Wednesday, October 18, 2017

2017 Juana trip

I recently got back from a week out with my aunt and uncle, Juana and John, at their home in Vancouver, Washington. It was a lovely week, and we were busy! We did the following things:


  • Went to see Florida Georgia Line - Russell Dickenson and Chris Lane opened for them. Nelly was supposed to, but he ran into some legal issues before the show...#bastard

  • Went to every TJ Maxx, Marshall's and HomeGoods in the tri-state area (looking for Rae Dunn stuff...I will write about this at the later date because I am obsessed).
  • Went to Goodwills looking for BSC books (another obsession) (and I blog about that obsession at https://rediscoveringthebsc.blogspot.com/)
  • We, along with John, went to Seattle for an overnight adventure. We went on an Underground Tour of the city, ate snacks at an Irish pub, went to the top of the Smith Tower, went to dinner at Ruth's Chris, went to the Pike Market, went to the Seattle Aquarium, ate mac and cheese at a cheese place, rode the Seattle Ferry Ferris Wheel, and went to the Unicorn Bar. It was an awesome getaway within the getaway.





  • Did my hair (obvi)
  • We did an escape room, and we escaped! I was SO excited when that final door opened.
  • Ate breakfast at the Grant House (SO GOOD.)

  • Had family dinners at home.
  • Watched movies.
I loved my vacation! I hope John and Juana know how much I appreciate them. 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Brace Face: Tray 19

I get to switch to Tray 20 tonight!! Officially in the 20's and on the downward end of this adventure!


I am like 98% certain they are going to add trays at the end. That left front bottom tooth is just not moving up. Little bastard.

I was on vacation for most of this tray (more on that later), so it was awkward and frustrating. You know what's gross? Taking your tray out and dealing with your teeth on a three hour plane ride. My neighbor enjoyed the slurping sounds when I removed my tray to eat my free airline cookies, I'm sure.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Woah baby

Look. At. This. Nugget.


My friend Leslie and her husband, Joe, had this babe last week. Jacob Wesley.

I love him.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Brace Face: Tray 18

Who else is sick of my teeth? (girl raising her hand emoji)


I had another dentist appointment during this tray, where she grinded away. I asked her to be honest with me about the possibility of me needing more trays at the end. She told me everyone is different, but I should prepare for needing more. That way, if I don't, it will be a nice surprise. So basically...I will need more. I'm on to your reverse psychology, dentist.

Right now I am on Tray 18 of 28. I did the math correctly (I think) and that means I will be done with the originally prescribed set on January 14th. It seems like forever away, but to be honest this is flying by and I can't believe I am already on Tray 18.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

10 Reasons I love Missy

10. She used to say she hates running, but then she started running and before I knew it she was a much, much better runner than I am.
9. She loves puns and is the corniest person I know.
8. She plans and organizes all of our trips and adventures.


7. She knows when I need a distraction or I need something to keep me busy to keep from thinking about stupid boys or just stupid people in general (like Halloween at Worlds of Fun when I was dealing with a breakup).
6. She is always up for an adventure or trying new things (like the 110 story climb on 9/11).
5. She is the reason I hiked in Colorado, ran a Disney race, stayed on the beach in Florida, saw the Hollywood sign and experienced the Memorial Day service at Mount Rushmore.



4. She knows the things I hate and doesn't pressure me to do them (music festivals, any trip outside of the United States), but knows what I secretly want to do and am just too scared, and gives me the push I need (hiking in Colorado when I had a panic attack, going down the Alpine Slide in the Black Hills).


3. She is the most generous person I know, and she cares for her family better than anyone I know.
2. She has seen me through a miscarriage, a neck tumor, my mom's cancer, thousands of boy problems, several new jobs and countless family fights.


1. She (and our friend David) ran like hell and managed to avoid all the gun shots at the deadly Vegas mass shooting during the Jason Aldean show.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Currently...

