I Can Still Hold Them Both in My Arms

Today is the last day that the boys will spend in the childcare program where they have spent the past five years. In August 2009, when the boys were 16 weeks old, the childcare program that Juliana attended started an infant program. That program opened with 3 babies – Ruslan, Wyatt and Finnegan. With the exception of holidays and vacations, the boys have played with Finnegan every day. Wyatt and Finn are best friends. Neither of them make new friends easily and have relied on each other and been buddies throughout the years.

We were on vacation last week and Finn wasn’t there on Monday. When we arrived yesterday, I heard Finn yelling Wyatt’s name before I could see him, and then he hug tackled Wyatt and the two of them ran off to sit next to each other. I think that Kindergarten Camp helped Wyatt understand that Finn won’t be going to school with him and he was also able to make some new friends, but I know that they will miss each other.

Tomorrow my babies will get on the bus with their big sister and go to Kindergarten for a full day. I won’t drop them off; I won’t sign them in; I won’t make sure that their backpacks and lunch boxes are put away; I won’t know if they are happy or sad when they sit at their desk. They will ride the bus; they will walk up the stairs to their classroom; they will hang up their backpacks and lunch boxes; and they will start the next chapter of their lives. Tomorrow they will spend the day together in a small group of Kindergarteners and Monday they will start their new classes separate from each other.

It’s an exciting time for them and I think that they are ready. Juliana will be there to watch over them on the bus and she walks by the Kindergarten classrooms on her way to third grade. In Kindergarten camp they learned about their new school, tomorrow they will ride the school bus for the first time, and Monday they will be separated in their own classes.

Last night Ruslan climbed into my lap and I tried to rock him like a baby. He told me that he is a big kid now, not my baby. I tried to argue that he was a little kid, but he insisted that he is a big kid. Wasn’t it just yesterday that they were my little babies. I used to be able to carry them both and now I can just barely hold them both for a minute. At least my lap is big enough to snuggle them close when they choose; I am lucky to have cuddly little boys who love their mama.

Toddlers – September 2010, Kindergartners – August 2014.



Kindergarten Camp

When I took the boys to Kindergarten Screening at the beginning of the summer, they took the first time parents on a tour, they handed out new information, and they talked about Kindergarten Camp. I thought that Kindergarten camp must be new, but they told us that they have offered the program for years and it used to only be for the students who truly needed the extra help before starting Kindergarten.

My initial reaction was to let them enjoy the summer in their childcare program and spend the final few weeks with their preschool friends. Then we decided that it was worthwhile for them to have a head start, learn the Kindergarten routine, meet some of their future classmates, and learn their way around the school so they would be more comfortable on the first day.

Camp was Monday-Friday, 9:00-2:30, for 4 weeks in July. Ruslan probably would have been happier in childcare for the summer, but Wyatt was so excited for camp to start. There was a day or two that he asked to stay home, but for the most part he was happy to go each day and the drop-offs were certainly easier than childcare had been in recent weeks. Both boys thrive on routine but it is especially important for Wyatt.

I wasn’t thrilled that they had to wear uniforms to camp, but it is part of Kindergarten. As we were walking toward the school entrance on the first day, I realized that I didn’t take any pictures at home – so this is the first day of camp picture. I promise to do better on the first real day of Kindergarten.

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They were busy in the hallway as we waited for the other Kindergartners to arrive, running and pushing each other until the principal told them to stop. At the end of the first day I watched them walk quietly down the stairs in a straight line – hip and lip (we learned about hip and lip from Juliana). Since camp ended at 2:30, I picked them up and drove them to their childcare program for the remainder of the day. A week later I found out that my wild boys had taught their preschool friends about hip and lip and told the teachers that every one should be quiet in the hallway.

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The four weeks of camp went by so quickly. Between drop-off and pick-up and getting Juliana to and from her camps, there was a lot of running around but we made it. Each morning the boys took the long way to the front door, getting one last bit of climbing out of the way before school.

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On the last day, the children performed songs and we had a pizza party to celebrate the end of camp. They are still talking about their new friends and teachers and I think that they are ready to start Kindergarten next week. I know that they are very excited to finally get to ride the bus!




While Ruslan Dug Holes in the Sand

Yesterday was a perfect day on the beach. The humidity was low, the temps were moderate and there was a lovely breeze. I took turns playing in the waves with each of my children and I showed them how to use all of the sand molds that we had brought with us; then I sat back and watched them play in the sand together and coax other adults to take them in the “deep” water.

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Juliana found the friend that she made Saturday evening and the two of them were in and out of the water together so Juliana wasn’t bored.

After building in the sand for a while, Ruslan took one big shovel and wandered closer to the water where the sand was wet and started digging tiny holes. Lots and lots of tiny holes. He plunged the shovel into the sand and then each shovel full of wet sand was flung into the air.


