family fun IRL kids motherhood

A Snapshot of the School Year So Far

The kids’ school pictures came in the other day and I cannot stop staring at them. When I was a kid, I feel like most school pictures looked pretty terrible and awkward. Or maybe that was just me? This is not the case these days, at least at my kids’ school. The photographer s so freaking talented and  had the genius idea of taking the pictures outside in natural lighting. Life changing stuff.

Anyway, I thought I’d share their pictures and tell you a little bit about what they are doing in school because I know you guys are deeply invested in the lives of my children like that.

My daughter, BB, started fourth grade this year. In a lot of ways, she’s still my little girly who loves cuddles and thinks I’m basically the coolest person ever. She still loves it when I walk to class with her and is always hoping I’ll be volunteering in the class that day.

She is getting more and more grown up though also.  She loves extra credit reports for fun. Sometimes she asks me to take her to the library to check out a handful of books about seahorses or otters so that she can make a report for her teacher for fun. I can’t wrap my mind around this but I’m not going to tell her no.

Some highlights from the school year so far: This month her class read Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink together. They took a field trip to a golf course where they learned how to play foot golf – a cross between soccer and golf. They did science experiments on paper towels to see which ones were the most absorbent. She’s continuing piano lessons this year and turning into a real piano Rockstar. Next month she will be joining the school’s Spirit Squad.

A letter from BB about her class’s paper towel experiments

MM started 7th grade this year which feels impossible basically. How are there only two years left until high school? Can someone check my math and confirm? Also how is my kid almost as tall as me now?

Seventh grade is very different from fourth. I basically never volunteer directly in his classroom and I think he’s probably good with that. Don’t get me wrong – we’re buddies at home. But he appreciates that separation between home life and class life. I’m mostly okay with this.

This month his class read Day of Tears by Julius Lester. They have been learning about the civil war and a bunch of other stuff that I don’t hear much about because he’s self sufficient in the homework department these days. He is participating in Forensics after school which has nothing to do with studying bones apparently and is more like public speaking. He’s working on reciting a passage from Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins, which is basically his favorite book. Add to this karate classes three times a week and piano lessons on Tuesdays and my kid is one busy bee!

Want to take a serious walk down memory lane? Here are some school pictures from years past.


books & reading top 5 tuesday

Top 5 Cozy Autumn Reads.


I’ve been living that autumn life for almost a month now, with the kids back to school, but the calendar recently announced the official start to the season. Now I can drink my Pumpkin Spice Latte without reservation. #basiciknow

This week’s prompt for Top 5 Tuesday, hosted by Shanah @ Bionic Bookworm, is cozy fall reads. I’m digging deep into my reading archives today with five great book recommendations that are perfect for curling up under a blanket with a hot cup of the cozy autumn beverage of your choice.

29429321Circling the Sun by Paula McClain | This is a bit of historical fiction about the life of Beryl Markham, who moves from England to Kenya as a child. Beryl lead such a fascinating life, almost like several lives in one, and this book covers a lot of time. You’ll get to experience her childhood in Kenya, her teenage and young adult years, love and loss, a lot of moves and major life changes. Pair it with Karen Dinesen’s Out of Africa (she features prominently in the story) and Markham’s own memoir, West With the Night.

28289663And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie | Fall is a great time to curl up with a mystery and Agatha Christie pretty much reigns supreme in the world of Mystery Books. This one is a doozy that will keep you guessing until the end. It centers around a group of ten people who all find themselves whisked off to a private island for their own various reasons to meet with the eccentric millionaire host who is… no where to be found. It quickly turns into a murder mystery with a constantly changing list of suspects and victims.

29364480The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan | I think most of Colgan’s books would be a fitting read for the fall, but this one continues to be my favorite. This falls more in line with a sweet love story than a serious piece of literature. This one is for when your brain is so full of fall To Do lists and busy schedules that you need something to relax into. Curl up with this one and enjoy a sweet love story, wanderlust for days, a little character growth and a lot of bookish references and bookworm scenarios we can all relate to.

