My children love their father fiercely. I think they know they almost lost him a few years ago, when they woke up and I had to tell them that an ambulance took him away while they were sleeping. What do you tell your children when you don’t know if their father is still living? When they are so young and thought they’d be going to the annual oceanside July 4 family picnic so they came downstairs already dressed and eager to jump in the car? What do you tell your children when their father’s last words to you were, “I’m […]

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Jen writes

September 17, 2014

Are you concerned with the difference?

Do you know who you are? Do you know who people think you are? Are you concerned with the difference? ######## Yes, this is an intentional post. I am experimenting on this long-neglected blog. I am more connected to an online community via Facebook——and I am busier with a full-time job and a more-than-full-time life——in ways that I wasn’t when Sarah and I started Momalom. But I want to figure out a way to write——to get back to writing more——and to be accountable and to open myself up for feedback and discussion. It’s a bit of an experiment, this. But […]

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Jen writes

January 28, 2014

Window fortune

The window today yields a slightly different view from the last time words came from the scenery outside. There is snow on the ground, but not enough to cover the rough grass. The roads are clear, and cars drive by swiftly, so few slowing at all as they approach the crosswalk. It’s a Tuesday, a Just Write day, but today I’m pointing you to a piece that I wrote a few weeks ago. It seems longer somehow. January almost gone, the New Year effect worn off almost completely. But as I reread the words I wrote for Project: Underblog in […]

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Read More in Jen Writes

New job. Old commute. As I drive the familiar roads to get to my still-new job I cannot even estimate how many times in the past 24 years I have driven this same route. It’s like my tire tracks are somehow reflecting back at me. Three previous vehicles. Timeless travels to and from school, work, crew practice. This place where I have been student, alumna, friend, volunteer, coach. There is a field that I pass each time. It has been there, it remains there, no houses built on it. Too close to the riverbank, I suppose. I see a pumpkin […]

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Jen writes

October 18, 2013

Just Write. On Friday.

This morning on my way to work I heard the Traveling Wilburys. “Hi, Dad,” I almost said. “Thanks for joining me on my new commute.” My dad died more than 14 years ago. He loved the Traveling Wilburys. He loved Roy Orbison the most. My son loves Tom Petty, also a member of TW. These coincidences of life are so much more than that, aren’t they? I’m at a place of nostalgia right now. Returning to a familiar spot in a new capacity, I’m full of good feelings. There’s much to do and much to learn and yet it feels […]

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Jen writes

September 22, 2013

Testing, testing

As a kid, tests meant studying, quiet, eraser gum brushed by the back of my hand across a desk. Hunched backs, held breath, heavy sighs. And waiting for the results. As an adult, tests mean DOB, johnnies, blood draws. Making appointments, hospital-style ID bracelets, full bladders, no bras. And waiting for the results. This past year I had my first mammogram. Within two days I was called in for a closer look. And back I went, for a closer look. Powerless and braless, hoping beyond hope that this was just a precaution. That the first questionable result had been some […]

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Jen writes

September 1, 2013

“It depends.”

It’s been so long since I wrote here that I had to actually think about what my password is. It took me two tries and slight panic, but good ol’ WordPress let me in. The calendar says September first, and I can hardly believe it. The last few weeks of summer have gone faster than all the rest, and we sit perched on the cusp of another school year, my children—and me—another year older. The fourth grader has been a challenge lately. Is he nervous for the school year? Is his pre-teen identity getting the better of him? Are the […]

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Jen writes

July 9, 2013

Why I write

I wonder, sometimes, if I will ever feel like I have enough time to write. When my kids are grown. When there aren’t playdates and piano lessons and grocery shopping twice-weekly. When I can have a dedicated writing schedule that I can actually keep to instead of so often finding myself tending to someone else’s needs during that time I’ve tried to set aside. That all sounds negative. And it is, I suppose. I don’t mean it to. I love my family. I love being a mother. I love it all, and it’s hard. And what I need most to […]

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Jen writes

June 25, 2013

Six days. In reverse.

Today: The last day of school for my two older kids. A trip to the lake: one part celebration of newly minted second- and fourth-graders; one part survival. It’s HOT! Last night: Organize teacher cards and gifts. Oversee kids calling friends to invite them to the lake. The Bruins game. Ignore the laundry needing folding. Also last night: Stay up too late. Decide to get up early to write. Yesterday afternoon: Drum lesson for the boy. Library visit for the girls. Trip to the supermarket for all four of us. Earlier yesterday afternoon: Fall asleep beside the 4-year-old and awake […]

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Jen writes

June 20, 2013

Fourteen

Today is June 20. Fourteen years ago today my father died suddenly. And I’m pretty sure this is the first June 20 in those 14 years that I have not taken off work, or had a special lunch with my mom, or gone to the cemetery with Sarah. Today life goes on, with work on a deadline, a school picnic dinner at which I must pay close attention because I’ve just been elected PTO co-president for next year, and my daughter’s piano open house. Work. Food. School. Music. My life, all packed into one 12-hour period. My sweet orange-haired S […]

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Jen writes

June 10, 2013

In the mirror

They are all three-and-a-half years older. So am I, for that matter. The littlest still crawls on top of me. The oldest still waits for me, these days on the edge of the chair in the kitchen while I’m making dinner. “Mom,” he says. “Mom.” Sometimes that’s all. There’s nothing more that he has to say, really. He just needs to be near me. To say my name. The middle, my oldest girl, she still likes to snuggle. But she loves her bed all to herself, too. Perhaps she has changed the most. Grown into herself a bit. My Sweetie […]

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Jen writes

May 15, 2013

The details

There are things I won’t write about here. Stories that aren’t only mine to tell. Certain intimacies and emotions. I won’t disclose my kids’ names. Or Sweetie’s. It feels limiting sometimes, these decisions I’ve made, even though they still feel like the right decisions for me and my family. Lately, I’ve kind of thrown myself back into the blogging world. I was floundering for a while. Not just here, but in general. I didn’t know my place. I couldn’t embrace it because I couldn’t identify it. But things seem to be coming together. Or at least it feels that way. […]

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Jen writes

May 6, 2013

Just a blog post

I took this week off from work. And today, on just the first non-weekend day, my son said, “I like it when you’re home. ” No prompting from me. Just one of those moments while driving in the car. Pumped from an “awesome” drum lesson and looking forward to cyclocross, he was happy, I think, for just the two of us to be in the car together in this particular moment. No sisters tagging along. No hurrying or waiting or anything, really, except just being in the moment on a beautifully warm and sunny Monday afternoon. I like being home, […]

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Jen writes

April 29, 2013

Wonder

It was a beautiful weekend in western Massachusetts. I spent so much time outdoors breathing in the sunshine and fresh air that I still feel the warmth on my cheeks. It left me with the feeling of possibility. That it’s going to be a good week. And what better way to launch it than by sending you over to Project: Underblog, where today I write about feeling wonder. I hope you’ll join me there and let me know your own thoughts. Happy Monday, everyone! Tweet

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Jen writes

April 24, 2013

Moment in the sun

It’s another chilly spring day. But right here, right now, at 5:28 p.m. on an afternoon in late April, the sun is shining in on this very spot. A small, enclosed porch furnished with a hand-me-down couch and various small tables that don’t fit anywhere else in our cozy house. It’s a mishmash, this space, and I love it. I love its possibility. And the fact that there are no expectations that go along with this odd-shaped room, only seasonably available to us. I love that the afternoon sun is shining in just before it slips behind the trees across […]

