful because my husband is able to be home, able to drop off and pick up and go to them in a moment’s notice. I am bitter. I hope it isn’t as obvious as it feels. It feels obvious.

My son is the first up whether it’s a weekday or the weekend. My girls were always late risers and then oftentimes would go back to sleep if we put them in bed with us. The boy? No way. Once he’s up, he’s ready to go downstairs, have breakfast, find the toys, mimic my feet in the kitchen so that I have to remember not to step back or sideways too quickly because to do so will be to step on him.

And yes, the late games do me in too.

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Jen replies

Oh my goodness. We have so much in common. I don’t write much about the work/home balance, but so much of what you describe above is familiar to me. I have to hear about ballet lessons because I don’t get to bring my daughter. I’m working. Etc. It’s difficult. I hear you. We all have to do the best we can and not be too hard on ourselves. We’re better moms for it.

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Tiffany writes

I may have to borrow this idea…I loved getting a picture of your typical day. It’s a lot like mine. My husband brings me coffee every morning too. Now that’s love.

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Jen replies

We are so lucky. That coffee is such a gift.

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Kelly @MillerMix writes

That you’re writing from under that cozy white duvet, in a sweat shirt, with the anticipation of coffee, makes me yearn for the time and dedication to wake up with words. (And also? My guy never brings me coffee. What a nice daily routine!)

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Jen replies

I am successful at morning writing very infrequently. Although, more frequently lately, if that makes sense. It truly lets me feel like I’m entering the day instead of abruptly being faced with it. And the coffee and grim definitely help!

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Maria writes

What a picture you paint with your words! I am there with you, smelling the coffee, going back in time and remembering Woody Woodpecker. Mornings like the one you describe are to be treasured, savoring every moment, much like the coffee I hope you finally got to enjoy!

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Jen replies

Thanks, Maria. Yes, the coffee was particularly delicious today. I should really try to write in the mornings more often. It makes the day feel much more doable. And like I’ve accomplished something useful. (The potatoes for that soup I was going to make? Rotting. No dinner accomplishment.)

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Adrienne writes

Beautiful word pictures painted! My favorite weekend moment is when my husband hands me my Saturday morning cup of coffee…we love sharing that lazy moment together on Saturdays! AND I so want to make a lego supermarket!!! ALL the legos I built with my son over so many years, and I never thought of a supermarket!

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Jen replies

Lego supermarkets, DUPLO supermarkets. So much fun. I highly recommend it. Especially if you also build a Duplo construction zone nearby. https://twitter.com/#!/MomalomJen/status/195155754343333889/photo/1

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Pepca writes

I guess we never know what kind of a picture a day is until we see it. Loved the way you painted yours!

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Jen replies

Thanks! There have already been surprises. Like rotting potatoes. Oops.

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Sara writes

When the words are as lovely and descriptive as yours you don’t need a camera! Enjoy your day :)

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Jen replies

Thanks, Sara! I’ve often thought, though, that it would be fun to try to create a photographic breakdown of a “typical” day. No follow through. Yet.

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Kate writes

Sounds like a good start to the day. I can almost smell bread. Now, I want to make some too. But my day is full of needful cleaning. Someone is turning three soon and the house has to be made party ready. Yikes.

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Jen replies

Ew. Party ready. I feel for you. I am close to swearing off every inviting anyone over to my house again. Too much pressure. But happy birthday to your soon-t0-be 3-year-old!

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Aidan Donnelley Rowley @ Ivy League Insecurities writes

I love this. You know what? The words that we do not plan are often the most beautiful. And my favorite image is that of your husband’s coffee delivery grin. Drink it up, friend. And thank you for this week, for getting all of us going and thinking and writing. I know I speak for all of us when I say we appreciate your efforts. xo

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Jen replies

Thank you thank you. You and all of the other reader/writers make this week what it is. These community writing events. They are important. Sustainable, you know? And the coffee delivered the morning helps. Always. :)

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ck writes

The sound of “mee-meep” always makes me smile. My brothers and I laughed at it as kids, and my daughters have now taken our place, plastered to the predictable escape of the road runner.