2728527The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer | I’m seeing this book pop up with regularity again after the release of the Netflix movie based on the book. I read this with my book club a million years ago and was blown away by it. We all pretty much wanted to hop a plane to Guernsey after reading this. It’s a love letter to books and a sweeping story that shows the lingering effects of war and how it changes the lives of people in so many ways. I sobbed my way through the Netflix movie recently and loved that as well – it’s been just long enough since reading the book that it almost felt like experiencing it for the first time all over again.

61XCzUtRRQL._SX355_BO1,204,203,200_Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery | I think the fall is a great time to turn to classics and there are a lot of great ones to choose from, but Anne of Green Gables seems particularly well suited to autumn as she has such an appreciation for the seasons. Montgomery paints some beautiful visuals through the eyes of Anne Shirley. If you haven’t read the series yet, it’s definitely not too late to start. I read these books for the first time as an adult and I have increasing appreciation for them as my daughter gets older and I see the stories through the eyes of a mother as well as a girl. This one has also been adapted by Netflix and while I love the adaptation, I do have to stress that it’s almost more ‘loosely based on’ – there are a lot of new and changed elements that Anne purists could likely take issue with.

What kinds of books do you like to read in the fall?

family fun

5 things for Friday.

It’s Friday and that means that my brain is slowly falling into weekend mode. It’s been a busy week of Septembering and I think I’ve earned some downtime this week – how about you?

Before I fully slip into Weekend Jen Mode, here are 5 things I kept meaning to share with you:

  • The new season of Doctor Who is fast approaching. Anybody else unreasonably excited?
  • I basically want all of these things. #bookwormlife
  • 5 one pot pasta recipes for busy nights
  • The Real Bob Ross – I’m a Joy of Painting fangirl right now and proud of it.
  • This letter about paper towels that my daughter wrote for me at school:
What paper towel brand do you buy?
blog-related tag

I can’t help it if I’m Flawesome! | blog award


I was nominated by the Not-so Modern Girl for the Flawesome Award. This award was created by Sophia Ismaa. She wants to encourage us to celebrate our flaws and turn them into strengths.

How often do we forget that our weaknesses can be a strength? Our flaws make us human, our flaws tell us more about who we are, and in turn we turn those flaws into awesome strengths. In short, our flaws make us #flawesome.” – Sophia Ismaa

I can definitely get behind this. I’m definitely guilty of being my own worst critic and sometimes it’s easy to fall into the trap of only ragging on ourselves and not remembering to build ourselves up, too. We shouldn’t wait for external compliments and praise – sometimes you have to be your own cheerleader, even when you feel like you don’t deserve it. And maybe especially when you feel like you don’t deserve it.

Thanks for nominating me, Not-so Modern Girl. I think you’re Flawesome, too! 😉


  1. Link back to the creator – Sophia Ismaa Writes
  2. Display the award
  3. List 3 flaws and turn it into a strength
  4. Tag 10 other people

Three Ways In Which I Am Flawesome:

  1. I’m a conflict avoider and don’t like choosing sides. | I am very good at seeing both sides to a situation. In a world with so much conflict and people shouting from different sides of a platform, I think it’s important to have people that can mediate a situation – who can see both sides to a story and calmly take in information from both sides and come to a compromise. Sometimes I feel like the only moderate person in the room, especially where politics is concerned. But I also pride myself on being able to adapt to different situations and take in new information and while sometimes avoiding conflict means not dealing with a situation, it also means not seeking out drama and helping situations find a resolution. I create happy places wherever possible.
  2. I worry too much | I am organized and good at preparing for a worst case scenario. If you say, “What’s the worst that could happen?” you should brace yourself for a long list from me. Sometimes this means that my brain is filled with worries and anxiety (okay fine, most of the time) but I can also turn this into a Super Power of being prepared for anything. I’ve thought of all of the ways that a kid could hurt themselves on a slide. I’ve also thought of every issue we might need to deal with on a road trip and prepped for the trip to the Nth degree with itineraries, maps, printouts of hotel reservations, lists of places we want to see, emergency contacts and more. Maybe we’ll never need all of these things, but I sleep easier knowing that we are prepared.
  3. I’m easily distracted | I have a lot of different interests. Just writing this post, I’ve found myself checking facebook and my email, getting distracted while linking to other blogs, wanting to read more of their posts, texting friends, checking my calendar and more. This is pretty par for the course for me. You should see how long it takes me to drink my coffee. But I guess it’s also proof that I am living a full life, with lots of interests and plenty of obligations and people that fill my day. And the fact that I finish this post at all will be a testament to my ability to finish a task even when there are a million other balls up in the air at the same time.