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Jen writes

April 2, 2013

Beating together

When Sarah and I started Momalom almost four years ago, we knew right away that we didn’t want to write the details of our daily activities. Momalom was not to be a mother’s web log. Not a diary. Instead, we wanted to write about our experiences. Our emotions. How it felt to be the mother of our three, unique children. I thought of this blogging intention as I stood at the kitchen sink the other night, washing the dishes. My son was upstairs practicing his drums. And I found myself wanting to write not about the rhythms of his drumsticks […]

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Jen writes

February 11, 2013

Slowed by snow

Thursday afternoon I left work, packing up my computer and all other resources I could possibly think of that I may need the next day. Because I knew it was unlikely I’d be making the trek over the mountain and through the farms to work on Friday: Nemo Day. Thursday night we watched the weather reports, switching back and forth between TV channels and loading and reloading the websites, checking and rechecking the updated radar. The snowfall totals for the state ranged from six inches to more than three feet. We made sure the shovels were upright, leaning against the […]

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Jen writes

January 24, 2013

Attitude adjustment

Over the weekend I was having a moment of negative self reflection. I started to write. Luckily, I was interrupted. When I returned to the computer after getting snacks for the girls and receiving a tight-squeeze, leg hug from my 4-year-old, I changed my writing direction. Who can continue in self pity when there’s an unending supply of leg hugs? Not me. Find my attitude adjustment over at Project: Underblog today. Tweet

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Jen writes

January 14, 2013

Happiness is playing on Wordle.net

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Jen writes

January 8, 2013

Dwell

This morning I took a very long shower. Very. Long. Longer than I probably had time for. Certainly longer than necessary. I could have accomplished something in the time I spent standing under the stream of near-scalding water thinking of nothing at all but how good it felt to be there and how long I could stay before the water went cold or guilt got the best of me. It’s so easy for me to focus and dwell on the things that I don’t do well. The places I fall short. The tasks and projects left unfinished or, worse, not […]

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Jen writes

January 2, 2013

If I Were You

Listen. Listen to the sounds of your family: the battery-powered Hess helicopter and accompanying utterances of “cool” by your son; the gentle foot taps of your featherweight eldest daughter, upstairs, forever practicing her emboites; the breathing of your slightly congested younger daughter, sitting beside you on the bed watching Caillou as you type; the door opening and your Sweetie tapping his boots against the sill to dislodge the snow. Listen to your children. Listen to them playing and dancing and living beside you. Also, listen for their hopes and fears. Listen for their pride and their uncertainty. Listen to know […]

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Jen writes

December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Tis the day for Santa preparations! At my house we’re cleaning up so he can get through the back door of our chimney-less house. And we’re getting together cookies for him and peeling carrots for Rudolph and his team of eight. There’s one last advent calendar window to open, stockings to leave propped up on the couch, visions of sugarplums to read about. It’s the season of togetherness, and this year I’m more grateful than ever to have my family gathered around our tree. 2012 has left me feeling certain that I am one of the lucky ones. I have […]

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Jen writes

December 18, 2012

Me

It’s late. I’m tired. I haven’t been here in so long. There are so many reasons why I haven’t been here in so long. And now I’m at the end of the day, wanting mostly to close my eyes and burrow into my pillow. But somehow I am still buzzing from the day. All of the parts of the day. All that a day encompasses. Today was much like most. Going from place to place, task to task. Juggling home and work, family and profession. Keeping an eye toward the holidays, peeking back at me from only days distant. There […]

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Sarah writes

November 18, 2012

riding the escalator

                      I don’t know what I’m doing In motherhood, wifehood, other I ride up and down and hip hop from one scale to the next Nothing gives me answers I’ve even come to forget the questions Not unlike my teens and 20s, I feel all I do is ride Which way I go is irrelevant I’ll eventually end up at the other end I should let go of expectations Not worry so much Ease up, lay back, enjoy the ride After all, it’s too short no matter how long it […]

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Jen writes

November 17, 2012

Found in a makeshift fort

  You better believe my ears are tuned in for the ol’ “bih bih.” This mama is not a-gonna be spied upon.   Tweet

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Sarah writes

November 13, 2012

tuning in

I’m stirring the risotto. Stir, stir, add stock, stir. Max appears in the doorway. “Mom, can you teach me how to play the guitar?” “I’ve been meaning to learn myself, buddy. Maybe we can learn together.” “Will GG teach us?” “Sure, yeah.” He strums for a while, singing. Stir, stir, add stock, stir. “Mom, I got so many songs in my head for when I grow up and go on American Idol that I just can’t decide which one. Like Baby, Don’t Let me Go and Snow Is Falling. Just so many. So, so many…” Stir, stir, clutch my heart, […]

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Jen writes

November 12, 2012

Hey

I stepped out of the house for just a few minutes, my phone plugged in to charge. I missed your call. “Hey.” You say, through the speaker held up to my ear. One syllable, vowel sound drawn out just a touch. The familiar, quiet lilt in tone. The rich slowness of your vocal chords. A pause. I know a half-grin is lifting the corners of your lips. I hear you. I hear this message. It’s just for me. I hear: Hey. Just calling to connect with you. Hey. You’ll be home from work in a half hour. We’ll be shuffling […]

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Jen writes

November 8, 2012

Thinking place

I sit down to write and I never have more than a few minutes. I can barely concentrate on the words coming out of me, my focus instead pulled toward all of the things that are hanging over me, undone. Tonight I’m going to see Verlyn Klinkenborg read. I’m going alone. Sweetie will put the kids to bed, and I’ll get in my car and drive over the river in the dark and the cold, with his most recent book tucked in my bag, hoping the line for autographs isn’t too long. I don’t remember when I first discovered Verlyn, […]

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Jen writes

November 4, 2012

Brilliance

If I look up, out of the corner of my right eye I see the sun, streaming in near-horizontal pillars through the plastic-covered window. To my left an orange plastic pumpkin full of Halloween candy, Milk Duds on top. I see a box full to overflowing with items we were going to sell at a tag sale over the summer——outgrown clothes, duplicate books, other miscellany that might be more meaningful to others. I see bins of art materials, so very many pairs of shoes. I see an unfinished Lego project, donut crumbs on an alphabet placemat, the surface of our […]

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Jen writes

November 2, 2012

At the laundromat

Our dryer is broken. For a long time it’s been dying a long, slow death, requiring periodic and dedicated lint clean-out of the vent as well as much patience (two or three dryer cycles per washer load). We’ve managed so far. We use the clothesline five or six months of the year. And when it’s icy outside, I drape kid-sized pants and shirts over a drying rack in the bathroom, hang bigger items on hangers over the shower rod. And, until now, I reserved the limping dryer for the towels and sheets. And the underwear and socks. The many, many […]

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Jen writes

October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Tomorrow’s November 1, which means the Momalom brother has a birthday. (Happy Birthday, Brother! I’ll try to call…) It also means that NaBloPoMo is beginning. Sarah and I have decided to keep the tradition alive (or revive the blog, however you want to look at it) and do NaBloPoMo again. No, we don’t have the fun little icon yet. No, we have no idea how we’re going to actually be successful at such a grandiose commitment. We haven’t even officially registered or anything. But that’s OK. We’re doing it because we committed to it. To each other. And now that […]

