Stories and a new week

Nov 29

The Monday after Thanksgiving always feels like an abrupt jolt.  We had a wonderful holiday with lots of family coming into town to celebrate.  Our family rocks.

Greta came bounding into my room this morning dressed in a sleeveless spring dress, asking me to button her up and tie the bow.  To her credit, she also had on white sweater tights.  I told her she looked beautiful, but that she would need to wear a cardigan on her arms so she had both arms and legs covered.  She brightened with this news (I thought it might have gone the other way); I think she was excited about adding another accessory.  I also told her she was going to have to wear gym shoes with her outfit because it’s gym day.  In response to this condition, she grinned, clicked her tongue, winked, and shot me her finger guns.  Then she whirled out of my room to the bathroom to begin working on her hair.  This girl is something else.

As I walked out the door with Greta out to the bus stop this morning, she was dressed like it was Easter Sunday.  She took ten steps out the door, turned around with a horrified look on her face, and said, “I’m freezing!”  She immediately marched back inside and said, “Mom!  I need pants and warm things!  Is it okay if you have to drive me to school if I miss the bus while I change?”

From the wink/guns to the indignation, I love watching this girl move through the world.  She does it with flair.

Last Tuesday, twenty minutes before school let out for Thanksgiving break, Maren had a run in with the gymnasium wall.  It was significant enough that I got a call from the school nurse who outlined the concussion symptoms for which I should be on alert.  She came home with a big (big) goose egg on her eyebrow, and we have been watching it turn from blue to purple to yellow to green to black as the holiday progressed.  We nick-named it “the be-donk-a-bonk” because an injury of this magnitude warrants a personality to match its appearance.  Maren currently alternates between whining and giggling about it.  She’s so nine about it: she wants a hug when it hurts, and yet she is semi-self-conscious about how she looks.

She’s nine about lots of things.  We need more selections for our “dancing in the car” playlist.  Who’s got some songs for us?  She twirls — oh the twirls! — around the house.  Even when she gets up from the counter to refill her glass, she pirouettes in front of the sink.  It takes three twirls for her to get from her room to the bathroom.  She makes up choreography in the bathroom mirror while she’s supposed to be doing hygiene-related things.  Her limbs are on the verge of being gangly so she’s, um, not dainty, as she twirls.  I can’t help but grin as I watch her, though.

She’s living out a beautiful story in that mind as she twirls.  Twirl on, my twirly girl.


This week is the start of my “good week” of the month because it was my off week from chemo.  I certainly don’t feel amazing, but I tell myself I feel amazing, and I think it works.  I’ve been having some swelling in my lymphedema arm (quick plug for LympheDIVA sleeves if any of my breast cancer friends have lymphedema too), and in my legs.  It’s all part of the wear and tear from the build-up of months/years of chemo, but it’s at a level that has created something new to manage.  I added “compression socks” to my Christmas list and felt I aged myself.  Any chance they make ones with polka-dots?

I’ll be working my way through my intimidating, lengthy, and overdue to-do list this week.  It will feel good to check things off, but I don’t hold myself hostage to working on that list all the time.  I nap, I color, I read, I rest, I have coffee, I socialize, I do the things that make me the best version of Jen I can be.  I’ll be hoping and praying you can find the time, energy and mojo to do that for yourself this week too!



  1. "Another Jen" /

    I was hoping for an update and that you had a warm and wonderful Thanksgiving… Lots of love still coming your way from way up here!

  2. Lisa Smith /

    Polka dot compression socks should definitely be a thing. Love you. Xo

  3. Margaret Tollan /

    They do make compression socks with polka dots – I saw them on line yesterday. Can’t remember where at the moment and I think they were flight compression socks. Would they do the job? I’m in the UK but I am sure you guys will have them in the US too. Best wishes for the festive season to you and your family.

  4. Connie L Stahlbusch /

    Jen- Check out-– they have a ton of fun/maybe even polka dot compression socks– wishing you the best-and thankful you and your family had a wonderful blessed Thanksgiving

  5. ‘Vim and Vigr’ make adorable compression socks. Available on Amazon and lots of my nurse friends love them! Been following for years but never commented before. You are an inspiration Jen. I pray for you and your lovely family regularly. My littlest is named Maren also!:)

  6. Fran Brock /

    Jen it was so nice to see you and your Mom yesterday.
    You looked GREAT.
    Always Look forward to all post from you and how you and your family are doing.
    You are a wonderful writer.
    I still remember the little redheaded girl and your two sisters.
    Where did all those years go. Way to fast.

    Love you and your family.

  7. Not exactly compression socks, but travel socks designed for people with potential DVT issues when flying. Check out TravelSmith. They typically have more than the white/nude/brown/black selection. It’s been a while, but I seem to recall some with polka dots and plaids.

  8. Not sure what kind of “dancing in the car” music you like, but here are some of the ones we like: Press Play, Group 1 Crew, Hillsong Young & Free, TobyMac and Capital Kings. Your girls would probably like Britt Nicole, Natalie Grant or Mandisa too. 🙂