Okay, time to nominate 10 Flawesome people:

Randomly Jess | That’s What She Read | Really, Are You Serious? | Something To Ponder About | Beach Bookworm | Ex Libris Kate | Opinionated Book Lover | Birdie Bookworm | The Writing Hufflepuff | Life Should Be Lit

No worries if you don’t participate in blog tags and awards. Whether you decide to participate or not, I think you are awesome, flaws and all. Thanks again to Not-so Modern Girl for nominating me.

books & reading family fun top 5 tuesday

Top 5 | Fantasy Series To Get Carried Away With

This week’s Top 5 Tuesday theme is fantasy books, which is one of my favorite genres. I thought I would specifically highlight 5 of my favorite fantasy series. Because the only thing better than a great book is more great books, amiright?

Firstly, the required reading:

51MIi4p2YyL._SX418_BO1,204,203,200_Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

I am sure you are well acquainted with Harry Potter, even if you haven’t read the books. But if you haven’t read them – I really do encourage you to do so. There is so much world building, so much adventure, characters to fall in love with and a rich story to immerse yourself in.

I read these as a young adult and I’ve been rereading them with my kids and it’s every bit as enjoyable as the first time, if not more so. I find I’m getting to know the adults of the HP Universe in a way that I didn’t the first time I read the books.

If you loved Mulan, you’ll want to read:

8248439Alanna, The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce

Alanna desperately wants to be a knight, but because she’s a girl it’s not allowed. She trades places with her brother who decidedly does not want to be a knight, disguises herself as Alan of Trebond, and the adventure begins. This series boasts: Brave knights, a world of magic, sword fighting, romance.

This is a series that will lead you down a rabbit hole of yet more books. Pierce has written a massive amount of books and most of them seem to connect to each other in some way, almost two dozen of them take place in the same world as Alanna. I also really loved the books about Alanna’s daughter, starting with Trickster’s Choice but I recommend reading the Alanna books first because spoilers.

For a little more Steampunk in your Fantasy:

book one of the Lunar ChroniclesCinder by Marissa Meyer – You guys knew this one was coming right? I couldn’t write a post about fantasy novels and not mention The Lunar Chronicles. If you haven’t heard my spiel before, this is the sci fi / fantasy / cyborg / fairy tale retelling that you didn’t know you were waiting for. It’s first in a hugely popular series – each book taking on a different fairy tale and adding to the story as a whole. It will take up serious chunks of your life because it’s immensely bingeable and you will lose hours to reading.

This is one of those books that was recommended to me for ages before I gave in and read it because the whole “cyborg Cinderella” bit seemed a bit reaching to me – but it has quickly become a Favorite Book Series Ever in my life. So if you are still on the fence, I’m going to go ahead and urge you one more time. SO WORTH IT.

For When You Binged The Lunar Chronicles and Need More Retellings:

22840421My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows and Brodi Ashton

There are only two books in this “series” so far with at least one more on the way. I’m secretely hoping that the Lady Janies never stop writing together because their first two books are so ridiculously good.

This is sort of historical fiction, but there is so much fantasy that it almost needs a new genre. A retelling of Lady Jane Grey that turns history on its head in the best way. There is romance, political intrigue, magic, horses falling in love, adventure, laughter and seriously – just good stuff.

This is another book that is hard to explain without having you raise your eyebrows at me in suspicion. Which kind of makes me love it even more.

For When You Want To Live Inside a Book Forever Ever…

107390.jpgThe Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

I might have saved the strangest for last. This is certainly the series that most frequently makes my head spin with world building details, wacky realities, an increasingly massive list of characters and a world where the rules seem to change all the time. Don’t get comfortable but do tuck into a terrific series.