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Jen writes

October 17, 2012

Tuesday in October

There’s so much and yet there’s no time. It’s the usual problem, really. Life in the way of life. Contradictions everywhere. We’re supposed to be focused on the living but here we are going through from one obligation to the next, trying to get everywhere all at the same time, sitting down at the end of the day wondering how we did it and knowing that we’ll have to do it all again tomorrow. It is the fall. The season of the most significant changes. The light outside moving away from the bright yellows and blues, growing sparser and more […]

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Jen writes

October 9, 2012

Awake

I’m awake. It’s 10:06 p.m. My children are sleeping. My sweetie is sleeping. I can’t sleep. Or I don’t want to. Being awake in a quiet house is what I long for most afternoons, after the noise of the mornings has taken up all the space in my brain that I allot for noise. But it never happens. I never get the quiet house. Not for more than a glimpse of a moment. I’m tired. But I’m not ready to sleep. I worked on a writing project for a bit, but it’s a tough one, this project. And I had […]

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Jen writes

October 7, 2012

Sunday afternoon

It’s Sunday afternoon. I spent the morning doing domestic work. Baking, cleaning, decluttering. Puttering. The children entertained themselves for the most part, a Sunday gift come from a busy six days prior. My children like these days of no agendas. They paint and color and play house. They ride bikes, shoot hoops, run around the neighborhood with friends. I get a glimpse out the kitchen window––as I’m doing the dishes again––of my son whizzing by on his new bike. Whoop-whooping as he speeds out of my view and around the corner. It’s Sunday afternoon, and my bedroom is neat enough […]

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Jen writes

September 25, 2012

FOUR!

Happy Birthday to my baby. You leave me without any words to say and a heart overflowing with pride and joy and wonder. Today you’re 4! And you’re one of a kind. Tweet

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Jen writes

September 23, 2012

Hearts beat

I’ve been moving slowly. I’ve been thinking of the one thing I’m doing. Unloading the dishwasher. Hanging up the clothes. Walking up the stairs. I’ve been thinking thoughts and not writing them down. But I’ve been thinking them again and again over and over. Listening in my head to the sounds of the words. Picturing the letters. The way they would look here, if I typed them. I’ve been thinking about writing. I’ve been working on writing projects. I haven’t been blogging. I’ve been moving slowly. The fall days are exquisite. I don’t think I’ve ever appreciated the blue blue […]

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Jen writes

August 30, 2012

Learning the third-child way

Yesterday I learned that my 3-year-old can effortlessly recognize the numbers 0 through 9 (at least). I was reading Junie B. Jones (is not a Beauty Shop Guy) and stopped, reaching for a bookmark. My sparkly-eyed little E pulled away from our snuggle and said, “Mama, don’t stop at chapter 7!” I was not surprised that she didn’t want me to stop reading. My children never want me to stop reading. But how is it that she knew the 7? After a quick, random, quiz-like exchange it was clear that E obviously knew all of the chapter numbers. At this […]

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Jen writes

July 23, 2012

What are you going through?

I remember the feeling of being newly pregnant and wondering if anyone could tell. And then wondering what secrets everyone else might be holding inside. I feel a similar internal waking now, two weeks after Sweetie was released from the hospital. It’s acute, this knowledge that we all are going through something. Life is complicated. It’s full, if we are lucky. But sometimes it’s not full the way we want it to be. Sometimes we must spend our time waiting for a car to be repaired. Or returning a toy at Target. Or filling new prescriptions. Sometimes we have to […]

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Jen writes

July 19, 2012

Three in a bed

We sleep together A toddler between us And I am happy Her toes at my knees Your toes touching mine And I realize I am good at this now This parenting at night Better than I was when we were in so deep for so long The years of nights stretching out from the long days No guaranteed hours of quiet The resisting being needed The resentment of being needed And now together this rare night of a child between us I lay half asleep rubbing her back listening to you breathe and sigh And I think again I know […]

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Jen writes

July 17, 2012

Just (Risk) Write

There have been times in my life when I’ve had experiences that, in hindsight, have seemed to have been almost out-of-body. The way I screamed at the top of my lungs in shock when I heard the news that my father had died. How I stopped the excruciating abdominal pain in week 29 of my third pregnancy upon being told by nurses that the NICU would take care of my premature daughter. (My job here is not done, I thought.) And, most recently, how I walked outside in my nightgown last Saturday morning to get the aspirin out of Sweetie’s […]

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Jen writes

July 6, 2012

Abundance

Sometimes I write all day in my head and then I climb into bed at night and realize the words are gone. They’ve been swimming around all day, back and forth back and forth, and then I sit down to breathe for the first time all day and the thoughts sink to the bottom of my mind, as if buried in the muck of all the days’ endless chores. I can’t seem to get used to the amount of work that goes into keeping up a household. Seriously, our house looks always as if a parade of muddy elephants stormed […]

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Jen writes

June 29, 2012

Happiness is …

A weekend-long Momalom family camping trip. (Sarah, Jen, two spouses, six kids.) See you on the flip side!   Tweet

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June 28, 2012

Sometime Around Midnight

Two nights ago Sarah and I received the text from my brother we’d been hoping not to get for three days. “Evac’ed. We are OK.” The first message of what has become five straight days of ongoing text alerts came Saturday morning. A photograph of dark, billowing smoke, high above the mountains near Justin’s home. He took the photo standing on his front steps. Subsequent photos sent throughout the day showed red and orange flames. Awe. Disbelief. Fear. Through the weekend the family texting continued. Questions and concern from me, Sarah, our mom. Updates, photos, reassurance, from Justin. We sent […]

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Jen writes

June 26, 2012

Mountaintop breakfast

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June 19, 2012

On notice

Notice the two small, pure white butterflies, flitting around each other playfully. Notice the two, smaller, black dense ants, crawling away from each other as if in a stand off. Notice the ache of the muscles in my hip, sore from last night. Notice the sound of the mobile crane, moving construction materials above me. Notice the slight slip of my feet in my sandals as I walk up the incline from the lower parking lot. Notice the fragrance of coffee, wafting from the cup in my hand. Notice the sky, not as blue as I noticed yesterday. Notice the […]

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June 7, 2012

Weekend at Kripalu

I can’t stop thinking about the lavender-scented soap. I can’t stop thinking about the meditation: May I be happy. May I be strong. May I be safe. May I live in peace. I can’t stop thinking about how good I felt—relaxed body, clear mind—for days after taking an early morning yoga class. I can’t stop thinking about what a privilege it was to think so much about writing, the bigger picture of writing, the commitment to writing, the possibility of writing. I can’t stop thinking about the delicious, healthy food. I can’t stop thinking about how for a day-and-a-half I […]

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Jen writes

May 31, 2012

Beginnings

I often must remember That beginnings can come from endings And that as I lie down to sleep At the end of a day That was stressful Or hurried Too emotional Or even just unexpected I may not wake up feeling calmer or more in control. But I also must remember As I curl into bed in my rarely-quiet house And think—as I often do—of how a day could have been happier More enjoyable That when I open my eyes in the morning I will probably be greeted with gold: My children’s grins, giggles A hot mug of coffee A […]