Here is what is going on with me currently:

Food: I have not tracked my food in about a year. I tried to restart Weight Watchers a few months ago, but the new tracking system just did not work for me. I found an app yesterday that recreated the Points Plus of the olden days, so I bought it (it was only $4) and I'm going to see if I can make that work. I really liked Weight Watchers when I did it back in 2012 (or 2013...my memory escapes me), so I am hoping I can recreate some of that magic.

Weight: I have lost about 20 pounds in the last year - I would be happy losing about 15 more to put me back where I started. I'll get there.

Exercise: I am still doing Farrell's Extreme Bodyshaping about five days a week. That gets me three kickboxing days and two strength training days. I take Saturdays for myself - usually a long hike or walk. Sundays I usually rest, but I also use that as a make up day if I had to take a day off somewhere in the week.

Work: Work is going really well. Obviously I wish I was retired or a stay-at-home-mom-with-no-kids, but it is what it is.

Social life: My summer was incredible, and fall is shaping up to be just as awesome. I leave for Juana's next Saturday, and I'm very excited for all the adventures she has planned. I'm also excited to just get away for a week!

Family life: Everything is good there.

Love life: Noneya.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Brace Face - Tray 17

I am obsessed with this comparison picture.

Again, Tray 17 has hurt. One day I could not handle the tightness on top, so I took the top ones out and just wore the bottoms ones for a few hours. I needed to give my face a break from the tightness.

I am very very very happy with how things are looking!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Fall Bucket List (omahafamily.com blog entry)

Originally posted on http://omahafamily.com/
I had an amazing summer. I explored Omaha, went to several concerts, found new hiking and walking paths all around us, went camping, went tubing down the Elk Horn River and spent a lot of time with friends and family. I made a point to say “yes” more and it paid off. I am planning on continuing this amazing adventure collection as the temps grow colder and the days grow shorter.
Here is my bucket list for the next few months:
CLICK HERE to read my list! (It's amazing and you will probably want to join me on these adventures.)

Monday, September 18, 2017

Catch up

September is just flying by.

I've watched some football, drank and ate some pumpkin flavored things, and started planning my Halloween costume. But the temps are still in the high 80's/low 90's, so there's that. I'm ready for fall weather and some layering. I tried to force it by wearing a vest today, but I'm currently sitting here dying of a heat stroke.

I spent this past weekend in Eastern Iowa with Nick and fam. We took advantage of the 90 degrees and went boating. It was the absolute best way to spend a September Saturday. Even if we did end up getting rained on a little.



For those keeping tabs on my nephew, Alex finally got to start pre-school this past week. He wore his new, huge shoes (1.5 sizes too big to fit over his feet).






Thursday, September 14, 2017

Brace Face - Tray 16

Tray 16 brought the pain!

It was a rough couple first days. I know I say this with every tray, but that sucker was TIGHT. I snapped it into place for the first time and it instantly hurt. I took some tylenol and went to bed, and the pain actually woke me up. My dentist had told me to tell her if it didn't feel like a tray fit right - like if my teeth hadn't moved enough for the new tray to fit properly. That wasn't the problem, the problem was just the tightness. I took tylenol every couple hours for the first three days.

My teeth have been super super sensitive during this tray. I haven't been able to really eat anything that requires a great deal of chewing. This will be worth it, right?

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Brace Face - Tray 15

This is one of those times when I hate my face, I feel like my teeth aren't moving fast enough, and I'm generally just annoyed and irritated with my current smile.


Blahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. 13 trays left.


Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Labor Day 2017

I didn't go anywhere for Labor Day. I purposefully stayed home, due to a one-time fear of missing out. I did a lot of stuff.

Friday night Natalie, Ryan and I went to see The Goonies, which was playing at a local theatre this weekend for only $5. This is only the second time I've seen this movie, which blows some people's mind holes.

Saturday I went down to Glenwood and went to a little makeshift circus with Nicole and her family. It was uncomfortably hot under the big top, but it was still fun seeing Alex get excited about stuff. Gavin was sitting with his friends and kind of being a joker, and Quinn was just too hot and didn't want to deal with the bullshit.


