So happy

Dec 04

So happy

This morning I woke up in my own bed.  One by one, my girls made their way into my room and snuggled into me as if I had never been away at all.  There was no great fanfare for my homecoming yesterday.  There didn’t need to be.  Home is a gift.  Brad and I have made our house a home, and I love it.

There was a clean house.

There was a meal delivered.

There was a lengthy and thorough assessment of just how wiggle-y that loose tooth is.

There was ransacking of the closet to find the big-girl-panties with monkey’s on them so that she can get on the potty train.

There was chatter, and giggles, and noises of happy chaos.  And there were moments of tantrum, frustration, and crocodile tears.  It’s all mixed up together, and it. is. fabulous.

It’s bittersweet to leave my parent’s house: my refuge.  All my needs are met before I think to know them when I am home with them.

It is sad today to say good-bye to SuperGramma after a long, love-filled month of memory-making and selfless service to our family.  We are lucky to have her.

Today as I was moving carseats from SuperGramma’s carseat to my car, Greta got out the sidewalk chalk.  I’m reveling in the mild temperature today, the artwork from my wee one, my energy swinging upward, and the upcoming days of Normal Mommy Jen.

photo-6 copy

How can sidewalk chalk art in December make me this happy?

But it does.

So happy.

I love my life; thank you to everyone who has stepped in to help us during this season of hardship.

**I have a bajillion unread/unanswered emails.  If you’ve reached out to me, I will get back to you soon as soon as I can.  Sorry, and thanks for your patience!

**I’m wanting to make digital photobooks for Christmas before my children move out and I am an empty nester, but I am wildly inefficient.  Are there any tricks?  Am I missing something or do they take forever for everyone?  I’m happy with how my Australia Shutterfly one looks, but I have a heinous amount of hours logged in it.  

**I’m thinking about taking Maren on a Mommy-Daugther trip the week of March 30.  What would be a prime destination for me and me almost-7-year-old?  (In my Dreaming post, I said I wanted to take her to some national parks.  After research, I don’t think that is the best idea for this particular window of opportunity.)  Where should we go?


  1. Check out white sulfur springs…it’s a Christian place and a huge hit with my family

  2. Bring the girls up to Columbus! We have the zoo, which is awesome, Cosi, and really just tons of fun things for kiddos to do! Plus, it’s not a horribly long drive to do on your own! 🙂

  3. Say what? You are H.O.M.E? Isn’t that how you would type it? Your blog is rubbing off on me in more than one way apparently. I had no idea it would be so soon although I am sure it appears to you be long enough indeed! Let’s see…March 30th??? Well let’s see if it was not such a long trip I could say come here for my birthday cake! That would be a nice present for me! Otherwise no suggestions but glad you picked my birthday for a special day for you and Maren. Welcome home to AndersonLand.

  4. Lisa Smith /


  5. Rachel /


    Have been reading your blog since “the beginning”. You are an inspiration, really. I’ve slowed down and I’m really taking in the goods and bads as what they are TODAY, because soon enough today becomes yesterday and YESTERDAYS and long ago and I want to melt into these memories now.

    I too am very inefficient at digi-scrapping, but there are people that are A-MAZ-ING at it. Please accept if someone offers to help out. People outsource this, ya know? And you have enough on your plate. If I could do it, I would, but I’m kinda sucky at it too.

    Maybe if you grouped pictures in order – 100 to 200 in batches, you could outsource the layouts and colors but do the journaling yourself? That cuts out at least 1/2 of the work.

  6. Though I, too, love the idea of you guys taking a trip to Columbus, I’d suggest either Chicago or Washington, D.C. Chicago is a pretty reasonable drive, and D.C. isn’t *too* bad either from OH. Chicago has *tons* of attractions for kiddos, though most aren’t free. D.C. has lots to do & see too, most of which ARE free, but again, quite a bit longer of a drive. Looking forward to hearing what you guys decide! M and I had a mommy-daughter day yesterday, which was awesome, so I can imagine that your week together with M will be SO great!!

