Category Archives: Jenn

The Very Literal Stay at Home Mom

When I say that I’m a stay at home mom…I mean it…literally. I stay at home. I don’t go anywhere. I stay at home and I don’t go anywhere because I don’t have a driver’s license. Believe it or not, it has nothing to do with my sister’s accident…I just never got my license.

I wasn’t your typical teenager, I suppose. While I had friends and I did enjoy going out with them from time to time, I enjoyed staying at home by myself. I was very busy in school with theater, chorus, band, and various clubs so I didn’t get to be home very often. I was quite happy at home while I was there and I wasn’t screaming for any type of independence or freedom. In PA you could get your Driver’s Permit when you turned 16. You had to take a test for the permit and pass. Once you had your permit you could practice driving with a licensed driver over the age of 18 in the front seat. Once you had sufficiently practiced you could take your driver’s test. The permit would expire in 3 years and so would your physical exam. If you hadn’t passed the driving portion of the test before your permit expired, you would need to get another physical and take the permit test again. At least those were the rules in 1995, some of the details have changed since then.

When I turned 16 my parents didn’t say anything to me about getting my license and I didn’t say anything to them. My younger sister on the other hand (who was a year younger than me and dying to get her license) had been told she wasn’t permitted to apply for her permit/license until she was 18 due to her grades. I also had practical reasons for not getting a license. I knew that I wouldn’t be getting my own car. I knew that we had only one car and both of my parents worked. I knew that I didn’t have a job, didn’t want a job, and didn’t have time for a job with all of my extra curricular activities therefore I didn’t have the money to pay for a car, insurance, or even gas. I also knew that because of my busy schedule, my curfew, and the boring town that we lived in…I really wouldn’t be going out much anyway. I didn’t make a decision not to get my license, I just simply decided that there wasn’t any rush to get it. Only two weeks after turning 16 I acquired a boyfriend who had a license, a job, and his own car. He also happened to be involved in theater/chorus/band as well, so he began driving me everywhere.

I was signed up for Driver’s Ed because completing the class would get you a discount on your insurance. I had yet to take my permit test. Driver’s Ed didn’t help me at all. The class was taught by a history teacher that I’d had three different years since Middle School. He was a nice man, but one of my least favorites as far as teaching was concerned. He never really taught anything and his big thing was “study guides”. He would give us photo copied study guides in his very poor barely legible handwriting and had us fill in the blanks from our text books during class. In the three different years I had him as a teacher I don’t recall him ever saying anything to us other than telling us to keep quiet during our study guide time or telling us what page to turn to. Luckily I was good at history and managed to do fine as long as I could read his handwriting. Driver’s Ed was no different. We were given study guides to go along with the Driver’s book. We were also lucky enough to watch some outdated films on anti-lock breaks and drunk driving. We never once got into a car. We didn’t have one of those fancy student driving cars where you got to drive around the parking lot while your teacher keeps slamming on his extra set of breaks. Nope. Just, “here’s some questions to study for the permit test (most everyone already had their permit), here’s how breaks work in the rain, don’t drink and drive…the end”.

Above: 18 year old me, a happy passenger.
(Don’t worry, we were parked otherwise I would’ve had my feet on the ground and a seatbelt on!)

After I graduated from high school and spent the summer busy sleeping in and hanging out with my boyfriend my mom felt it was time for me to get a job in the fall. I didn’t have any ID so we had to go get one at the DMV. I hadn’t studied at all for the permit test, but my mom said that I should try to take the test anyway since we were already there. You were allowed to get three answers wrong…I missed four. I failed the permit test that day, but we went back and I passed it the second time and every time since then. I started working a part time job and then eventually went to a full time job. My mom worked full time M-F 9a-5p and I was scheduled shifts all week from any time between 9:45a-9:45p.

As time went on I kept going back and renewing my permit and getting physicals. It seemed like every time I needed a new physical my doctor had moved or my insurance had changed and I had to find a new practice…again. I did some driving here and there, but for the most part we were all too busy and too tired to bother with it. I couldn’t practice driving on my own. Someone had to take me and teach me. The older I got and the longer I went without driving…the more scared I got. I wasn’t scared to begin with, that wasn’t why I had put off getting my permit, but the more time I spent in the passenger’s seat the less of a desire I had to drive. When I would drive I was absolutely terrified of hitting parked cars, or having a car come up behind me. I found reverse confusing. I hated it.

