The girls have been into writing in their journals or DIARIES as Bailey likes to call them. I like the word journal but totally remember having a diary! I think my first entry ever said, “Mommy made me eat a mushroom but I didn’t like it.” HA! And I KNOW I wrote an entry in first grade about wetting the bed. Classic.

The only word Parker can consistently write correctly: Love.

I love this more than anything! Totally speaks to her heart.

baking cookies.

I am not what you would call a good cook. Mainly because I hate taking the time to plan, shop, research recipes and clean up the mess. The actual act of cooking and EATING I love. It’s all the other crap I hate.

In January when we figured out that Parker (and now Gray) is allergic to eggs I haven’t attempted much baking because eggs are in EVERYTHING. My mom has been awesome at baking cakes/cookies/pancakes and even brownies without eggs but I just haven’t.

So one day a few weeks ago when I had been home with sick kids all day I got the energy to try homemade chocolate chip cookies! That in and of itself is a true miracle!

For every egg you can use 1.3 cup of applesauce. Just in case you were wondering!

I used whole wheat flour and I have to say, it may have been healthier BUT it made the dough taste kind of grainy. Health shmealth I think I’m using good old white flour next time!

Gray was napping so Parker was my helper.

Then Gray woke up, grumpy of course, and came down in his jammies with his DogDog and kick board that he’s been carrying around for a month.

We ended up adding in some peanut butter chips and they loved having little tastes of everything!

I’ve been trying HARD lately to pick up my camera and capture our everyday even in the midst of busy season for me. It feels like work when I grab it but I’m NEVER upset that I took extra photos. When it’s my kids the work part slips away and the joy of my passion comes back! Even in low-light high-ISO conditions!

the tire swing.

Everyone had a dream for their first house did’t they? Or is it just me? When I was little I never had a white picket fence in my dream, for me it was a huge wrap-around front porch and a tire swing from the big tree in the front yard. Neighbors would gather and kids would play. Perfection.

In our tiny little house we’re missing the front porch (someday, someday) but this weekend Chris helped me get my tire swing!

It is quite possibly the BIGGEST tire used for a tire swing ever but the kind man at the tire store gave it to me for free so I wasn’t going to argue! He said he thought this tire would fit the most kids and well, I think he was right! So far we’ve gotten three on there!

And even without the front porch it attracted our favorite neighbors!

The kids LOVE it! And if I wasn’t afraid I would break the branch I would swing on that thing all day! It makes me SO happy I can’t even describe it!

that girl.

Today my mom gave me the gift of 4 uninterrupted hours of alone time at my house after our session.

And you know who showed up?

That girl.

The one that could spend an entire day crafting, watching her favorite shows, wearing sweat pants and a hoodie with her hair pulled up on the top of her head. The one that drinks soda while eating pretzels. The one that jumps from project to project so happy to just create something. The one that sits cross legged on the floor for hours before getting uncomfortable. The one who had entire days to herself to do whatever she wanted.

In the last three hours I’ve been doing a ton of random things. All making me insanely happy. And as I was sitting on the floor doing a totally random and out of the blue craft project I realized that THIS is the girl Chris married, the one that’s all but disappeared. This is the girl I miss when I’m busy working and cooking dinners, wiping noses and sweeping floors.

She doesn’t show up often but MAN I like her when she does.

Thanks for the time mom! I’ve gotten our session from today uploaded and partially edited, Halloween cards for Kuhn Construction made and a new fall “A” created for our front door. And I still have an hour left!

the fort.

Chris “built” a fort in the backyard for the kids last weekend and they LOVE it. Somehow he put straps around three trees and then cut left over bead board to make the roof and walls. It kind of cracks me up because it’s SO hoosier!

I’m not sure if I’m hoping it will collapse in the rain so we have to trash it… or if I hope we figure out a way to make it more permanent! The kids just LOVE it so we’ll see!

Where I realize I can make the decision everyday to either be a good mom or a crappy one.

Last night I was awake from 3am-4:30am sneezing and blowing my nose and coughing. Just a cold but an annoying one! Anyway, so I was lying there awake trying to make my nose quit running and had all this random time to think. And my mind went straight to my kids. But not the “oh my kids are awesome” thoughts or even the “I’m so worried about this one b/c of this” thoughts. No, I started thinking about what a sucktastic mom I’ve been lately. Lately being the last year or so. Maybe longer.