Sunday I went to see Lynryd Skynyrd (I'm pretty sure I spelled that wrong) at Stir Cove. It was fun, but I don't need to see them ever again.


Monday I went to Jan and Dick's to help them with some stuff (I've officially taken Nick's spot as their technical guru), and then we had a bbq at Dad's. Alex got to play outside! He was so happy, and we were all happy to see him playing and acting like a normal kid again, despite his huge old man slippers to keep his feet protected.

I don't want to be back at work today.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

That time I almost passed out at the doctor's office

Don't let the title of this entry fool you. I have passed out in many doctor offices. But this time was probably my worst behavior to date.

It was after that neck surgery (sometimes I feel like my life is divided...before neck surgery, after neck surgery), and I had been off work for three weeks. I had an appointment to be "cleared" to go back to work. Of course, I was so positive I was going to be cleared that I had already arranged to return to work as soon as my appointment was over. I was so confident that I didn't even have anyone go to the appointment with me - I assumed I would run in, get cleared, and then go straight to work. Maybe I would stop and get a fountain soda, I don't know. But I was definitely going to work that day. I was stir-crazy at home and needed to get back into my routine.

Everything was going well - I was sitting in the exam chair, and about four doctors had already been in to see me. With the position of this tumor, I had several doctors assigned to my case. They were all pleased, and the last approval I needed was from my actual surgeon. He came in with a a few students (Nebraska Medicine is a learning hospital, think Grey's Anatomy) and he was like "Everything looks good, now let's get that glue off."

Yes. My neck was glued together at this point still. Of course, it had already healed, but there was still a mess of glue on my neck. I thought he would just take an end of it and pull - like when you were a kid, and you would rub Elmer's glue on your hand and then peel it off - but this industrial medical glue was a little different. He got a sharp tool, took it to my neck, and began to scrape.

And scrape. And scrape. The noise was too much, he was too close to my neck, there were too many people staring at me. I was going to pass out. I got that feeling and I told him.

"If you pass out, I am not clearing you to go back to work."

FUCK THAT. I tried, uncomfortably, to get my life together. I was all clammy and felt like I could go down at any minute, but I kept my mouth shut.

He finally got done, and said he wanted to take one more look at my most recent ultrasound before he cleared me officially. He and his entourage walked out of the room, and I hit the floor.

I didn't know what to do. I knew if I didn't get a cold compress and some water that I was going to pass out. But I literally couldn't stand up without passing out.

"Hello?" I yelled out, weakly. "Hello, is anyone out there?" The doctor and his brigade had left the exam room door open just a crack. I was softly moaning, because for some reason that helps me when I'm feeling this way.

A receptionist opened the door further and stuck her head in. "OH MY GOD!"

I stopped her. "I know, I know. I am going to faint unless I get a cold washcloth and some water. Can you help?"

She didn't say a word and walked away. She brought me back my requested items and asked what else she can do.

I was already feeling better, but I was too scared to get upright enough to get back into the chair.  "I'm going to lay here and moan until the doctor comes back. Can you stand guard? Tell me when he's coming back."

She stood in the doorway, and I laid on the floor and did my moaning/breathing exercises. Then suddenly she goes "He's coming!" and I jumped back in the chair.

He was fine with my ultrasound, and since he hadn't seen the fucking ridiculous scene that just happened, he cleared me to go back to work.

What the actual fuck, Jen. Seriously. Why did I think that was okay? I have always wondered what was said about me after I left that office. That poor receptionist.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

3 times my face scared me

So far in my life, there have been three times my own face has scared me. I will not post pictures, as 1. I don't have any and 2. I never want to see it again.

1. When I was working at Kaplan, we had an evening event where we were kind of showcasing the school. I was in the Criminal Justice room, where we had a video machine thing - it showed crime scenes, and there was a gun (very realistic - weight and size) and the student acted as a cop with the gun. Kind of like Duck Hunt, but with a more realistic gun and people rather than ducks. There was a lull in the action, so I took the gun to play but my finger got stuck in it. It instantly started bleeding, so I ran to the bathroom, and then I got that pass out feeling. I quickly went into a stall to lay down until the feeling passed. (Yes, I know how gross it is to lay in a public bathroom. When I am that close to passing out, I do not care.) I realized I had been in there forever and needed to pull myself together, so I crawled out of the stall and to the sink to wet a paper towel. I pulled myself up and looked in the mirror and HOLY HELL. My face was as white as a ghost and I seriously thought for a minute that I had actually died.