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Jen replies

Timeless. And what’s with the anvil? I tried to fit that imagery into this post, but it didn’t fit in right. I do want to know how the coyote always bounced back from the anvil. There’s a real-life metaphor there, somewhere!

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Justine writes

I love “seeing” a day in your life. In fact, there’s something voyeuristic about blogging where I take pleasure in being in someone else’s living room for once. Maybe just to relate. Maybe just to find the bits and pieces that remind me that we’re not alone, and that we’re not so different you and me.

Loved this. Loved the narrative. I pictured everything so clearly. In a time where we’re spoonfed details with pictures and videos, I’m grateful for words that encourage me to use my imagination instead.

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Jen replies

Thanks, Justine. I feel like this is a different kind of post for me. I’m not sure how I feel about it, honestly. But I appreciate your reading and lovely comment and support. :)

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Laurie writes

It’s beautiful to see the picture of your day in words. I am a words person, I’d always choose a book over a movie, so I like the feel of this, it lets me put my own spin on it, it’s less stark than a photo might be. Enjoy your day (and two of my boys like to get up EARLY, one loves to sleep in!)

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Jen replies

I almost added a photo to this post. Pictures is the theme after all. But I was running short on time, and it felt too forced, and I am MUCH more of words person. So, there you go. Thanks for reading and joining in!

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Cathy writes

Jen your writing is superb. I picture your life, your day in your life. I picture how similar it is to my own (okay I don’t have anyone bringing me coffee in bed but still…) It reminds me of how much we need to savor these pictures, remember them for the life they represent, remember that even though there is laundry to do, there is family first.

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Jen writes

Thanks, Cathy. I’m pretty good at appreciating the little things. They all add up to equal bit. But I still am too focused on the messes and the messiness. And I’m not even talking about laundry. :)

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alita writes

This-
“Surely there will be laughter (along with the Lego quarrel). And lots of noise. And smiles. And children competing with each other for my attention and standing in my way in the kitchen while I’m trying to fix a meal or get a snack or do the dishes.”

This was perfection. I hate using too many “and” words, but with picture taking there is always “and_ and_ and_ and_ and_” You get so caught up with the details within picture taking that AND is the perfect continuation. Moments adding up and adding up and adding up until your life is full. So full that it is boiling over with beautiful pictures and memories. So full that your memory card needs to be unloaded… on paper, on the printer… wherever your medium calls. AND your medium is most definitely a gift in painting pictures with words.

Alita

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Jen replies

Thank you, Alita. I purposely chose the topics WORDS and PICTURES and assigned them consecutive days. What is amazing to me is how interchangeable such seemingly opposite topics are. Thanks for your lovely comment and your own amazing contributions to our blog fest.

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amanda {the habit of being} writes

my husband is not a coffee drinker and has never made me a cuppa and brought it to me. my 10yo over-achiever, type a girl, she makes a mean cuppa.

sounds like a full day in the life of a busy mama…i hope it’s a beautiful one!

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Jen replies

I am trying so very hard NOT to count down the days until my almost 7-year-old kitchen-savvy daughter can make a MEAL. Until then, I’ll make the soup. :)

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BigLittleWolf replies

Just want to say – potato leek is one of my all time faves. (Some in my fridge right now, homemade and perfect for chilly nights. As for your 7-year old cooking, I hear you! Soon – hopefully!)

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Kristen @ Motherese writes

I kind of love that you didn’t post a photo today. I’m a word girl and I appreciated drinking in your word picture.

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Jen replies

Thanks, friend. I considered it, but it’s just not me, really. :) Words are my medium.

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Lindsey writes

Yes, I can picture this life. It’s awfully familiar yet, of course, all its own. I’m with Kristen on the power of using words to really bring a picture to life. xox

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Jen replies

Thanks, Lindsey. Words are my medium. And I’m finally OK with that. (Phew!)