Throughout the years my mom and husband have taken turns teaching me how to drive. We go for awhile and then something always happens and we get busy, and we stop going. Then I forget how to drive again. I’m not scared of hitting parked cars anymore and a person driving behind me doesn’t bother me as much (unless they’re right on my bumper). I’m not too bad at the actual driving part now and I’m finally starting to get the hang of reverse and parking. In March I started practicing again. This time with a slightly different goal…learn to drive well enough to pass the test. If I never drive again, that’s fine, but at least I’ll have my license if I want it and I’ll have all the time in the world to get more comfortable driving. Practicing is one of the things that I’ve been doing lately when I say that I’m busy.

I still don’t have much of a desire to drive, but I feel like my daughter and I are missing out on so much being trapped in the house until her dad gets home. We can’t go to the park or Mommy and Me or MOPS or anywhere really. I’ll be 32 this September. Kids that I used to babysit have now had their licenses for years. Now I just want to get my stupid license so that I can have it already. I don’t even know if I’ll ever really use it since the idea of driving with my daughter in the car, or without someone else next to me to help me, scares me. I just want to get it over and done with even if I never drive again afterwards. This August my permit is going to expire…again. My physical will expire then too so I’ll need to get a physical…again. And guess what…my doctor’s practice shut down…again. So I’m going to need to find another doctor…again. So that I can take my permit test…again. I really don’t want to have to do all of that…again.

Today at 12:30pm I’m scheduled to take my driver’s test for the first time in 14 years. I can’t say that I’m feeling very positive about it. Last night I thought I should practice parallel parking in front of my mom’s house. There was a space between her neighbor’s car and her car. I tried 3 times and couldn’t do it all three times…and the last time I tried I hit my mom’s car (well, the cars touched…I backed into it very slowly going -5 miles an hour!). I went around the block again to come back and park and the neighbor had gotten into her car to move it away to safety (why, I didn’t hit her car?!). Let’s just say it didn’t give me a big boost of confidence. I just hope that my test goes well today and I can just pass and move on with life as a licensed driver.

Or maybe I’ll just get a chauffer.

**Updated: Nope, didn’t get it. Failed the parallel parking before getting a chance to do the rest of the test. I was way too nervous and hormonal. Oh well, I’ll try again in another 15 years (and by then Adaline should have her license and Jonathan close to getting his permit!).

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Our Wedding

Today is mine and Cool Daddy’s 8th wedding anniversary.
(We were married June 21, 2003 for those of you who can’t do the math ;))
You can read more about us here:
*How I Met Cool Daddy: Part 1
*How I Met Cool Daddy: Part 2
*15 Reasons Why My Hubby is Awesome
*Colonel Mustard on a Rollercoaster with a Plastic Fork

I went all out for our wedding. Cool Daddy was perfectly happy to let me do (and spend ;)) whatever I wanted and tell him a date, time, and place to show up. While there were definitely some stressful moments, some venue mishaps, weather concerns, hair woes, and flower drama…for the most part my mom and I really enjoyed planning my wedding. I didn’t end up with absolutely everything exactly the way that I wanted it, but all-in-all I think our wedding was fabulous and I have no regrets about “going big”. I didn’t have a fairytale wedding…I had a royal wedding. Or as close to one as you can get in Beaver County, PA 😉

You’re going to see quite a few pictures of me before we even get to the one photo of my hubby…but isn’t the wedding all about the pretty girl anyway? 😉

(Click on photos to enlarge)

My sister primps my hair and then puts a sixpence penny in my shoe.
Yes, I actually wore it inside of my shoe the whole time!

I love this picture of me and my mama 🙂

Putting on my veil and showing off my pearl necklace.

On my mama’s front porch.

My hunky hubby-to-be 🙂

Me and my sister and hubby with his brother.

My cousins were the flower girl and ring bearer.
I chose the pomanders rather than a basket. The flower girl hid a bag of petals behind the pomander and this is where she drew the red rose petals from to drop.

For the ring box I chose one shaped like a carriage that was made out of two quail eggs. I didn’t realize that this was the only photo of the ring box that I had. Here it is cropped for a closer look:

I actually found a photo of the ring box online here.

I was very into the details of the wedding. The funny thing was that I was so afraid that the guys that would be handling the ring box to get the rings in and out would break the egg shells, that we actually had the best man keep the rings in a box in his pocket the whole time. So the ring box ended up just being a front anyway.

A string quartet for the ceremony.
Pachelbel’s Canon in D for the bridal party.
The traditional “Here Comes the Bride” for me.

I walked down a very long aisle.
I wasn’t even halfway down when this picture was taken.