You see, I’m a workaholic. Which is good I guess since I work two jobs! But it means that since launching Jodified about 4 years ago I’ve been obsessed with work. The difference is that back then I had three very little children so I was still forced to be a good mom. They needed me. ALL. THE. TIME. But the last year or so? Not so much.

And LISTEN. I am NOT complaining. Three little kids is HARD. HARD AS HELL.

So you know what’s funny? The easier my kids get, the worse I get as a mom. Now they’ll go outside and play without me or in the playroom or the art room or they LOVE when I let them watch unlimited tv. They get along really well and play together great most of the time (I know I’m pretty lucky here) so they leave me alone. Which means on a day like yesterday, when even Bailey had a half-day for teacher meetings, I could force them all to lay down and they did, for TWO hours. And I worked. Then Bailey woke up and I said she could watch tv. So she did, and I worked, alone in my room. Then Parker and Gray woke up and for the next two hours they played together while I worked with the door to my room shut.

So last night I was laying awake sneezing and thinking about how something needs to change. I can’t take advantage of the fact that my kids are ABLE to play alone. It doesn’t mean they SHOULD always play alone. It doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have hours of intentional time with them, or at least several minutes during a busy day. I don’t want to lose this time. They’re not babies anymore and I can securely look back on their babyhood and know I was a good+intentional mom. Because I was. I was the queen of art projects and nature walks and exploring the city with three small kids (don’t hear me say I was perfect, b/c OH how I wasn’t, but I was intentional b/c I had to be!). But this is almost an even more important stage and between my two jobs and all the stress, I’m missing it. I’m so afraid I’m going to look back on their childhood and just not remember much of it. Because while they were out exploring and playing and laughing and just being kids, I’m inside holed up with my computer trying to answer emails I’m a week behind on or package orders that were due out weeks ago or edit photos that are due the next day.

Around 4am I had formed a plan for today because the thought that hit me somewhere between sneezes was that EVERY DAY IS A DO-OVER. Every single day God gives us a chance to get it right. Every. Single. Day. It’s a gift He gives us really. And luckily, my kids, while KIDS, are still pretty little. And I kept thinking that if I make a change today, and every day here on out (because I know I’m going to have days where I fail miserably), that they might not remember the utter chaos and lack of Mommy-time they had this last year.

I still had to work and the kids had school but in the morning it was small things I tried harder to do. Like not yelling to make them hurry up and turning the radio off in the car while Gray talked incessantly on the way to Terri’s. I decided to park and get out to pick-up Bailey instead of waiting in the car pool line. I took just her to the grocery store with me and let her push the cart all by herself. When we got home I unloaded the groceries, chatted with Terri and then the kids and I headed outside. My plan was to take a walk to the local park but the kids wanted to ride bikes. So we did. And 10 minutes in Bailey asked to take her training wheels off. Of course I didn’t have the right tools so we walked down, introduced ourselves to a neighbor I hadn’t met yet, got his help and well, I TAUGHT HER HOW TO RIDE A TWO WHEELER!

Yep! Just like that! Something I thought about ALL summer and never made the time to do. Something she’s been BEGGING us to help her with for MONTHS. Something that took her no more than 10 minutes to master!

She is SO proud! Oh my gosh! When she did it the first time without my help the smile on her face could have brought world peace. I haven’t seen her more excited or PROUD of herself I don’t think! It was awesome.

And all because I realized I could hit the stop button on the way I was parenting, or NOT parenting, and get a do-over. A new day. A day to get more things right than wrong.

I’m not sure she’ll remember today, (I actually remember, vaguely, my first trip on a two-wheeler) but I hope she does. And if she doesn’t at least I will. Because it will forever be the day I took back my life as a mom. The day I realized it’s ok to admit to sucking and start again.

Did I have an entire day with my kids? Nope. We had 45 minutes in front of our house. I’m a working mom. But MAN it was a good 45 minutes!

(Parker’s skirt riding up and her undies sticking out had me laughing out loud!)

(I made her change!)

(Ignore the nearly flat tires!)

(I love her concentration)

When 5pm rolled around we went inside and I let the kids help with dinner. Something I NEVER do. Then we ate together, had baths and I read. We laid together on my bed and I started reading the chapter book they’ve been wanting me to read.

It was glorious.