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Heather Caliri writes

I love that moment of quiet (I so rarely get them with little-littles) where you can think, dream, and adjust to the new day.
(Mentally) sipping my beverage with you…

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Jen replies

I’m SO glad to have really connected with you during Five for Five, Heather. I feel like I’ve been on the periphery of your blog and Twitter-ing, etc. What a joy it’s been to allow myself the time to read your words and “meet” you fully. :)

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Stacia writes

I can imagine the chill in the air, the steam from the coffee, the sounds of a family waking for the day. So universal, yet so personal.

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Jen replies

Isn’t that often the way? We all are human, our experiences much the same out of necessity. And yet, so different from family to family, house to house. :)

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Robin writes

I love this picture you painted. I miss those days. I am happy they are behind me.

I love the imaginary coffee – haha! My husband also makes the coffee:)

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Jen replies

“I miss those days. I am happy they are behind me.” TRUTH! The coffee was real this morning, thank goodness! It’s been a busy week. I think I need another cup already!

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Cindy writes

A lovely start to your day. I could see it all so clearly – smell the coffee, even. And I loved Road Runner when I was a kid – still do, if I can find it on. Poor old Wile e. Thanks for sharing!

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Jen replies

Sometimes I feel like Wile E, ya know? Always getting squashed, but then having to get back up and go on with my day like everything’s all fine. Not this week, though. All of this writing and reading and commenting has buoyed me, put me in a very good mood indeed. (Extra coffee has been instrumental, too.)

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Melissa writes

I reach for my tea before it’s brewed, basically every single day, and sometimes multiple times a day. Speaking of which: oh look, my afternoon tea is still not here next to my computer. Sigh. ;)

I can picture it all.

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Jen replies

I have started to drink more tea in the afternoon. At work. It’s a good way for me to get out of my chair and away from the work for a minute. But often it sits, cooling too fast, and I don’t finish it. And yet, it serves its purpose well.

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Amanda writes

Love.

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Jen replies

Thank you. :)

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BigLittleWolf writes

I love the way you’ve painted your early morning beginning… and here it is, after 7pm and 12 hours up and at it – and only now do I have a moment to read this at my (momentary) leisure, to enjoy the words, to relive my own version of your word painting.

I love this:

As I sit in bed before the day has begun in full, loud force, I can imagine the big picture in my mind but I cannot know the details until they occur.

How many millions of mothers could say these words? It’s what keeps us off balance, always learning, and possibly, always tired. It’s also what makes it so hard to imagine the future, because each day is jam-packed with 8,000 possible bites of now!

My own motherly world began like yours for so many years – but without the Sweetie to bring me coffee. I admit – I was grateful for whatever minutes I could spend at the helm from bed, computer on my lap, anticipating the day. So much so, that even now, I still begin the day in that fashion.

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Jen replies

You know that weird reality that happens when someone quotes something you’ve written and you don’t remember writing it? You’ve done that. Wow. Thank you. Sweetie is gone overnight tonight, which means I have to make my own coffee tomorrow. Yikes.

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Kristin writes

I love this. I was there with you, walking through your anticipated day. Lego fights are guaranteed in our house, as are fights over who got the most milk in their cup. It’s a daily event here.
I’d love to sit and write before my day begins, but I can’t bring myself to get up before my oldest does at 6am. My moments will have to come when they’re presented to me, bits at a time.

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Jen replies

Who has the MOST milk? Oh, man. Only one milk drinker of our three. This morning I awoke to write, dozed for 15 extra minutes and then the kids woke up an hour early. And so, I roll with it. We do what we can, take the time when it is presented. Do our best to pour equal amounts of milk. And we’re all in this together.

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Rudri Bhatt Patel @ Being Rudri writes

I like walking with you through your words and your routine. I think routine and ritual have great power. And I love how sometimes it leads into a completely different direction than we anticipated. Loved the personal but global perspective you presented in your world.