Hubby watching me walk down the aisle realizing how very spoiled I am lucky he is.

We had an outdoor ceremony in the gardens of an extinct Utopian community, Old Economy Village.

The guests had bubbles and the wedding party threw red rose petals while our carriage with white horses awaits.

Hubby looks like he’s carting me off to prison rather than escorting me. He also sounded like he was reading me my rights during our vows…I sounded like I was reciting an eloquent graduation speech. Not a lot of heart-felt teary-eyed stuff during our vows…we are robots.

The carriage ride was awesome. We rode down the streets and everyone stopped to look at us and we waved our best royal wave. A mother was walking with her two daughters and I heard one of them yell, “Mommy, she looks like Cinderella!”
I’d love to do that about once a week 😉

This was actually the aisle that I was supposed to walk down, but I knew that my gown wouldn’t fit, so we had them set up the chairs on the other side of the garden where my gown would have more room to breath 🙂

The bridal party.

For a photo like this the photographer would usually have the bridal party jump off of a step which would put everyone at about the same height, but we didn’t have any stairs available. I couldn’t jump at all without losing my dress so hubby and I stayed put.
I love how weird this photo is.
(You’re definitely going to want to click (twice) to enlarge this and check out all the great facials expressions!)

The reception venue: The Timberhouse at Rolling Acres Golf Course

This is a view from where hubby and I sat at the head table.
Our fancy champagne glasses that form a heart when they’re pushed together 🙂
The bells were the wedding favor…more on that later.
To the right of the glasses you can see my handkerchief. My grandmother crocheted old lace onto a new handkerchief and then tied it together with my mom’s wedding handkerchief. Something old, something new, something borrowed. My something blue was a blue ribbon on the garter that my mom made for me with my great-grandmother’s lace (more old). I had plenty of new: my necklace, my earrings, my tiara, my handkerchief, my shoes, and of course my gown.

The topiaries above were the centerpieces on every other table, the remaining table had wreaths and hurricane lamps shown below. Believe it or not we’ve gotten a lot of use out of all of the topiaries and wreaths. There are a few in Adaline’s nursery, we’ve used them as centerpieces for tea parties and I sometimes use them to decorate at Christmas.

Our wedding favors were silver bells. We attached everyone’s table number to their bell along with a little poem that I wrote about how to use the bells:
We all remember traditions past, to see them kiss you clink the glass.
But new traditions work as well, to see them kiss just ring the bell!

The cookie table…’cause that’s just how we roll 😉
(Yeah, I have a big Italian family. Mangia!)

Cutting the cake. We used our wedding cake knife to cut Adaline’s 1st birthday cake and have used it for each of our birthdays since then, it’s one of my favorite new traditions.

The cake was white with raspberry filling. It was covered in fondant with gumpaste flowers.

The detail on the cake mimicked the detailed beadwork on my gown.
(Click the photo twice to enlarge it and see the detail.)

Our first dance to Nat King Cole’s “Unforgettable”.

Ironically, my husband always asks me, “What was our wedding song again?” and I always answer, “Seriously? You couldn’t be more ironic right now. Did you seriously forget? How could you forget our wedding song?!” Oh well. The song didn’t hold any special meaning for us, I’ve just always liked it.

In case you were wondering…I can still rock a mean Electric Slide in a ball gown.

My throw-away bouquet was a break-away bouquet. We’ve all seen the “America’s Funniest Home Video” clips of single ladies fighting each other for a bouquet. Mine was a bunch of single flowers tied together with one special rose in the middle with a ribbon tied around it. While my back was turned to the girls, I untied the flowers so that when I tossed the bouquet individual flowers went everywhere and several girls picked up a flower. The lucky girl to get the rose with the ribbon is the one who will get the garter.

The garter was actually caught by my then-10-year-old cousin Ben, who snatched it up using a slick slide-on-the-knee move 😉
He placed the garter on the lady’s arm rather than her leg for a more pg version!

And here are some more photos of me, just because I’m pretty 🙂

Happy 8th Anniversary, Hubby! I love you!