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Yesterday I wrote a very quick list of some unexpected joys I’ve felt since becoming a mother. There’s another one every day, of course. There has been since the day I found out I was pregnant—the very definition of unexpected joy. In the 8-and-a-half years since the two lines appeared on that very first pregnancy test, I’ve (re)experienced so many things through my children’s senses—the sound of a choo-choo train whistle; the smell of a Band-Aid and it’s cure-all powers; a hot-air balloon hovering above an open field. Children experience wonderment every single day. If we—their parents—are lucky, we experience […]

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Jen writes

May 23, 2012

7 unexpected joys of motherhood

1. Watching my kids catch bugs and butterflies and spiders (oh my!) 2. Photographing the everyday moments. 3. Laughing about the sweet (mis)pronunciations of my youngest child’s speech. 4. Feeling my 6-year-old’s hand reach up for mine as we walk together up the steps to kindergarten drop off. 5. Listening to my 8-year-old play his drums. 6. Settling in for the night with Sweetie as all three children sleep alone in their beds. 7. Finding writing inspiration every day. ******** Today’s post is a little sneak preview of the week to come. Come back tomorrow to find out how you […]

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May 21, 2012

Exceptional

It was a weekend full of emotion, and I feel raw. In just two days we packed in parties and traveling, swim lessons and breakfast for dinner. Summer camp open house and playing “store” at home. In other words, it was exceptional and ordinary, all at once. We planned and arranged and rearranged so that Sweetie and I could go to a wedding Saturday. It was a gorgeous day. I found a dress that (mostly) fit and shoes that my daughter was concerned might cause me to “fall over.” I ironed Sweetie’s shirt and helped him choose a tie. The […]

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Jen writes

May 15, 2012

Morning

It’s morning. I know by the light coming around the window shade in soft waves, somehow getting beyond my eyelids, squeezed shut. It’s morning. I know by the weight shifting beside me, Sweetie sitting up, reaching for his T-shirt discarded in the night. It’s morning. I know by the sounds of the birds. I wish I knew exactly what kind of birds. It’s morning. I know because my mind is more awake than I wish it would be. Full of all there is to do. It’s morning. And soon I must get up from my bed and start the day. […]

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Jen writes

April 21, 2012

Eight

On this day eight years ago at exactly 4:00 a.m. you were born. And as much as I could write and write and write all sappy-like about the ways that you have changed my life and made it better and more challenging and more worthwhile… I won’t. I will say only this: Never in my wildest imagination did I dream that a child of mine would be a drummer. And that your birthday gift on this remarkable milestone of turning 8 (but entering your ninth year) would be these. And that is the thing about motherhood. It is full of […]

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Jen writes

April 10, 2012

Today. Tuesday.

I’m starting to have tiny panic attacks about Five for Five. We don’t have a button. We haven’t announced topics. When will I write? Read? Comment? Life is so incredibly busy. Last night I slept for 10 straight hours, and while I didn’t exactly wake up tired, I’d nap today if I had the time. I’m happy and yet I want more. My children are strong and bright and talented and funny. They have friends and activities that challenge them and keep them busy. They are curious and stubborn all at once. I want them to grow up healthy and […]

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Jen writes

April 6, 2012

Friday morning equation

I sit in a quiet house while Sweetie and our 3-year-old daughter return bottles to the redemption center. A few dollars earned in deposits (+) time alone for mama to be still (=) immeasurable gains in our family’s happiness. Tweet

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April 2, 2012

Memento

I capped off last week with a much-anticipated evening of fun with GG and Sarah. And I brought a reminder of said evening with me to work today. It is a reminder to myself of a night spent giggling with my mother and sister in a mall parking lot after gorging ourselves on popcorn and Sour Patch Kids (and Twizzlers and Rolos) in a darkened movie theater while watching a non-animated, almost-adult movie. An experience worth remembering. And one I hope we can do again. Soon. ***** Five for Five update: • Folks, there’s a Twitter list of Five for […]

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Jen writes

March 28, 2012

Five tips on how best to enjoy your family

1. Take a week off from work just to spend time with them. 2. Take your children to the after-school activities that you usually can’t because you’re at work. 3. Enjoy being (almost) singularly focused on family because you’re not spending time thinking about work. 4. Have lunch in bed beside your Sweetie. Several days in a row. Instead of at your desk. At work. 5. Resist making lists of things to do while you are taking a week off from work just to spend time with your family. Bonus: Go on a field trip with your kid’s kindergarten class […]

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Jen writes

March 25, 2012

This is My Life: Drums

This set-up spent a few days in our living room before we had time to rearrange the nearly-8-year-old’s bedroom. But now the new drum kit is in its intended spot. In the boy’s room. Front and center. And every time he plays them, I start dancing. Tweet

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March 18, 2012

(Be)longing [still]

For the past several days I’ve been trying to write a blog post. I kept getting stuck, so I took a few minutes to peruse the Momalom archives. Along the way I found that I’d already written what I’ve been trying to write. This post was originally published in December 2009. Was I lying when I wrote about not apologizing for my dreams? Because I haven’t been doing much to further those dreams lately. I have been composing only in my head. At night. Long after everyone else in the house is asleep. Or I have been jotting down notes […]

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Jen writes

March 9, 2012

I wish

For more mornings like this one— Time with sweetie; time with writing; time to breathe and, most important, time to look forward to family: time spent together at day’s end. Tweet

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Jen writes

February 28, 2012

Today

It’s been so long since I’ve written here that now that I’m here I don’t know what to write. With such a lapse comes a weighted feeling of needed perfection. If I write frequently it’s easier to give up the expectation of success. Just getting words out is enough. Tomorrow they can be better. But when there’s been days, weeks of no writing, then I start to feel like I need to say something relevant, profound, provocative. Or at the very least, interesting. But today I’m not feeling interesting. Today I’m just grateful that it’s Tuesday, and Heather is still […]

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Sarah writes

February 14, 2012

I Love

Subconsciously I must have been aware I’d wake up to Valentine’s Day. But at the time I wasn’t thinking about that, even though I’d (finally) just coaxed two of the boys to address and package their class Valentines. I climbed into bed beside my husband who, for the first time in forever, was reading a book. The Hunger Games, if you must know, because I’d been hyping it up as a guilty pleasure to everyone I know. Of course, he downloaded it to my Nook, leaving me to either start a new book or dip into an old one I […]

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Jen writes

February 13, 2012

Broken wrist and a broken blog?