2. After I had my neck tumor removed, (I wrote about it here) I was in the hospital for five days. So five days with no shower, no hair brushing....thinking back, I don't even think I brushed my teeth (I can't remember if I could put a toothbrush in my mouth). I was DISGUSTING. And the worst thing of all - my neck was leaking so I had a tube coming out of it, collecting the...stuff? Liquid? Blood? Puss? It collected into this little suction thing that the nurses kept tucking into my gown pocket so I wouldn't have to look at it. I turned away when they came in to empty it. I avoided mirrors for a few days, but then I finally peeked - and HOLY HELL. My hair was matted to my head. I don't even want to go into the tube. And my scar was DISGUSTING.

3. A few weeks ago I was kickboxing at the gym. I had taken a few days off, and I was loving being back on the mat. I was pounding on the bag - punching as hard as I possibly could. I had been fighting a cold (one of the reasons I hadn't worked out in a few days), and my nose started running. Being disgusting and too stubborn to leave the mat, I brushed my sleeve against my nose to wipe it away. It kept running, so I kept wiping. Finally, I went into the bathroom to blow my nose. I looked in the mirror and HOLY HELL. My face was covered in blood! I was facing out on the mat, so none of my fellow kickboxers could have seen my face. I seriously looked like a MMA fighter. I started wetting paper towels to wipe the blood off, and then I got that familiar feeling that I was going to pass out. I wetted a bunch of paper towels and headed into one of the stalls, where, again, I laid down. This is where I begin to evaluate the situation. I was laying on the floor in a bathroom stall, my feet up on the toilet. I had a pile of bloody paper towels next to me. Seriously?! Luckily I got myself together and hightailed it out of the gym.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Brace Face - Tray 14

I had another dentist appointment during this tray, where she had to "grind" or "shave" my teeth to shape them better for the movement. It's still one of the worst sound in the world.



I am loving how my teeth are looking, and I still have 14 trays to go! I need to start thinking about after this - I have two teeth that need replaced, and I either need to do a bridge or an implant. I'm not sure which route to take, but I am honestly thinking price will be the deciding factor. 

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

A Cable-free Summer (I was published on omahafamily.com!)

Over the fourth of July, I went out of town to go camping with some friends at Rathburn Lake in Iowa. I took my time getting back to Omaha, and was just crossing the river when I got a call from my landlord. She told me they were doing construction on all of the patios and I needed to take my satellite dish down.
Um…what? I asked how long I would be without a satellite dish and she said at least a month.
Um…what? A month without cable? Nope. Not going to work.
I need cable. For so many reasons. The most important being I am a total news junkie and I need to have access to CNN, MSNBC, etc, at all times. However, if there is a time to experiment with a no-cable lifestyle, I suppose the dog days of summer is the best time to try it out. So I called my cable company, suspended my service for six weeks (just to be safe, since I’ve never actually witnessed a construction project stick to a deadline), and started my new life.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Brace Face - Tray 13


Tray 13 didn't really give me a lot of trouble. Or maybe I am just getting used to the discomfort by now.

I hate the way my mouth feels when I don't have my trays in. But at the same time, I cannot wait until I never have to have these trays in again!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Alex

Oh, my Alex. My sister's middle child. I just love him so much.

Last Tuesday (which seems like months ago, and just yesterday at the same time), he had an accident at his grandparent's house and burnt the bottom of his feet to a crisp. He has now spent two nights in the hospital (separate occasions, different reasons) and has his feet wrapped up like a mummy.

I have never been so stressed out or worried about another person in my life. I love him SO much. I would have gladly taken his place and had the bottom of my feet burned off. I cannot stand the thought of someone I love so much being in so much pain.

