Monday, February 4, 2013


I do apologize for yet another long hiatus in blogland.

But you see, I've been planning a wedding.


Yep, that guy I've mentioned a time or two decided I should be his wife. He proposed on my birthday, and it shocked the crap out of me. Best. Surprise. Ever.

Because most of his family is pregnant, it seems, we're throwing this shindig together in a bit of a hurry. Proposal date: December 1, 2012. Wedding Date: March 16, 2013.


It's been a little insane, but it's coming together. The best part has to be that with every passing day, I receive more and more confirmation that I am marrying my best friend. In a mere 40 days.

I can't freaking wait.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Thanksgiving is kind of my favorite holiday. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Christmas. Christmas music, Christmas lights, Christmas get the idea. But Christmas brings a lot of pressure. I always feel like I MUST feel the Christmas spirit, and every year it has to be like, omgthebestchristmasever.

And it usually isn't. And the day after Christmas is always a bit of a (huge) letdown.

So anyway, that's why Thanksgiving's my favorite. It's always a little hectic, making two stops, and typically eating two dinners. It's impressive, yes. The past two years, I've had this guy tagging along, which is awesome. He's the only person I've ever been with that I've deemed worthy of meeting, and spending any sort of time with my family. Also relevant is the fact that not many people can tolerate/find them amusing.

But he does. Really, he fits right in, THANK GOD. This year, no exception. It had been awhile since I'd seen my family, and even longer since we'd gotten to drink martinis and red wine, play cards, eat dessert, and also bacon. At 10:30pm. It hasn't been the easiest year for many in my family. So we needed it.

We needed the card game, the one my cousin kicks our asses at every single year. We needed the drunk dial we gave him when we called him in Phoenix, on his first holiday away from home.

We needed my stepdad to make us cosmopolitans, so my aunt could stealthily reach across the table to steal sips of mine. We needed the subsequent spills. I needed to laugh so hard I had to leave the room to compose myself long enough to swallow my sip of water.

We really needed to hear words like, "I won't pee on your chair", and have not a single person look remotely perturbed by it.

I woke up with a slight hangover, and a slightly sore throat from the talking over everyone, screaming, howling, singing. But I woke up feeling centered, like I had been put back where I belonged, in that slightly unbalanced puzzle. And really, really thankful. Grateful that the man I love and the family I love just click. And that the people I'm related to are also people I can RELATE to. I know not many people are able to say that.

But I'm really glad I can.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Ups and the Downs.

I'm sitting on the couch of my boyfriend's parents, in Michigan. It's going to be a chilly but gorgeous 50 degrees outside today, and RP and I have already gone for a run, with the sun shining and leaves of every color blowing down from the trees onto the pathway in front of us.

(I make it sound like this run was all peaceful and tranquil and crap like that. Truth be known, there was a lot of panting, sweating, whining on the inside. From me, anyway)

We're here because his big brother is getting married, and we've been having the most fun every just hanging out and being with each other.

So things are good, here.

Meanwhile, near San Diego, CA, my aunt and uncle are sitting in a hospital room, where my step-cousin is in a coma after a car accident. His injuries are extensive, and the prognosis is bleak. Things are devastating, there. I am praying, hard, for his recovery. I am asking God for a miracle. How He chooses to execute that miracle, is up to Him. I don't know if his recovery is possible. If he wakes up, walking and talking tomorrow, I'd be forever grateful. For him, for his child, and his fiancee. And certainly for his parents and his sisters. But if that isn't going to happen, then the miracle I'm praying for is simply this: peace. Peace for those that love him, for they are some of the people I love most in the world. Peace for the doctors who are caring for him, and peace, somehow, for him.

I feel a little guilty, you know? How can I be enjoying my life, thousands of miles away, while my family hurts? I've been wrestling with it, but have found some clarity in the truth that tomorrow is not promised to us. At least, not the tomorrow we've cultivated in our minds. Things can change that swiftly, without warning or a place to hide. I wish (is there a stronger word to use there? I wish I knew it...) it didn't take these tragic reminders, that seem to come so often to so many, to bring that fact to my self-absorbed attention. In the midst of the scary, uncertain, and downright shitty times, it's important to remember that I am still drawing breath and therefore should be present. For the good, for the bad, for the mundane and the extraordinary.

So today, I'm going to sit in the second pew and watch two people commit to each other, come what may. Against the odds, the formidable statistics that plague all of those brave enough to enter into marriage. That, combined with every other damn thing that can go wrong, is kind of terrifying. Okay, completely terrifying. What trumps the fear, thank God, is the insane amount of fun that goes along with hanging out with your best friend for the rest of your life.

And then I'm going to dance. And eat cake. And probably have a couple drinks. And if all goes well, body slam a couple of bridesmaids in pursuit of the bouquet.

Yeah, I'm going to be THAT girl. And hopefully learn to be that woman who doesn't miss the ups for fear of the downs.

"She is clothed with strength and dignity...she can laugh at the days to come"

-Proverbs 31:25

Saturday, October 6, 2012

3 and 1.

...Are the ages of the little munchkins I'm nannying.

I'm approaching ninety days in that role, and it gets a little easier, and a little harder each day. I used to think I understood what being a parent was like. Then, I also used to think parmesan cheese was called "Farmer John" cheese. In both cases, I have been corrected. Trust me on that.

I've taught preschool, and nannied for a 7-year-old and 3-year-old, and worked with special needs children of various ages. Of course, in those experiences, the maximum time I've spent working with any given child is 8 hours. I spend 11 hours a day with these girls, and it is a whole new experience.