Where have we been? Sarah broke her wrist a few weeks back, so it’s been tough for her to write. I have no such physical excuse. But I think maybe the blogging part of me broke a little bit recently. I’ve been pushing this place out of my mind, away from my consciousness. It doesn’t feel right. And yet, it feels a relief, too. It’s so impossible to do it all. It’s so impossible to do even what needs to be done. (I took the weekend off from laundry. Felt good at the time, but I know many of you […]

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Jen writes

January 24, 2012

Memories to strive for

Sarah and I were talking yesterday about how lucky we are. There are so many reasons, of course, but our conversation centered around family. Our own childhoods, with engaged, educated, interesting, fun parents who each respected their children and encouraged us all to excel, to take risks, to grow. OK, we didn’t use those words during our chat, but that’s what it comes down to, isn’t it? Having good parents means so very much. Now that we’re both in the thick of it, trying oh so hard to be good parents ourselves, we call upon our own childhood experiences more […]

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Jen writes

December 29, 2011

Repost: Letter redux

I first published the letter below last January, at the outset of 2011. As I re-read it tonight I felt sad and empty with the realization that a few short months after I wrote those words, I lost that self for a time. I should elaborate. But what’s most important is that I’m back now. My better self found. Or I’m here again: In this place, thinking about the living that happens beyond the writing. So much has changed this past year. And yet what is important is so fully the same. The people with whom I share this life, […]

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Jen writes

November 30, 2011

Silver vision

My heart is still swollen from a Monday night surprise that leaves me unable to write my own words. And so I share instead a few stanzas from a song that I’m listening to right now. If you recognize these words and maybe the melody plays in your mind and you find yourself thinking of strings and harmony, maybe you know what the surprise was—concert tickets tucked into an early Christmas card and landing in my hand when I got home from work. Sweetie and I don’t go out just the two of us very often. And Monday was a […]

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Jen writes

November 28, 2011

A promise

I sit and I look through seven-and-a-half years of photos of my beautiful kids. There’s a smile on my face and a tear threatening the corner of my eye. I fight the sadness that they are growing up so fast. Too fast. Parenting is full of mixed emotion. Everyday contradictions. Pride and uncertainty colliding in bursts inside of me. And I promise myself now that I will appreciate it all: These children. My children. Their moments of miraculousness. Their wonder. Their joy. Their accomplishments. The gift of being their mother. There’s just so much to this life. So much to […]

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Jen writes

November 25, 2011

Thanks

My Sweetie and our three children— four beautiful people who shine bright— leave me thankful every single day. And shining brighter, too. Twinkling, even. Tweet

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November 20, 2011

One + one = Quality time

“Hey, B,” I ask. “So do you want to go to the pool?” It’s so beautiful out (Almost 60 degrees! In November!) that I half feel like I shouldn’t suggest an indoor activity. But yesterday after swim lessons my son asked if we could go to free swim soon. And with a 3-year-old with a broken ankle I didn’t think the answer would be yes. But now the 3-year-old and her older sister are playing together at a friend’s house, and my boy and I have an hour or so to spend alone. I say no so very often to […]

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Jen writes

November 11, 2011

Three happy kids = One happy mama

So many childhood moments worth saving Few more heartwarming than this one:   ********   Tweet

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Jen writes

November 8, 2011

Crossing. To safety.

There’s a part at the end of my favorite book, Crossing to Safety, where one of the main characters is dying. She’s a matriarch. She’s a force. She’s the one to whom everyone looks—for direction, for ideas, for guidance. During her whole life, she has run the show. And now the show is her death. She’s trying to die with grace. She’s trying to make it easy on everyone else. She chooses her best female friend and her daughter and her sister to ferry her to the place she has chosen to die. Her husband is furious. He feels left […]

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Jen writes

October 25, 2011

Rainbow

I saw a rainbow on my drive in to work today. I’m a sappy, sentimental, metaphor-loving writer. You can imagine how happy I was—practically grinning—to find myself driving under a perfect arc of ROY-G-BIV. I do not condone taking photos while driving, but I couldn’t resist. This photo captures not even half of the architecturally breathtaking half-circle that created a tunnel over Route 9. Only once before have I seen such a rainbow. It was a few years ago, driving the reverse trip. Leaving the town in which I work, and in which Sweetie’s sister also lives. Our sweet family, […]

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Jen writes

September 9, 2011

Young at Heart

Last night my family and I walked together to the town center to see this amazing singing group. (Take a look. I’ll wait here.) There are few more moving examples of life lived to its fullest. We should all be so lucky. Tweet

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Jen writes

September 7, 2011

Eye level

I didn’t get teary eyed at kindergarten drop-off yesterday. My middle child wearing her too-heavy backpack let go of my hand and headed straight into her new classroom for her first day. She paused for a moment in front of one of her new classmates (in tears) until one of the teachers swooped in, bending down to my nearly 6-year-old’s eye level. Then I paused for a moment, wishing I could be a fly on a the wall of this classroom–the same one my now second-grader started his own school career in. But before I completed the thought I turned […]

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Jen writes

August 3, 2011

Everyday. Dreaming.

This morning I have done laundry. And dishes. I have considered the merits of sweeping the floor before lunch. I have gone upstairs to find “my big piggy, mama!” I have given my 2-year-old a big bowl of cherries and helped her wash her face and hands. I have listened to the Wiggles, whose grating voices blare from the red toy guitar that always seems to reappear from the latest place I’ve hidden it. I have had my coffee, and a handful of Ritz crackers. Returned emails. Read the paper. Finished a book. Found a missing sneaker. This was not […]

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Jen writes

July 19, 2011

501 on the coast of South Carolina

The last post, Sarah’s most recent and one of her best, was our 500th here at Momalom. 500. Now that seems worthy of ceremony, even if it’s after the fact. But ceremony is far from our reality right now, here during post 501, because we are on vacation, Sarah and I. With our spouses. And our brother and sister-in-law. And all of our nine combined children (eldest: 8.9; youngest: 2.9). And our mother (Geege!) We are on vacation. And we are having fun. Swim, snack, rinse, nap, repeat.   Sarah’s husband has certain bartending abilities, and he sent me to […]

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Jen writes

July 10, 2011

10 minutes on a Sunday morning

Sunday morning, and the day stretches out before me in that proverbial way a day does when there’s nothing planned and only one parent home and three kids walking aimlessly through the house. Run-on sentences fill my head. There are the things that I could do: Laundry. Dishes. Get down on the floor and play with the kids. There are the things that I want to do: Sit on the porch with a cup of coffee and gaze up at the trees. Watch the cardinal couple flirting. Prepare for the day by preparing words for the page. There are the […]

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Jen writes

June 24, 2011

Anniversary

If we could devote this day to just the two of us as the calendar says we might how would we pass the time? Walking to town hand in hand browsing in bookstores and music stores Sitting outside, watching people go by Even enjoying a quiet meal together? That’s how we spent our days before one address, before three children. I think back and am grateful. We leaped together. We’re still aloft. Tweet

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Jen writes

May 31, 2011

Choreography

Last weekend, my oldest daughter and forever middle child had her first full-length ballet recital. I cried. (Of course.) She didn’t. She flitted onstage and off, fully embracing her butterfly role. Oh the pride. To see her up there in her blue flowing dress, flowers in her tightly wound orange hair. To see the older dancers and remember my own years on stage. I had to hold back. I had to stop from thinking about myself. About my own childhood. Adolescence. About all that I wanted to accomplish and haven’t yet. About all that I have accomplished—love, a life together, […]

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Jen writes

May 13, 2011

Wisdom (n.)