And then there's my sister and brother-in-law. If I'm feeling this way, multiply that by infinity and you have their feelings. I will never birth a child, so I will never know what it's like to watch your child suffer like that. Being an aunt is hard enough, I don't know how moms and dads do it.

I know Alex will be fine. Yes, he will have to have surgeries during his growing years because as his feet grow, he will need to be worked on. But it's okay. He will be fine. And when he isn't thinking about how much his feet hurt, he sure is a positive little guy.


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Two nights = two concerts

On Friday night, I went to Lady Antebellum with my friend Erin. I liked Lady A, but mostly I was going to hang out with Erin (Ebbs, as she is more commonly known) (at least by me, that is). But then the concert started, and it was amazing! I am now obsessed with the group.




The next night, Missy was going to Shawn Mendes. She's been slightly obsessed with him for awhile, and I've been making fun of her about it for awhile. But lately I've been hearing Shawn on the radio, and I've been thinking about how it would probably be a fun show. By the time Saturday rolled around, I was officially jealous Missy was going and I wasn't. So when she called Saturday morning and had an extra ticket, I jumped at the chance to go with her.



While I didn't know all his songs (like Missy did), I did know a handful. It was amazing being in that room - it was just this kid (he's only 18 or 19), on stage, showcasing his talents. No crazy lights, no fire, no confetti - just a kid with his instruments and his voice. He is a real talent. And the girls who were screaming ALL NIGHT LONG - I commend you for your passion. It's fun being in a room where that many people are having the time of their lives.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Brace Face - Tray 12

I'm seriously so sick of wearing braces this week.

I know it will be worth it but come on..............

Monday, July 31, 2017

37 - that's the oldest I've ever been

Friday I turned 37.

I decided to start celebrating on Thursday night at Stir Cove. Chris Young was playing, and I LOVE him. I have wanted to see him for awhile, so I was totally pumped when I saw he was on the line up this year. All of his songs just speak to me, and the lyrics are literally my inner thoughts. And Missy, because she's a freaking amazing best friend, scored a meet and greet pass for me.

He's so tall! And hot. 
The show was even more awesome than I thought it would be. At the end, he flipped his ball cap around and I just about lost my mind. He is exactly my type. And from my stalking on the internet, I think he's single...so hit up yo girl, Chris Young.

Friday was a really great day at work. I got my annual review, which I was kind of nervous about, but that went really well, and then we ordered tacos in for lunch because not only was it my birthday, but it was Glenda's last day. She is now retired, and I'm so jealous I could die.

After work I went down to Glenwood to have a birthday party with my parents, sisters and brother, nephews and niece. Alex made the event very special, by decorating a cake that Gavin made and hiding to "surprise" me numerous times throughout the night. Quinn has started this new thing where when she first sees someone walk in the door, she just drops whatever she is holding and screams. Then, when she raises her hands for you to pick her up, she hugs you like you are the most important person in her life. I am telling you, it is the best greeting and feeling in the entire world.


After the birthday party, I went to meet Missy and Natalie at Midtown for a night time farmers market type thing. We ran into our friend Katie, who runs Little Mango , an absolutely adorable kids boutique. We also ran into some soap makers, and I bought entirely too much soap for someone who lives alone.



Saturday morning I slept in (which was heavenly, I still haven't been sleeping the best) and then Missy and I went to Schramm Park for a hike. It was pretty easy, which was fine by me (I was really really sore from leg day on Thursday; Missy says I need to drink pickle juice), but usually I enjoy more of a hiking challenge. But the area itself is really pretty and there were lots of people there to watch. And the hike itself was just fun - there were lots of random stairs, meditation areas, and this suspension bridge. I would like to go back, and maybe hike the trails twice to get a decent amount of workout in (and steps, of course).


After that we grabbed lunch and went shopping, and then I headed back down to Glenwood for some family time. Mom made dinner, and Aunt Tammy, Grandma and Kate came over for birthday celebration round 2.