It all begins with our heroine, Thursday Next, who lives in a 1985 Great Britain where things like time travel and cloning are all par for the course. Thursday Next finds herself quite literally stuck in a book, Jane Eyre of course, and things only get weirder from there.

Okay, that’s my list – what would be on yours? Let me know if you are linking up with Bionic Bookworm’s Top 5 Tuesday also!

books & reading quick lit reviews

What I’ve Been Reading | September

I’ve had a somewhat slow burning month of reading, if we’re going to be honest. I seem to be flitting from book to book quite a bit, especially on my Kindle where I have finished nothing for ages. But I did finish two books on my nightstand in the past month or so and they were both excellent.

Here are the books I’ve finished:

51cZnaZEEfL._SY346_My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi MeadowsFinished 8/16 – The retelling of Jane Eyre that you never knew was missing from your life. I loved this as thoroughly as their last book and was frankly disappointed when it ended. Can I demand a sequel? 5 stars (full review)

13316328The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper FfordeFinished 9/12 – I continue to love Fforde’s world building. This was a fast paced beginning to a new series, this time geared towards a more Middle Reader / YA crowd – but he’s not dumbing it down for the kiddos. I really enjoyed it and plan to read the next one. 4 stars

Right Now I’m Reading:

I picked up a copy of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman at a used bookstore and I’ve just started to tiptoe into this story. I’ve been looking forward to reading this one for awhile so I’m psyched to finally be getting to it.

I’m also still reading Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham on my Kindle, but it’s been slightly tossed to the backburner in favor of I’d Rather Be Reading, Anne Bogel’s new book. I’m enjoying both but not making much progress with either because I haven’t firmly decided which one I’m actually reading right now. Also I’ve been concentrating more on writing during the day so I haven’t been reading on my Kindle as much anyway. I feel like this is sort of a good thing though, as it means I am writing more.

I’m linking up with Anne @ Modern Mrs. Darcy to talk about the books I’ve read this month and what I’m reading now. Let me know if you are participating also and I’ll come check out your post!

What are you reading right now?

what I'm into Lately

6 things I’m loving in September.

I am feeling pretty deep into the throes of September right now. School has been back in session for almost a month now (!!!) and life is starting to fill up with all of the things. Homework, school lunches, after school clubs, school day volunteering (because I have to protect my Super Mom Reputation and also because I not-so-secretly love it).

Add in all of the other things like vet appointments, oil changes and grocery shopping; and the Self Care Goals like hitting the gym regularly, getting in regular writing time at favorite coffee shops and squeezing in lunch dates with my husband. The end result has been pretty hectic days – it’s filled with good stuff, but it’s a LOT of stuff. And after the slow burning days of summer, it can be a hard adjustment.

I’m taking a page from Anne @ Modern Mrs. Darcy (you know, like always) today and sharing some of the things that I’m loving right now in the midst of this busy season, when I kind of want to go talk to a chocolate cake in a dark room for a minute.