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Wyatt spent this time running, sitting at the edge of the water, running from us to the water’s edge, “surfing”, running in circles on the beach, and convincing Scott and my brother to take him in the water.

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Ten Years Ago, Part 4: Our Wedding Day

We were married on a cool Friday evening in July – for someone who doesn’t like to be outside when it is hot, I was chancing an outside wedding in July. We had picked the date only a few weeks in advance, I bought a dress on Clearance that needed no alterations, we ordered a cake and flowers and we hired a caterer to serve food and drinks. The wedding was at Scott’s parent’s house – we stood on the front steps and our guests were in the front yard. We invited 30 people – family and our closest friends. My brother and sister-in-law drove in that day and stayed with us and my friend Sarah flew in for a few days and stayed with us as well. They were our first guests in our new home.

I spent most of the wedding day with Sarah. We woke up and made French toast and had a quiet breakfast. Then went to my parent’s house to get my dress and the cookies from my parent’s house and delivered everything to the Scott’s parent’s house. Bill and Ellie were setting up a canopy in the front yard since there was a chance of rain and finishing the decorating.  Ellie made an arch over the front porch and it was perfect! Sarah and I headed home and took showers and I painted my toenails. Scott was gone, taking care of his own errands.

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My Dad dropped us off at the hair salon and my friend Briana picked us up and drove us back to my house. We played with her girls for a little while, and I did my make-up. Then I helped get the girls ready to go and Sarah and Briana dressed for the wedding. As we drove the short mile to Scott’s parents, he was driving back to our house to get ready for the wedding. I greeted family, dressed and then opened the necklace that Scott had left for me. I posed for pictures and watched the guests gather in the front yard.



My entrance was from the garage and my aisle was the sidewalk. My dress was perfect and the delicate pink roses in my simple bouquet were beautiful. My Dad walked me to the front step where Scott was waiting for me. After the ceremony we had a champagne toast and posed for lots of pictures. Then we walked all the way to the backyard to eat and spend time celebrating with friends and family.


We ate delicious cake and cookies and as some of the guests were starting to leave we had a quiet dance in the kitchen. At the end of the night we were sitting in the living room surrounded by some of our favorite people – relaxing, laughing, opening our gifts. I found a comfy seat, kicked off my shoes and enjoyed a tasty beverage.

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Our wedding day was planned in just a few weeks and couldn’t have been more perfect if we had spent a year on the details.

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Ten Years Ago

Jen and Scott


Ten years ago we said “I Do”

And started a wonderful adventure together


Nine years ago

A little blonde girl with all the words was welcomed into the world


Eight years ago

We were learning what parenthood was all about


Seven years ago

A little girl showed us a magical place


Six years ago

You said OMG! And I grinned ear to ear


Five years ago

Two wild boys graced us with their presence


Four years ago

I went halfway around the world

But you were by my side every minute


Three years ago

We found a new house… with a playroom…with a door… that closes

And we made it a home


Two years ago

We were promoted as a family


One year ago

I forgot who I was

But you were there to remind me


Today we celebrate 10 years of marriage

And more love than a lifetime can hold

I love you with all my heart and can’t wait to see what the next ten years hold



Patience at Age Five


It was finally Ruslan’s turn for a Mommy day and he was excited to go to the Pirates game with me. There would be undivided attention from me, the promise of a treat, and he would get to run the bases after the game.

We arrived early enough for him to run through the . . . → Read More: Patience at Age Five

Science is Only My Second Favorite Subject


Juliana knows that I have a science degree and talks about me being a scientist (I’m not) and asks me where I keep my hidden lab with all of my potions. And for some reason that all adds up to her thinking that I want her to be a scientist. Granted I want her . . . → Read More: Science is Only My Second Favorite Subject

Summer is Off to a Good Start


The boys finished preschool almost two weeks ago and Juliana is hours away from finishing second grade and we have already jumped right in to summer fun!

The boys spent a day with my Dad on an adventure which included a new playground (new playground, aka playground they have never been to, is the best!)

. . . → Read More: Summer is Off to a Good Start

Happy Father’s Day


Happy Father’s Day from Juliana, Ruslan and Wyatt to their Dad, G and Papa! Thank you to Scott for everything that you do for our children!





Remember when they looked like this? (DAD Series 2011, 2012, 2013)

. . . → Read More: Happy Father’s Day

I Love These Happy Faces


Today was exhausting and wild and happy. At one point Wyatt was holding my hand as we walked when he stopped. He wrapped his arm around me, looked up and said, “Mommy, this is the best day ever!” And then we continued walking. I love making these kids happy!


. . . → Read More: I Love These Happy Faces