On a side note today at 12:15pm Cool Daddy and I are going for an ultrasound to check and see how things are progressing with our little bean and to see if there’s perhaps more than one in there 😉

Photography: Brad Allan at Redford Photography Canonsburg, PA
Cake: Carol Decanini at Carol’s Cakes Aliquippa, PA
Ceremony Venue: Old Economy Village Ambridge, PA
Reception Venue: The Timberhouse at Rolling Acres Golf Course Beaver Falls, PA
Bride’s Gown: St. Pucchi by Rani

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Bye-Bye Betty Bride

When I was born my maternal grandmother started a porcelain doll collection for me. Every year on my birthday and Christmas I would receive a new doll. When I was four years old I still had a bad thumb-sucking habit. I used to rub something silky, like the edging of a blanket, between my fingers and suck my thumb. I’d been known to reach up my paternal grandma’s skirt at church and grab on to her slip and suck my thumb. I had a habit that needed to be broken. I don’t remember how far into the “let’s break Jenny of her thumb-sucking habit” process we were when my aunt came up with an idea. My aunt told me that if I stopped sucking my thumb she would buy me a porcelain doll. I don’t recall whether or not I had seen the particular doll that I wanted before the offer was made or if she took me to the store afterwards to pick out my “goal doll”. All I remember is that before I had completely broken the habit I already had a specific bride doll in mind. I think that it was on display in a Hallmark store and little 4-year-old me thought that she was so pretty. I remember lying in my bed at night thinking, “I could suck my thumb and no one would see me!” and then my mom would call from downstairs, “Get that thumb out of your mouth!” (How did she know?!) I knew that I was going to have to do this honestly if I wanted to get my doll. I successfully quit sucking my thumb and the doll became mine. I named her Betty… Betty the Bride (I know, I’m so creative, right?! Don’t be jealous of my sweet, sweet naming skills.).

After years passed by I realized that Betty wasn’t as pretty as I thought she was. She was, in fact, pretty creepy. She looked like she could be the main character in a thriller about a doll that was possessed. Still, I kept her and had no plans of ever getting rid of her…4 year old me would’ve been so sad. I’d had her so long that despite her creepiness, she never gave me any nightmares 🙂

Now, I’m going to show you the only picture I have of Betty and I while I was child and I’m going to need you to focus. Remember, this is about Betty. It’s not about the Grand Ole Opry hair-do that is trying to eat my face or the giant red bow embellishing it, nor is it about the Pepto Bismal pink bedroom walls. It’s all about me holding Betty.

Have you regained your composure? Good, we can move on.

Last Saturday my mom was all like, “Hey, get over here and clean all of your crap out of my attic! Mmkay?!” asked me if I could help her clean out her attic. My mom is a thrower-outer and I’m a hoarder of memories saver. When we came across darling old Betty in a box my mom asked if I was still going to keep that ugly creepy doll. Naturally I told her “yes!”. We were going to move her into a different box and my mom picked her up horizontally with one hand under her head to hand her to me. Then we heard a crack…Betty’s face popped off!

While no tears were shed and I knew that it gave me a reason to part with her, I was still mildly upset that my mom broke her. She said that she barely touched her and naturally I responded with, “You don’t pick a doll up by the porcelain! You should’ve grabbed her torso!” (duh!) and my mom apologized although she mostly found it funny. I knew that I was going to get rid of Betty. There was no point, despite the sentiment, to attempt to glue her back together just to stick her back into storage. So I did what any weird sane person would do and took a bunch photos so that I could preserve my memory of Betty the Bride.

If she didn’t appear creepy and possessed before…check her out now with her head detached!

My mom clearly snapped her neck on purpose, what with her hands as hot as the blazing surface of the sun and her crazy herculean kung fu grip, she could’ve done it subconsciously with very little effort. I was certain that she was the one to blame.

But then…

When I was looking through the photos that I’d taken of Betty I noticed something. I came across Betty in a box with another doll while my mom wasn’t even in the attic. I snapped a picture of her lying in the box and then moved on to other things. If you look closely (okay, you don’t even need to look that closely) at the photo you can see a white crack on the right side of Betty’s face (left in the photo). I didn’t notice it when I had seen her in the box, but I noticed it in the picture. Betty’s face had already snapped off at some point while in storage. Whether it was from age, heat, or other boxes carelessly being stacked on top…her face was broken before my mom ever touched her.

Well. I guess I owe my mom an apology.
Mom, I’m sorry that I accused you of ruthlessly killing Betty in cold porcelain. I know that you didn’t do it right then and I hope that you can forgive me.

To be honest, I’m a little glad that I can get rid of her without any guilt or regret (Betty, not my mom ;)).

Goodbye, Betty! You were dearly loved and you will be dearly missed. Thank you for inspiring me to stop sucking my thumb (I tried it again in Middle School just for kicks and hated it!). Thank you for watching over me all of those years with your eerie, blinkless stare. Your memory will now live on in the blogosphere forever.