  • A great pedicure – My good friend Laura and I have accidentally created a wonderful tradition of getting pedicures together at the beginning of the school year. It’s a nice chance to reconnect after a busy summer and celebrate the return to our regularly scheduled fall lives. And I’ve discovered since then that I love having red toe nails! I almost never paint my finger nails, but there’s something about red toe nails makes me feel like I can rule the world!
  • London Fogs – I’m trying to limit the number of coffee drinks in my life because I hate having nice things or something. I discovered London Fogs maybe a year ago – it’s basically a chai latte but it’s made with Earl Grey tea instead of chai tea. It’s magical and soothing and makes a gloomy day feel a little cozier. It’s been a good substitute for mornings when I still need a latte style indulgence, but maybe with less caffeine. PS: for hot days, I’m digging iced green tea right now.
  • My new purse and lanyard – I mentioned in my last post that I’ve been wearing a tiny cross body bag to hold a few every day essentials. This teamed with a lanyard for my keys (which has apparently become the telltale sound / sign that mom is coming according to my kids) seems to be the magical button answer to not being burdened with a giant heavy bag. I’m trying to cut down on the amount of stuff that I have to carry everywhere and have a little minimalist zen vibe about me. It also makes up for the lack of pockets in my life. #girlproblems
  • This cute Cactus pen! I got this adorable little pen in an Owl Crate a few months ago and it has quickly become my favorite pen. It was good timing, too, because I recently decided that my nice fountain pens really need to start living at home because they don’t seem to like living in my purse. I was really surprised at how nicely this pen writes and the little cactus topper makes me smile every. time. Does anyone else take their pen situation way too seriously?
  • Listening to classical music while I write – So I mentioned making regular writing time for myself during the week. I’ve been taking my laptop to local coffee shops and trying to get in at least an hour of creative writing – either a great blog post or working on a current writing project (of which I have a couple right now). The big problem that I ran up against initially is that I’m very easily driven to distraction. Coffee shops are seriously noisy sometimes between the espresso machines, tables of talking people and adorable children and whatever background music they’ve put on. It’s stuff that I normally love about a coffee shop except apparently when I’m writing. I knew that listening to my own music collection on headphones wouldn’t work either – I’d just find myself rocking out to some good jams and forgetting what I was doing. So after looking up writing background music ideas, I went to Amazon and found this CD by Laura Sullivan called Timeless: The Most Relaxing Classical Piano Music Ever. The title is very accurate and also kind of doesn’t do it justice. It’s seriously terrific writing music and I’ve found myself turning it on while the kids do homework or sometimes when what’s on the radio is feeling extra meh. I’m not a big Classical Music fan tbh, but I love this CD and it’s definitely doing the trick.
  • Watching The Joy of Painting with a cup of coffee in the morning – I know, I’m seriously late to the party. I never watched this show growing up because I was not remotely the target audience. But I put it on at a whim the other morning while the kids were finishing breakfast and quickly found myself in a state of zen. He is the most relaxing man on the planet and his show was way better than I expected. By the end of the half hour, my husband and kids had joined me in the living room and we were all enamored and it was quickly decided that this is Our New Thing. I’m having a little Creative Inspiration moment right now which is definitely helping to feed into my interest in the show, but honestly it’s half inspiration and half therapy. I can be in the worst mood in the morning and five minutes into streaming an episode of Bob Ross painting a waterfall and I’m feeling one million percent chill, inspired and Best Version of Me. What better way to start your morning? Pro tip: It’s streaming on Amazon Prime and Hulu but Amazon Prime has WAY more episodes to watch.

What are you loving right now?

family fun

What are you carrying (that you don’t need to be)?

This post is really about my new purse and also a little bit about the lack of pockets in my life. But I’m hoping to find a metaphor somewhere in here about personal baggage and we’ll all learn and grow from it. Shall we begin?

I don’t know about you – but the lack of pockets in my life is becoming an epidemic. It started with that one cute pair that I bought in spite of myself – I knew the lack of pockets was going to be a problem, but I figured one pair wouldn’t hurt. I’d keep my phone in my purse that one day and it wouldn’t be a big deal. But, my friends, it was a slippery slope. I don’t know if it was my standards that slipped or the market – the other day I was looking through my jeans for the fall and noticed that all but one of them are void of front pockets. And back pockets are pretty much only good for your boyfriend putting his hand on your bum.

And real talk: that one pair of jeans with pockets… it’s a very small pocket. My phone barely fits inside. If I stand up too fast, the phone could very likely fall right out. 

Why do we put up with this? Why do men get ten thousand deep dish cargo pockets and we’re saddled with sewn shut fake pockets or tiny little almost pockets? Why are we being forced to carry all of our things in a bag?

This is not a new problem. But it’s one I’m just starting to deal with. I’m just starting to learn whether my ring tone is loud enough to hear from my purse. Or that sometimes I need to turn my volume ON so that my ring tone will do anything at all. When my phone is in my pocket, the vibration is enough and my delicate ears do not need to be involved yet. Meetings don’t need to be disturbed. It’s the little things.