                      The ability to see the beauty in the messy moments of parenting.   Add your own six-word wisdom at www.makingthingsup.com.         Tweet

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Jen writes

May 8, 2011

For GG on Mother’s Day

Two Sundays ago it was GG’s birthday. And I wanted to write a tribute to her, much in the way that Sarah did last year. But this year (and, to my surprise, for the first time in her life) my mom shared her birthday with Easter, and so the time I would have liked to spend on the tribute was spent in the company of the Easter Bunny. And now it’s Mother’s Day. And I started writing this post a week ago, trying to grasp the next chance to pay tribute to the remarkable woman who is my mother. And […]

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Jen writes

May 5, 2011

Wheels turning

I get in the car and start driving And my brain awakens to the ideas it’s been holding back Amidst the morning needs of getting out the door Helping to get others out the door. I drive and I think and my awakened synapses fire (is that the terminology? is that the science of it?) Ideas come from every direction demanding my attention And I try to keep my focus on the road Without losing sight of the creativity that sustains me That demands my time and my dedication and my patience The same needs that so often are taken […]

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Jen writes

April 18, 2011

Discovery

Last night we played a game at the dinner table. One by one each of us added a word to string together a sentence, then two, then a paragraph. (Except for the 2-year-old, who nonetheless demonstrated her near-perfect understanding of the game after one time around the table.) With few fits and restarts the four of us created a sort of a story. It was silly. About a bubble-blowing monster with blue fur who sleeps on tongues, tends to fart and takes baths in mud puddles. No big surprises, given that silly is our dinnertime default and the fact that […]

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As I sat in the waiting room of my daughter’s ballet school a few months ago I perused a magazine uninterrupted. And I came across a quote that I read over and over again. I am so grateful for moments such as these. In this case, an article about the actress Diane Lane offered me unexpected clarity. Here’s the gem that sparkled before me and that I wrote down, nodding all the way: “Being in a relationship makes it impossible to avoid yourself. … It may not always make me comfortable but it sure has made me a better person. […]

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Jen writes

March 17, 2011

In which I consider doing a jig

My dad wasn’t a morning person. The phrases with which he greeted each day are not ones I can transcribe here. He didn’t sleep well. He woke up in nicotine debt. He didn’t particularly look forward to going to work in the mornings. I know, I’m not painting a pretty picture. There were a few days each year, though, when dad came down the stairs with a spring in his step, the sound of the abundance of change in his pants’ pockets jingling. And St. Patrick’s Day was one of the days that put him in a lighter mood. He […]

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Jen writes

March 13, 2011

Two years of Momalom—Numbers, words

In exactly two years of blogging, Sarah and I have published 464 posts. Comments on the site total 8,757–a quarter or so are responses by the two of us. According to Statcounter, we have received 98,854 hits since we started using the service. And although I know that the total already has surpassed 100,000, it seems a celebratory milestone, to be reached in the next few days. We have nearly 300 Feedburner subscribers and 199 Facebook fans. On Twitter, Sarah (Momalom) has 1,122 followers and is listed 59 times. I (Momalomjen) have 959 followers and am listed 61 times. This […]

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Jen writes

February 20, 2011

Weathering the present

I have just about had enough of winter. On the eve of what is predicted to be a “quick storm,” resulting in four to six more inches of snow on our already blanketed yard, the magic of the glistening white branches is over for me. I want to be able to open my back door and send the kids outside without having to bundle them up or respond to snow up the sleeve, down the collar, in the boot. I want to be able to clean my house–yes, I just said that–without people underfoot everywhere I go (undoing my work […]

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Jen writes

February 14, 2011

Love Letter Redux

Happy Valentine’s Day! I’ve linked up with Real Life with Kids today, to  a letter I wrote to my Sweetie last Valentine’s Day. It’s cheating, of course. But that’s the cool thing about Zombie Mondays. You dig up an old post and ease yourself into the week. (Besides, I still feel the same way about my Sweetie this year.) So go read about Cate’s dazzling love affair, check out other Zombie Love Monday contributors, resurrect one of your old posts (a love letter, perhaps?) and link up. Tweet

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Jen writes

February 13, 2011

Glimpses

I catch them more often these days: A 10-year-old boy in the library, curled up reading, oblivious to the children (three of them mine) playing and running around him. A mother dropping off her children–all of them–at school in the morning and getting back into her minivan. Alone. My son on a playdate that lasts through dinner. The changes and growth of children–all children–are suddenly more at the center of my vision. I see other families whose childrens’ lives are starting to take on their own directions. I spend (a little) more time with just a subset of all of […]

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Jen writes

February 8, 2011

Saved

There are people in my life who have been saved. By doctors. By friends. By airbags. By me. There are people in my life who have saved me. Doctors. Friends. My children. My sweetie. I have been thinking about these moments of saving and being saved, and I have been wondering. Did I take notice of these moments and these people at the time the change—the saving—was happening? Did I realize the impact of a medical procedure, a hug, a beating heart, a working brake pedal? Perhaps I did. Yes. I probably did. But I’m realizing that it’s only afterward, […]

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Jen writes

January 22, 2011

A letter to my (future) self.

Dear Self, I like you these days. This you that is less concerned with the things that don’t matter too much—like the state of the floor, clothes strewn, toys scattered. Or the unmade beds and unwashed children. (Are you sensing a trend, self?) I like you. I like your kindness these days. Your more lighthearted self. There is so much that is difficult, namely finances and mothering—knowing what is right and being able to do right by your family. The other stuff—the messy house, the extra five pounds, the hair that grows increasingly longer down your back, the missed PTO […]

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January 13, 2011

Within reach

Here is Sarah during a stop in the aviary at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. It feels like this visit was ages ago, but really it was just more than two weeks. How does that happen, time going too fast? And how can I stop it? I’ll save the photos of orangutans and moose and a black-tongued giraffe for another day like today, when I have lots to say but absolutely no time to write. Tweet

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Jen writes

January 2, 2011

Life on a winding road

Somehow our December-long Momalom in Pictures slipped away, not unlike the last days of 2010, for me spent driving back home from the West, a trip that spanned 12 days and a total of 4,059.8 miles. A trip of adventure, family, new experiences, inopportune bathroom needs, laughter, noise and food. It occurs to me that the trip–a first of such epic distance as a family–was perhaps a microcosm of our “real” life, the life that is ours in our little house in New England. And that life is a successful one overall, just as our maiden voyage to see our […]

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Jen writes

December 9, 2010

Spaghetti and marshmallows.

Your turn. Tweet

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Jen writes

November 15, 2010

Learning in the quiet

I curled up on my son’s bed beside him in the dark at the end of this long Monday. In the quiet in the dark I listened to his breathing, tried hard not to comment on his squirming. And then out of the silence he began to talk. The things he revealed to me were not responses to questions I asked. I wouldn’t have known to ask about these things: facts worries ideas questions of his own that fill his mind. We snuggled together under his warm blankets and I tried to say as little as possible as I answered […]

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Jen writes

November 3, 2010

Coming to terms again and again

I have come to the realization that I believed that when my childbearing days were over I’d step out of one world and into another. From the world of emerging parent to that of established parent. It has taken me some time to come to terms with the reality that Sweetie and I have (only? exactly? ) three children. That we are blessed to have three children. And. And that there will not be more. But then, everyone else keeps having babies. Friends new and old. Neighbors. Co-workers. So many of the people that I see and talk to daily […]

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Jen writes

October 4, 2010

Success simplified.