Something about the ages of 3 and 1 is just...challenging. There's the little one, who is literally dependent on you for everything, yet mobile and active enough to cause you to break a sweat just keeping her from toppling down the stairs, or eating a spider. Then there's the elder child. She's adorable, very intelligent, and makes you laugh almost constantly with her, um, "unique" take on the world. She can ask for demand what she wants, and throw unbelievable tantrums, looking at you like you planned to starve her when you serve her lunch on the blue plate,as opposed to the pink plate. To her, "But I don't want to" is a perfectly valid reason to avoid picking up toys, go without underwear, or outright refuse to leave the house on her own two feet. When one child is older, it' s easy to believe that she will be more independent. Maybe even helpful. In some ways she might be, but I'm learning quickly that she is no more or less than what she is: THREE. YEARS. OLD.

She can't grasp yet that when her sister is thisclose to falling asleep, it might not be the best time to fling open her bedroom door, bellowing out, "It's not WORKING!" Because in her mind, the malfunctioning iPod is all that matters. She doesn't know that it's not sanitary to bring every toy you own into the bathroom. Or that if you accidentally get poop on your hands, your shirt is not necessarily the preferred method of cleanup.

(when told to wash her hands after that particular incident, she replied: "But they're clean. I wiped them.")

I've definitely had a few minutes of panic, settling into this job. The girls are two years apart, which is exactly the age difference I hope to achieve between my own children. That makes approximately 5 years in a row of diapers, tantrums, toddling, potty drama, etc. Simply put, it's going to be hard.

But here's what I'm learning about kids, especially the little ones.

1. They're not doing it TO YOU, they're just DOING IT. When the 1-year-old systematically drops everything on her high chair tray onto the floor, it's not because she hates you. I think.

2. They will only be this age, this little, this cute, this innocent, for a little while. Let them be.

3. It's worth it. These children aren't even mine, and after a day of cleaning up their dishes, their poop, their puke, and their bedrooms, mostly-toothless smiles and sweet hugs remind me that what I'm doing is important. I get to LOVE them, and get PAID for it. That's a blessing, make no mistake.

So is hearing things like this: "I love you. But also, I love the's SO beautiful"

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Change.

No, I'm not going through menopause, but I do appreciate the concern. Perhaps I should have given more thought to the title of this post.

Let's see...housekeeping first:

- No need to follow me on Twitter. Turns out I forget to tweet. And I still don't get it.

Ok, now that that's out of the way, back to change.

There was once a time in my life (we'll call it kindergarten through college)when I couldn't stand the coming of the fall. Winter was tolerable in its arrival, because where I live in the PNW, once the leaves are off the trees, there really isn't a remarkable difference between autumn and winter, except that winter suffers from (aside from Christmas) a depressing lack of fun holidays. So, the two sort of blend into each other, lasting for about six or seven months. Then "spring" arrives, with its torrential downpours and near-constant sogginess, but with a few teasers of the bright, bright, sun-shiny days to come. And summer, of course, has always been welcome around here, once it finally makes an appearance.

But I really hated the fall. As a kid, it signified the halting of staying up late, going to camp, playing outside, talking on the phone for hours each night on my long-neglected backyard swingset (and what could we have POSSIBLY needed to discuss? What did eleven-year-old girls have to say that could occupy entire evenings?) and smelling faintly of sunscreen, seemingly all the time. As a teenager, it meant roughly the same, but without the camp and factoring in the drudgery promised us by another year of high school. One particular year before starting college, fall meant blessed separation from the boy who'd already broken my heart. My summer romance hadn't quite lasted to Labor Day, but watching the seasons change on the University of Washington campus for the first time, I was forced to admit that it was over. To this woman, it was God keeping me safe/sane. To that girl, though, it was torture.

In recent years, though, things have changed a bit. I worked a job that kept me insanely busy and stressed all summer long, so the season changing became somewhat of a relief. I learned to recognize how stunning a crisp, sunny morning can be, with red and orange leaves everywhere. I'm learning to appreciate throwing on my college sweatshirt, and then my Seahawks t-shirt, and camping out on the couch, convinced that if I scream loud enough at the television, my team won't blow it this week. Fall brings Halloween, and carving pumpkins. Also worth mentioning, insisting that my boyfriend and I go to a pumpkin patch to procure said pumpkins. Thanksgiving, boots, and scarves also get major credit this time of year.

It's possible that this insight has come with age (or, more likely, therapy) but maybe all along the changing season hasn't been to blame, but my own unwillingness to accept the changes in my life that always seem to come with it. I try not to make it a secret on this blog that I am a Christian. A bumbling, constantly failing one, but a Christian nonetheless. I am constantly humbled by God's way of ever so gently reminding me, when I start to judge others, that I am still a complete and utter disaster. But He looks at me still, with eyes that see what can be, and says "I can work with that."

And He is, right now. I'm finding it inspiring and sweet that change in the season is once again bringing change--but this change isn't so much in my life as it is in ME. I have a lot of work to do before I "get there", it's going to take time and patience, only one of which I have in any great quantity.

But I'll get there. In boots and a scarf. And possibly holding a Pumpkin Spice Latte.

Happy Fall, Everyone!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Tweet, tweet.

So, yeah. I'm now on Twitter. I've yet to figure out how it works, but you can follow me, and receive updates on my life, or at least my sarcastic commentary on its events, in real time. Follow me? @20somethingjess


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Today, my crazy, lovely family is gathering to celebrate. My grandparents have been married for 60 years.

We'll all be aware that time like this is precious. We'll all be aware that my grandpa may not see another anniversary. But we won't dwell on it, or worry about it. Not today. Today is all about honoring two people who've loved each other fiercely through six children and a world that has changed around them in immeasurable, irreversible ways. But they have made the "we" in their world a constant. And it will remain that way for them, and for me, long after they're gone.

And I'm thankful. And let's be honest, pretty freakin' impressed.