    As for the photobooks, I wish I had a quick fix for you — mine, too, take ages to compile, but I’ve love love love all of them, so they’re well-worth it in the end 🙂 That said, I’m currently working on Y’s babyhood photobook (and he’ll be 2 in a few weeks!) Definitely a labor of love – and so fun to pore over all the photo memories, esp from the chronological distance!

    SO glad to hear you’re back home with your beautiful little family!!

  7. 🙂 so glad you are back in your nest. 🙂 i just took my almost 7 year old to Disneyland for the complete Princess experience at the Bibbity Bobbity Boutique. Very special Mommy daughter experience. 🙂 i know Disney would probably qualify for an entire family trip but it was so great spending the day with my little princess. I recommend mid week so the crowds are less overwhelming. 🙂 xoxo

  8. Ginger /

    How about Chicago and the American doll scene!! Luncheon, a show, and a million other museums and play lands!! Just a tought!

  9. Rachel /

    Yahoo for being home! I had no idea it would be ‘so soon’ either. So great to be home with your kiddos especially during this special time of year.

    What about a trip to New York? It’s just so BIG and amazing. FAO Schwartz toy store, a musical, Statue of Liberty, etc. Fun!

    As for the photo books, they do take 🙂 But, there are some ways to make it quicker. I like to move specific photos into a folder on my desktop before I start my book. After all the photos you want in the book are in that folder, upload them into Shutterfly. There is a mode within the photo book where you can say, I want these 5 photos on this page and it will arrange them for you. I find that easier than doing it one by one. Hope that helps a bit.

  10. Big white in Canada. I know a certain someone who would love to see you girls

  11. Aunt Annie /

    Some suggestions: Hutchinson Island, Florida at Grandpa’s, Mammoth Cave or Niagra Falls.

  12. kathleen /

    Chicago would be a good trip. My niece & her friend took their daughters for lunch at American Girl & museums. It was a hit. You could take the mega bus from downtown Cincy to downtown Chicago. I took it back once and it was a good experience. They have wifi and you don’t have the hassle of driving and paying for parking. Glad to hear you are at home!

  13. Jen, so glad you are home surrounded by love from your joyful little girls happy to have their mommy home and of course wonderful hubby Brad!. My sister-in-law Julie (Jim n Julie from Wisconsin) introduced me to you through your blog. We have been praying for you and your family. In fact, my daughter just donated her hair to Locks of Love today in honor of those dear to us fighting the fight.
    Now, onto the scrap booking, because that is something I do too. I used to be a Creative Memories scrapper both traditional and digital. Since CM went out of business, I have looked to Close to my Heart scrapbooks. They have a nice digital system that is free to use and has a few more options than others. It’s quick– drag your picture, and drop it into the pic frame. It has a place that you upload the pics you are going to use so they are right there for you grab. Cute, creative layouts. The other thing I have decided to do, is scrap just my favorites! My friend gave me the idea to do an ABC book of my daughter– she did one for hers when she was 4. I am going to do it for my daughter and she is 17! But it will have a 2 page layout per letter. They have a nice website with videos to watch with tips. I am not a consultant — just someone who likes to save memories.
    Now for your vacation– she will be so happy to be with you no matter where you travel. If she likes American Girl, Chicago is fun, plus there are so many museums and aquarium. Never know the weather though. Minneapolis- Mall of America- Lego, American girl, amusement park, aquarium, movie theater, plus nice zoo close. The Ramada has an indoor water park for kids. Not sure how the sun would be, but Florida warmth for Disney, beach, and sea world would be nice.
    We will keep you on our minds and in our hearts this Advent season. Many blessings to you and your family.

  14. The most fun for a seven year old is Disney, Disney, Disney… either Disneyland, or Disneyworld.

  15. Colleen /

    I am so glad you made it home! Revel in the glory of your family.

    I would recommend Niagara Falls. There is the obvious, the Falls, but there is so much more to do there as well! The highlight of our trip there was the Butterfly Conservatory. A dream for a little girl! It won’t break the pocket book either!