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Jen replies

Thanks, Rudri. I didn’t really think about the personal/global picture, but I’m glad you saw it.

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Liz writes

Sarah, Jen…
I have to tell you I am struggling so much to keep up, to post on the topic and to read other new blogs and comment, that I have not even had a chance to comment on yours this week! Though I have read every day. I love being back here. Hope you all know that. It feels like “the olden days” when I first started this little thing called blogging…and you all did too, I remember. Thanks for doing this again. I still wear your Momalom tshirt every week to the gym…LOL

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Jen replies

Liz! I’m so glad to see you here. I read your Paris posts recently and didn’t manage to comment. Keep meaning to go back and do so. Keep getting busy with other things! Isn’t it funny how we found each other when we both embarked on this blogging journey at the same time. I love serendipity. It does feel like the “olden days!”

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Momalomsmom writes

Such a lovely essay Jen. It may not have been what you intended, but sometimes just letting the words flow turns out to be the best thing of all. The picture you paint shines with the love you have for your family, and illustrates for all of us the life you are building together.

And by the way, thanks to all of you who sent along birthday wishes. It was a great day and y made it even better.

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Jen replies

XO

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Elaine A. writes

I can see it all. And I can taste that coffee. All I can think about it how sweet it is of your man to bring it to you like that. I just adore that aspect of this “picture” of your day.

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Jen replies

It is a special way to start the day. There’s something about beginning each day grateful for a gift that sets me off on the right foot (most of the time)!

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Naptimewriting writes

That morning sounds just heavenly. I know the day is chaotic. But I like the idea of a slow, quiet, caffeinated start.

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Jen replies

It is a nice way to start. Usually. And then the little people decide today to come downstairs an hour early.

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Dawn @What's Around the Next Bend? writes

Wow. Your coffee experience sounds divine.

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Jen replies

We should all be so lucky, right? Sorry. Sweetie is not available for coffee outsourcing. :)

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Launa writes

I love getting this snapshot of your life. I had thought that “pictures” would be just that, but as a writer, I really love the written ones best.

I also love Momalom, and the committment you throw out into the blogiverse when you do these challenges. You help us write — what a gift.

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Jen replies

Thanks, Launa. It is SO GOOD to give in to the writing (and reading and commenting) this week. I needed this immersion into what makes me feel most complete. Thanks for joining in!

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Alisa writes

I just really, really love this. This is exactly a snapshot of a day in your life. You can look back and read this, and just like a picture, be right back there. I love that you reached for your coffee!!!!

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Jen replies

I was so disappointed it wasn’t there! I think I got up too early to write. Our coffee choreography was off beat. :)

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Mel Gallant writes

Funny – my yesterday was full of surprises too. Unexpected turn of events made it a day different from what was planned. Just need to roll with the punches sometimes. :)

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Jen replies

Yup. That’s such a HARD LESSON to learn for me. But I’m slowly slowly getting better at it. (I suspect because I’m so so tired…)

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Varda (SquashedMom) writes

I love how you created a picture with words. I know the old saying goes “one picture is worth a thousand words,” but sometimes you can create an amazing picture with way less than that number of words – if they’re the perfectly evocative and carefully chosen just right ones. And tihs is just that. And beautiful.

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Jen replies

Funny, this post was longer than I intended, too! Thanks, Varda!

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Boingerhead writes

What a lovely, full, exhausting day :)

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Jen replies

Exhausting! Yes! (As usual!)

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Melissa writes

I didn’t get my post up on Wednesday…. but here it is: http://www.peanutbutterinmyhair.com/2012/04/pictures-5-for-5.html

Will be back later tonight to catch up on reading.

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Jen replies

Thanks!! Busy week, no?

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Belinda writes

I love this, Jen. These snapshots that you so vividly paint with words from a spigot that you spontaneously let flow, connect us on many levels and remind us of just how much we women, moms, share in common.

Thanks to you and Sarah and this community for the opportunity to share bits and pieces of our full, sometimes overflowing/overwhelming, always evolving lives.

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