How do you measure success? It’s an old question, I know. Unoriginal. Visited by most. But. It’s worth asking, I think. If I measured success by my bank account balance, I’d be an utter failure. Or, if I measured by the cleanliness of my house. (I’m laughing now, for I am incapable of keeping our home neat, tidy, organized or, quite frankly, clean.) Other measurements that may result in my failure to succeed: I do not live in a large house. We do not have a landscaped yard with perfect lawn. We do not have the latest technological gadgets. We […]

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Jen writes

September 16, 2010

Intentional Happiness Virgin

Until now, Intentional Happiness has been Sarah’s realm. But, well, she’s super busy being the super designer that she is. Just this week, she finished another fabulous site makeover. (Check out Never-True Tales). And, since she’s preparing for her third-annual Reach the Beach roadrelayforcrazypeoplethingy, I offered to share some of my own happiness today. Here goes: My two older kids have cameras, courtesy of GG. They use them frequently. They sneak up on me and click lovely shots (that I could have deleted upon downloading their images, mind you). They do a house-wide study in still life. They take beautiful […]

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Jen writes

September 14, 2010

From the archives of my life as a mom

Imagine my surprise at finding this little tidbit, written as a part of a writing exercise (I remember…) when I was a mom of (only!) two children. If I have the timing right, my son (now 6) was 2 and my daughter (my only daughter at the time) was 6 months. (She is now rapidly approaching 5.) And so, here it is. A writing exercise. I include it here because it strikes me so profoundly that I feel so much the same now. That almost since day one of becoming a mother, it seems, I have felt exactly this. Exactly […]

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Jen writes

September 9, 2010

Mama, When is my next ballet class?

Her question floats quietly from the back seat of the minivan As my daughter’s questions always do I piece together the words Recognize the slightly higher than usual pitch of her voice Glance in the mirror and notice her neck stretched forward And I explain that she has to wait until next Saturday Her shoulders slump, her eyes fall Next Saturday is 10 long days away In her first-ever dance lesson My daughter shone Pink tights Soft, leather ballet slippers Orange hair all tied up in a bun not any bigger than a large grape Her purple leotard stretched across […]

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Jen writes

September 6, 2010

Reflections

This morning, I looked up from scrubbing the bathroom sink to catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror. Glasses slipping down my nose. Hair pulled back in a messy bun that highlighted my grey streak. I did a lot of housework today. It feels important to me that B go off to school tomorrow from a clean house. And so there I was, spray bottle in one hand and paper towel in the other, bent over the white pedestal sink wondering if the hardened peanut butter would ever come unglued from the faucet when, wait, there I was. In […]

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“In case we disappear for a few days. Ya know?” Sarah wrote this in an e-mail to me, in response to my continued amazement at the liquid intake of my son. She and I each have a child who consumes copious amounts of liquid. Juice cups are filled and refilled throughout the day. Thermoses are constantly on hand. And while I sincerely hope there is no correlation between their intake of apple juice and water now to the amount of alcohol they ingest in their teen years, it really is remarkable to witness. It’s also extremely irritating. No matter what, […]

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Jen writes

August 2, 2010

A Successful Vacation

Today is Monday. Last Monday I was at the “big” library, scouring the shelves for new audiobooks for my big boy. Choosing my “baby’s” first book to be taken out. Advising my 4-year-old on which Madeleine video to select. It was a warm and sunny summer day. Perfect for a trip downtown. A smoothie. A day of whim. For 10 days I enjoyed such whim. I got out of bed—one day early, one day late, the rest at the usual time—and faced each day with no grand plans. It was a vacation in the true sense of the word. Except […]

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Jen writes

July 28, 2010

Babydoll on the clothesline

The girls are still asleep The boys, awake I sit at my desk and glance out the window at our green backyard Bubbles of sunlight slipping through the leaves of the lush maple trees floating and settling on the too-long green grass There’s a babydoll on the clothesline because yesterday she got dirty in the sandbox and then my not-yet-2-year-old took her into the bathroom and washed her in the sink How can one child be such a do-er And one of her older siblings be so distraught over doing? I sit and I look outside and I ponder questions […]

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Jen writes

July 23, 2010

Together (inevitably)

Where I Am So Are They. Tweet

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You are young. So you know everything. You leap into the boat and begin rowing. But, listen to me. Without fanfare, without embarrassment, without any doubt, I talk directly to your soul. Listen to me. Lift the oars from the water, let your arms rest, and your heart, and heart’s little intelligence, and listen to me. There is life without love. It is not worth a bent penny, or a scuffed shoe. It is not worth the body of a dead dog nine days unburied. When you hear, a mile away and still out of sight, the churn of the […]

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Sarah writes

July 5, 2010

green sweatshirt

I folded laundry last night and picked up the green, hooded sweatshirt the one that zips up the front, isn’t too cushy, and has highlighted both the blue and brown eyes of my two youngest boys I think it’s days are numbered this favorite piece of clothing and yet I am not ready to pack it away in the attic graveyard Then I remembered all the times yesterday I said something like this “It’ll be easier when they are all older. When they are all 5 and up.” I’m pushing and pulling at time all at once thinking of time […]

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Jen writes

July 2, 2010

Found.

“Recollection, I have found, is usually about half invention.” —Wallace Earle Stegner. OK, so I cheated this week Stealing a few words from Wally. (Not even six words. Nine, actually.) But this quote hangs before me When I sit at my desk. It provides me with great inspiration Perhaps you will be inspired, too. For more Six Word Fridays–and to link up your own six words–check out MakingThingsUp.com! Tweet

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Jen writes

June 20, 2010

Loyalty.

I spent this past basketball season becoming a True Celtics Fan. With Sweetie, I watched nearly every televised game, up to and including Game 7 of the finals, the scrappy match against the Lakers that ended the Celts’ season just short of them having achieved the crowning glory of the title. Sweetie is a longstanding Celtics fan, and on game nights we would put the kids to bed and tune in. From pregame to postgame and the halftime analysis in between, I watched and listened beside him, as I have for years. I don’t know why this year was different. […]

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Sarah writes

June 16, 2010

Life is a Carousel

I have to stop trying to figure out how to slow it down or make it stop And simply cherish the ride even if I get dizzy more than I’d like Tweet

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“I am sorry for that” I received this note on Sunday afternoon, amidst the fallout of a meltdown by my 6-year-old son. He’s written notes of apology before, and in the past he has been a bit more specific in describing why he is “sare.” Whether he anticipates using this note again or he just ran out of room on the piece of paper to go into detail, I’m not sure. But the fact that he writes me notes makes my heart swell a bit, even while I am trying to get under control my own emotional reaction to his […]

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Jen writes

June 9, 2010

Glimpse. Pause. Reflect.