Sunday Kate helped me move some heavy stuff (I got a china hutch from a neighbor who is moving - it was the right price - free - and I absolutely love it), and then we went to the farmers market at Askarben. I had to physically walk away from the soap vendors (seriously, what is my deal with soap now?) and then we went to lunch. After that, I had my usual Sunday chores - laundry, food prep, cleaning - and also I took some time to set up my amazing new china hutch. I ended the day with scaring the crap out of myself (between Stephen King's IT and a few murder documentaries) and couldn't sleep again.

What a great weekend. If this is any indication of how 37 is going to treat me, I'm all for it.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Stir Cove X3, tubing and sleeping

I am really enjoying my summer. Don't get me wrong, I'm really excited for football and pumpkin and hoodies and cooler weather. But this past weekend I took in a lot of sun, water and heat and I loved every minute of it.

I decided to start my weekend on Wednesday of last week, and I kicked it off with Garbage at Stir Cove. Then Thursday was Kesha. Missy and I fully embraced the environment with some face glitter.

Friday night was Goo Goo Dolls. I have probably seen them ten times, but every single time I see them I think it's the best time. Friday night was no exception to that.

Saturday I went tubing down the Elk Horn with some work buddies. I was so nervous about doing this - I can't swim, and getting knocked out of my tube was a serious fear. I already knew I wouldn't drink much, because 1. I just don't anymore, and 2. I can't swim and didn't want to drunkenly drown. It was so much fun, I didn't fall out of my tube, and I faced my fear. Plus I got to know some of my coworkers better and bond with the girls in my office.



Sunday I barely moved. Even though I just laid in a tube all day, I was worn out! So my Netflix got a work out. Have I mentioned on here that I don't have cable right now? I HATE IT. I will never be one of those people who can live without cable.

Even though this week is technically my birthday week, I am ready for a slow down.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Brace Face, Tray 10

I start Tray 11 tonight and just realized I haven't reported on Tray 10 yet!

Nothing really new to report. I've noticed in pictures I'm smiling much bigger. I had another dentist appointment last week, and both my dentist and her assistant made comments about how much more confident I seem now. 

Also, during that appointment I had some more teeth filing done. Still the worst sound in the world. 

When I first started this, I was given three boxes of trays, numbered Trays 1-11, Trays 12-22 and Trays 23-28. So after I switch to Tray 11 tonight, I am one box down! 

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Adventures in Omaha

On Saturday I had another adventure day with Ryan, Missy and Natalie. This time,Missy put together an "Explore Omaha" day. She wouldn't tell us anything about the day other than the day included breakfast, lunch and a snack and also that we needed $9 to get into one of the attractions. She had envelopes that we opened after each stop to find out where we were headed next. 

We started the day at Harold's Koffee Shop in Florence for breakfast. 





From there, we went to the Mormon Trail Center. This was very interesting, because one of the Sisters walked us through and explained the history of the church and their travels to get to Utah. I had about a million questions I didn't ask. We also walked through the cemetery, which is across the street. Then we went to the Florence Mill, which is the last standing building from the Mormon quarters. 





From there, we went to the Malcolm X house. He lived in Omaha during the first year of his life, and although the house is gone they have declared it a historical site. 





After that, we went to the Crook House on Metro's campus. 



Next was what I had been waiting for, the Gerald Ford birthplace. 


Then came Mount Vernon Gardens, which was almost in Bellevue. I had no idea this lovely place existed. 


Then we stopped for lunch at Orsi's Bakery in Little Italy. 





Then we headed out to Boys Town. I had never been here and it was amazing! We drove around the campus, went to the history hall, Father Flanagan's house and the two churches on campus. 


After that we drove by Wareen Buffet's house and stopped in Dundee. Apparently before World War II the Japanese threw balloon bombs over to the United States (threw?) and one ended up in Dundee! I never knew that. So we went there, and then got ice cream at Ecreamery. Then we went to the Joslyn Castle, and then ended our day with a movie at Film Streams! 

It was a long day, and we have so much more we could have explored! What an amazing city we live in!