I’ve been thinking lately about what things need to be on my person 24/7. When the kids were younger, it seemed like a longer list. Diapers, wipes, snacks, change of clothes, Band-aids, Pope hat, vestments. As they’ve gotten older, the list of necessary items gets smaller. They start carrying their own baggage and I’m pretty much only responsible for mine now. But I have a tendency to fill whatever vessel I’m given. Like an Apocalypse Prepper, I can think of a lot of things that might be useful. But most of those things never actually get used. They just fall into the bag and die there, until I get a new bag and decide to reevaluate what belongs.

Over the summer, I really cut down to the bare minimum – I wanted to float through those summer months like a leaf in the wind. Or a plastic bag perhaps? You can pick the metaphor. Anyway, I pared down to pretty much just my keys and my phone – I added one of those little back of the phone wallet doohickeys that I found in the Dollar Bins at Target. It is pretty much only big enough for two cards and a small bit of cash if I feel like pushing my luck. But for 99% of my days, this was enough. It was liberating. I didn’t want to go back.

But here’s the linchpin of the situation: pockets. For some reason all of my shorts and capris are from the Pre-Pocket Exodus that happened in my wardrobe. When the days got cooler, and pants found their way back into my daily rotation, I had to figure out where the heck to put my phone. I know it lives in my hand a lot of the time, but sometimes I do need to put it down and like drive or eat something or engage in meaningful conversation. Ugh.

My current solution is to wear this tiny little crossbody bag that I found on Amazon. It’s just big enough to hold my phone and a couple other odds and ends. It’s small enough that if I push the limits of those odds and ends, it looks overstuffed and threatens to ‘splode. But that’s kind of what I like about it.

Now I’m trying to really figure out what things belong in the odds and ends category. After a few too many trips to the library or the ATM and realizing that my card for those locations was not in my tiny phone wallet, I decided I needed a backup wallet that could fit in the bag, too. It didn’t need to hold every membership card I’ve ever been given – just the ones I’m likely to need every week or in a pinch. I found an old wallet lying around that had once been deemed far too small to be functional. Now it’s just right. I also added a small notepad and a favorite pen and my checkbook because #adulting. That’s it.

But what about all the things? What if I need a wet wipe or the membership card to that one place I never go to? What if I want to get pretty in the middle of the day, give someone a ponytail, read a book or contemplate world peace? Where does the Pope hat go???  For now those things live in an “emergency bag” that I bring with me when I think life will demand them. But I have to be honest, life almost never demands them. They are literally just unnecessary baggage that I haven’t admitted that I don’t need to carry with me.

Okay – let’s go for that big metaphor. How many of us are holding onto personal baggage that isn’t actually helpful? What are you carrying around in your heart or on your person that isn’t serving you? What can you let go of today?

I can’t tell you what things are ready to leave – or even how to let go of them. That’s a conversation you’ll have to have with your own heart. But sometimes being able to see the baggage – saying it out loud or seeing it in a pile on the kitchen table – makes it easier to let go of.

So let’s look down deep and empty all of the things onto that kitchen table.  See what’s in there that you’ve forgotten you were still carrying. Really shake it all out – all of the dust and bits of debris and take stock of what’s still relevant to your life today. Be thoughtful about what’s allowed back in. Don’t forget to downsize the bag that’s allowed to hold all of it. Be choosy with your heart, your anxieties, and your pockets.

The next step is more fun. Take a walk with a loved one, go out for coffee, or just go about your day and marvel at how much lighter your step is – how freeing it is to carry less. Breathe in the feeling of less. Can you make this your new normal?


Random Questions.

You know I’m a sucker for a blog tag / survey – I saw this list of random questions at Randomly Jess and basically couldn’t help myself. I feel like there are actually some questions on here that I’ve never answered before and it would probably be cruel of me not to fill you in.

What is your favorite flavor of jelly bean? Coincidentally, I brought a bag of jelly beans to my friend’s house last night to eat while watching Book Club with some friends. There were some strong opinions about jelly beans declared last night – licorice seemed to be the most detested, though I don’t mind them in small doses. I really liked the coffee flavored ones. I’m not super picky about jelly beans though – as long as they aren’t grass clippings, boogers, etc.