I like this photo because it brings me right back to that trip to Maine, 11 years ago. The trip that Sweetie planned from start to finish. Every detail taken care of. An inn with a huge jacuzzi. Bike trails and a place to rent bikes. Bookstores to explore. I like this photo because just by looking at myself looking out at the water here, adjusting my cap, I also remember the sunset we shared and so many other details of that trip, like the fact that I was still eating fish then, and did, sitting across from my Sweetie, […]

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Jen writes

May 18, 2010

A day of Yes

Yes I’ll make cinnamon-chip muffins Yes we have Daddy juice Yes you can wear shorts today Yes there are clean socks in the laundry basket in my room Yes you have PE today (so wear your sneakers, too) Yes I’ll pack yogurt in your lunch Yes I’ll pack a granola bar in your snack Yes it’s my turn to drive you to school today Yes you have to brush your teeth Yes I’m picking you up from school, too Yes your friend M can come over to play Yes I’ll make popcorn Yes you can jump on the (neighbor’s) trampoline […]

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Jen writes

May 12, 2010

Happiness is

Happiness is three slippery bodies just out of the tub holding out their towels and asking for a “Daddy warm-up” Happiness is my Sweetie’s eyes deep brown and kind always smiling with soft lines around them like the Lucinda Williams song Happiness is this family that is ours only ours always ours because we took the leap that led us here ***************** Wednesday and Thursday are all about Happiness. Sarah and I are so happy to have you along on this amazing adventure. Link away…and we’ll get busy reading. Tweet

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In a new Mother’s Day tradition, today’s post–like last year’s Mother’s Day post–is written by Momalom’s mom, aka GG or Geege. She’ll no doubt be checking comments, so let her know what you think. And, thanks, Mom, for gracing our space with your wisdom once more. The Evidence of Mothers One of my best friends’ 37-year-old son recently made her a grandmother for the first time. When I saw Chris last week, she grabbed me and gave me a shake, demanding to know why I had never told her what being a grandparent is like, how wonderful it is Of […]

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Jen writes

May 6, 2010

Discovering the Park: Revisited

As we’re gearing up for Five for Ten, I’ve decided to repost some oldies this week. Need a refresher on Five for Ten? Just go hang out in the sidebar over there. You can find the rules and our topics and even link up! I’ll see you back here on the 10th! ********** Mysteries Unearthed (Originally published August 9, 2009) Friday I took my kids to the park. It was 3 in the afternoon. The baby had woken from her nap. Quiet time was over. We were at loose ends. So I strapped the girls into the bike trailer, B […]

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Jen writes

April 30, 2010

(On Not) Living in the Past

I have noticed lately that it’s not unusual for people to be living in their pasts. Thinking back to their glory days of high school. Or the independence of college. Their single days. The days when they had money (read: before children). There is a lot of this going on. And I’ve just (finally?) put it all together. I think it took me a while to realize this because, well, I don’t really have high school glory days. College was wonderful but not something I feel I need to revisit. I never really wanted to be single, so when I […]

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Jen writes

April 26, 2010

What I Should Have Said

Yesterday at a gathering I was asked by an old friend and mom of one, “How do you do three?” “You just do it,” I said without hesitating. And this is very true. You just do it. I just do it. I mother my three children. I respond first to who needs me most. I multitask all the time. I answer to mom, mama, mommy. Sometimes all at once. I hold hands and answer questions and zip jackets. I keep track and count heads and get juice. I take trips to the potty and mop up spilled water. I just […]

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Sarah writes

April 21, 2010

It’s going by too fast

Somebody slow it down. Please. It’s going by much too fast. My life. And theirs. Can we just slow it down? Stop it, even. *** To think, I couldn’t wait for this little boy to grow up. But now I’m done with growing. I want it to end. Because this boy face is too old now. This boy body too big. And his rhythm is now independent of me. His rhythm is all his own. It, and time, march on. While I wince at just trying to keep up. *** It’s going by too fast. It’s what everyone says. We […]

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Just a thought (and then I’m sure Jen will post something a little more put-together later on): I sometimes wish there weren’t such an emphasis on being present. I feel an enormous amount of pressure to enjoy the moments with my kids. And so often I feel like it’s just impossible. Not because of me, but because of the management of life. It is gorgeous outside right now. The sun is shining its late-afternoon glow. The boys are alternating between snacking and drinking and bouncing on the trampoline. They wander in and out of the house looking for me, needing […]

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Jen writes

April 11, 2010

Easily and Gracefully

I actually looked up the word supple in the dictionary. And I’m glad I did. Because here’s the definition, according to Merriam-Webster: bending and moving easily and gracefully Easily. And Gracefully. That’s the part that speaks to me when it comes to being emotionally supple. I want to bend easily and gracefully in the ways that I react to things. I want to be able to breathe and take in what is in front of me, whether an entire container of art beads strewn across the kitchen floor or a child dancing through the house singing a song in a […]

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Jen writes

April 9, 2010

This Is My Life? Peace and Quiet

E is napping. (Almost four hours so far!) B is at a friend’s house apres school. S is helping me clean, REALLY clean. It is quiet. And peaceful. And productive around here. Is this really my life? I am savoring it. I know there may be only minutes–or just seconds, even–left. Tweet

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Jen writes

March 18, 2010

This is My Life: Sunbathing

Don’t be alarmed. It is not ME who is sunbathing. But on this nice, sunny day, a dear member of the family enjoyed the day in the sun (after a thorough spin in the washing machine). Ah, spring. Tweet

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Jen writes

March 9, 2010

Last Saturday

A family breakfast of crepes and scrambled eggs. Grapefruit and coffee. A walk to the library to return books and take out videos. Lunch together. A houseful of blankets washed and hung to dry on the clothesline, drooping from a winter of ice and snow. A bike ride for B, S and Sweetie; a long nap for E; and reading on the porch for me. Catching up with neighbors after months of a housebound season. PJs before dinner, which has been cooking all day in the Crock-Pot, filling the house with the aromas of Indian spices. *** I came to […]

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Jen writes

March 2, 2010

Thanks for noticing me

So there I am, loading the kids into the truck. Tying balloons onto car seats so they make it home from the birthday party. Fastening buckles. Unwrapping Smarties and Dum Dums for the short ride to Geege’s house. Rearranging the bags in the front seat so there is room for me to sit and drive. Chattering to the kids. Answering their questions. Finding their sippy cups. As far as loading in goes, this is a successful venture. A car pulls up. A window rolls down. I catch it all in the corner of my eye. “Everything OK, Jen? You need […]

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Jen writes

February 7, 2010

A Short Love Letter to My Sweetie

Dear Sweetie, Twelve years ago I chose you. Every day since I have chosen you. It is the easiest choice I have ever made. And I will make it again and again. All my love, Me Tweet

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My 1-year-old stands beside the couch patting the cushion, motioning me to sit down instead of pick up old pretzel chunks from the floor. And if I sit she will heft her solid little body up next to me, crawl on top of me, and stay. (For about 10 seconds.) My 5-year-old waits. Waits. Playing with a truck. Or sitting on his bed rubbing Theo’s ear. I don’t know. But he waits. For me to turn off the shower. And before I can reach for a towel I hear, “Mama? Mom?” My 4-year-old asks if I will “suggle” with her […]

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Sarah writes

January 18, 2010

Perspective

Max is two. Officially. But almost-nearly-not-quite three. He has a bump on his tummy next to his navel. It comes and goes, protruding a barely noticeable amount one day and becoming an alarming size the next. We don’t know what it is. The doctor doesn’t know what it is. And in common terms, it’s freaking me out! _______________________ My car broke down last week. I was driving along and then I wasn’t. And then I was stuck at home, or was I? The kids went off to school and dayhome and I was left to a house full of laundry […]

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Jen writes

January 16, 2010

Humbled

How can I sit in my HOUSE, look around at my THINGS and want MORE? When there are people who have nothing, have lost everything and don’t even know if their loved ones are alive? Why, so often, does it take the worst to make me appreciate all that I have. This amazing family. A safe, warm, happy home. Friends. My sister. The other night I watched a documentary about the Young at Heart Chorus, a group of men and women whose average age is 80 (or older!) who perform across the world. They sing songs by the Ramones, James […]

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