And I still got all my work done.

Are there dishes in the sink and crumbs on the floor and dirty clothes everywhere? Totally.

But was I a good mom today? Damn straight I was!

And I hope to do it again tomorrow!

How I spent my birthday!

Oh man. Yesterday was all kinds of awesome. All kinds of exhausting too, but so so good. I do wish I had built in some kind of REST/ME/ALONE time but the kids had I had a blast and I wouldn’t have traded it for the world! And I can always have alone time later right?

In list form…

1. Bought a gift card to 7-Eleven for C’s dad, Bubba and dropped it off at his house before he left for the day at 7am b/c he always stops there on his way to work for a soda (he and I are very much alike!). The kids LOVED sneaking into the Allen’s garage so early! I kind of hated having to leave the house at 6:30am! :)

2. We bought an extra $5 gift card at 7-Eleven and left it with the cashier for someone that might need a pick-me-up.

3. We’ve been getting the Allen’s magazine’s since we changed our address and Terri’s been missing them! So I saved up a bunch, bought a few extras and we left those in her car as a surprise.

I love this shot of the girls running back out of their garage! They were SO sneaky!

4. My mom’s been really sick so we bought tea, cough drops and a good candle as a little get well gift.

5. We stopped at Bread Co to bring my dad a coffee (my parents made me breakfast!).

6. We bought a gift card at Bread Co to leave with the cashier.

7. Gray and I played soccer together on the trampoline, just me and him.

8. Bailey and I read on my bed together, just me and her.

9. Parker got to pick out an art project at YUCANDO (we’ll actually do it Saturday morning).

10. We took special snacks to Grayson’s class.

11. We sent special snacks to Bailey’s class with our friend’s since I let her skip school AND she took suckers to class this morning.

12. We made special notes and put them on 32 different cars. We started in the morning at church and ended after dinner with the Allen’s… watching Bill and Terri help the kids was awesome!

The notes said things like…enjoy this day, have a great day, sometimes you just have to twirl, have a blessed day, etc. Simple stuff!

13. & 14. & 15. I gave Kim, Angie and our neighbors FREE family sessions (just from me not from Fresh Art!)… all three families haven’t had photos taken in years and since they are my dearest friends, well, they deserve them!

The Weiss family session is Oct 23rd FYI! Watch the Fresh Art blog for that one! HA!

16. We gave snacks to Parker’s class AND I helped with her field trip to the pumpkin patch.

17. We bought a big bag of Honey Crisp apples for our elderly neighbor who’s battling cancer right now.

18. I wrote an actual letter and mailed it to my sister.

19. We put together a get well care package for our cousin, McKenna, who’s been really sick.

20. We bought Daddy lunch and delivered it to his school.

21. We bought a gift certificate at the grocery store for $10 and left it with the cashier.

22. We left a little bag of candy and a note for our mailman.

23. I put together some blank gift cards to give our kid’s choir director tonight (little blank notes she can use to tie to packages).

24. & 25. We gave each of the girl’s soccer coaches little treats.

26. I made a Halloween card for Berta (my Grandma’s best friend and my only “grandma” left) and mailed it.

27. I made a “dump cake” for my friend Adriane to take to her weekly family dinner with her in-laws.

28. We put quarters on the soda machine at our church.

29. We bought some little fall note paper and delivered it to the secretary at C’s school… to make taking message a little more fun!

30. We put together a care package for my nieces, Sam and Avery, with fun Halloween stuff.

31. I made a special card for my birthday twin, Donna. To be delivered when she gets back in town.

32. We brought lunch to my best friend Angie.


It was an incredible day. Watching my kids help was the best part. Seeing people smile was a close second! Just spending the day doing little things for so many people I love was awesome. Mixing up random acts of kindness with not-so random acts made the day even better!

In the midst of it all I got to have a quick breakfast with my parents, lunch with my parents, dinner with the Allen’s (NO COOKING ALL DAY!), I got to see my three closest friends (and receive awesome gifts!) and spend the day with my kids! I didn’t get to see Chris at all because he got home late and went straight to bed (we’re both battling a chest cold) but hopefully we’ll have some good time together this weekend. All in all I couldn’t have asked for a better day!

I even made my dad take a few shots of me and the kids!

The first one cracks me up and the last one is my favorite!

(THIS was my original inspiration!)