What’s your favorite Christmas movie? Probably Elf. I love Will Ferrell and Zooey Deschanel and they are both fantastic in this movie – fun for the whole family!

If you could live in any period of history when would it be and why?  This is so hard to answer – because all time periods have their pros and cons you know? It might be fun to go back to the Renaissance or like some period with dashing knights and beautiful frocks and maidens in distress. But that also means short life expectancy and having way less rights and freedoms as a woman. Can I just visit a bunch of time periods but live in the here and now? Basically, I want a TARDIS.

Tell me 10 things I’d see when I walk in your door?

  1. shoes
  2. jackets
  3. the stairs
  4. the exploding TARDIS / Van Gogh painting hanging in our stairway.
  5. the living room – hi tv!
  6. tv trays that seem to be constantly blocking the way to the living room
  7. peek inside and admire our board games
  8. or video games and movies
  9. wow, Jen, there are a lot of blankets on your couches – are you, like, always cold?
  10. the dog crate, possibly with a dog in it

What kind of celebration would there be on a “St. YOU” day? I assume there will be much drinking of coffee, reading of books and watching of Project Runway and Parks and Recreation. Followed by a game night and a glass of Moscato and going to bed early.

Who would play you in a movie about your life? Back when I was skinny, I probably would have said Katie Holmes. Now, I’m not sure. Maybe Katy Mixon from American Housewife? Or Rachel Bloom from Crazy Ex Girlfriend?

Give me three words that describe you. Introverted, overthinking… compassionate?

What was the best birthday you ever had? I have literally no idea. The one where I was born and thus got to be the terrific person I am today?

If you were a ghost where would you haunt? Why? Maybe a library so I can hang out with books even in the afterlife? And like get into fun ghost hijinx and rearrange the books when nobody is looking or magic a book suggestion into someone’s hands? That would be pretty funny. I plan to be a friendly ghost though so people will mostly not mind that I’m there.

What kind of car did you wish you had when you were a kid? What about now? It’s definitely changed over the years – I wanted a Mazda Miata for awhile because my dad had one and I thought it was the coolest car ever. Now it sounds a little small for my purposes as a mom of two and wife of a really tall guy. I dreamed about owning a Subaru for years and that still sounds cool, but I think the odds are better that I’ll get a minivan. Honestly, I just want something with all wheel drive and Bluetooth. I’ll settle for an auxiliary port.

What’s your favorite 1950s rock song?  What? I have no idea.

Which one would you choose to watch: Family Guy or South ParkI guess Family Guy, but I’d much rather watch Futurama or the Simpsons.

In a zombie apocalypse, what would be your weapon of choice?  The one that lets me hide real good? I think I’m banking on having one of those armored cars so I can skedaddle real quick when the zombies come. Or maybe my weapon will be a cure to zombie-ism and I’ll save everyone and we’ll all live happily ever after and not eat people’s brains.

What is your favorite video game? I probably play more games on my phone than actual video games but when I do play video games it’s usually Minecraft, Skyrim or Wii Jeopardy because why yes I am a giant nerd.

What is the worst thing you’ve ever purchased and why was it so bad? Probably our last refrigerator – it was a Samsung and one heck of a lemon. By the end, we were defrosting it manually about once a month. When we finally called a repair guy because my husband had tried every trick in his Electrical Engineer Handbook, the repair guy said he wouldn’t work with Samsung fridges because they are terrible. Ummm… yeah. We know.

Snapchat or Instagram?  Definitely Instagram. I think I’m too old for Snapchat – like I just don’t get it. It feels like joining a conversation as it’s ending on repeat.

What’s a movie you can practically quote from start to finish? Robin Hood: Men in Tights, Mary Martin’s Peter Pan, Frozen, Moana, The Princess Bride…

You look great! What’s your fitness routine? hahahahahahahaha I like to eat things that are bad for me, complain about my weight, eat some more things, go to an exercise class once every three weeks and repeat.