Do you have an ugly or creepy item from your childhood that you can’t part with?
Tell me in the comments!

*Please stop by and read this guest post by Amanda from Gratefully Growing in Grace, leave her some comments, and visit her blog! Thanks!

For more posts about my childhood check out my “Mommy’s Piggy Tales”!

This post is linked to Wordful Wednesday at…

Coolest Family on the Block is committed to helping you find creative ways to have fun and make memories with your family all year-long. Don’t miss an idea, tip, or trick…subscribe and have updates sent directly to your email!

Trying to Conceive: Tracking Ovulation and Secondary Infertility

Trying to Conceive: Tracking Ovulation #infertility

Well, it’s “Trying to Conceive Tuesday” again…I’m just kidding. That’s not a thing. At least not that I’m aware of. Nonetheless I have ttc updates and it is Tuesday, so let’s just roll with it shall we…

Cool Daddy and I have actually been trying to conceive ever since I started blogging, but it just wasn’t anything I wrote about on the blog. But during my series of infertility posts that I wrote for National Infertility Awareness Week I kinda let the cat out of the bag so to speak. Now I feel obligated to let you know what’s going on. I mean, it’s totally cool, I don’t mind sharing.

On May 3 I had another appointment with the OBGYN to check our test results. Cool Daddy had to take in a *ahem* sample, and I had blood work done to check my thyroid and see if I’d be ovulating. So the doc said that according to the results hubby’s count is normal and I don’t have a thyroid problem and dun, dun, dun…I am NOT ovulating. Say what now? Yeah. Despite all of our struggles conceiving in the past I was still surprised to hear her say it. Prior to my first two pregnancies they weren’t able to find anything “wrong”…so we had unexplained infertility. Now we are struggling again, I assumed that there still wasn’t anything “wrong”. But there is.

I started taking 50mg of Clomid that day and finished up on Saturday. I can take Clomid for 6 months, which means until October, unless I get pregnant which would be, ya know, the point of taking it to begin with. This week hubby and I have some “business” to take care of. This weekend I start taking the Crinone again. Next week I must have more blood work done to see if the Clomid helped me to ovulate and the following week I have an exam to check and make sure I’m not forming a lot of cysts. So there will be a lot of poking and prodding the Jenn for the remainder of the month (pun intended, feel free to insert a creeped-out shiver here__).

When we left the doctor’s office, I cried. Not a lot, really. I’m not sure why I cried. We weren’t getting pregnant when I thought that I was ovulating…and even if I was she was going to put me on Clomid anyway. Still it was just a different thing to have to deal with going from, “We don’t know what’s wrong.” to “Yes, there’s a problem.”. I’m not really sure which one is worse. I’m fine. We’re going to try the Clomid and if it doesn’t work we’re going to close our ttc door and move on.

I’ve spent nearly 6 years of my life trying to get pregnant. We’ve always been serious about it but not overly “aggressive”. People always like to tell you to “relax” and that “you’re trying too hard”, but unless you’ve told them every little detail they really have no idea how “hard” you’re trying. Well, in the spirit of doing the exact opposite of what people like to say to me I’m actually going to “try harder”. In that I mean that I’m going to be trying to track my ovulation in ways that I’ve really never bothered to use before. Now that I know I’m not ovulating and because I know that if the Clomid works I may ovulate earlier or later than expected, I don’t want to miss the window. So I have a few ovulation calculating tricks up my sleeve. Tada…

1. Ovulation Predictor Kit:
I started taking an opt every day at 2pm to detect my LH surge. I have used an OPK before…about 4 or 5 times during the 6 years of ttc. Now I plan on using them every month while we’re on the Clomid.
2. Basal Digital Thermometer:
I have never charted my temps before. Now I’m going to take my temperature the same time every morning before I get out of bed.
3. Ovulation Microscope:
This is pretty cool. Apparently your saliva changes during your cycle. Every morning before I get out of bed I put a drop of spit (yum) on the lens of the microscope and let it dry for 5 minutes. Then I look into the lens to see if I can detect a “ferning pattern”. When my spit sample looks like a fern…I’m fertile 😉
4. Ovulation Calendar:
I’ve been using this online calendar for years to keep track of my cycle and get an idea of when to expect my period. I always use this to see when my estimated fertile days are according to my LMP. You can make notes on this calendar and that’s a feature that I’ve always liked.
5. Clomid Ovulation Calculator:
You enter the date that you started taking Clomid and it will calculate for you the expected date of ovulation.

I made a calendar on the computer and plugged in all of the dates when I should be fertile, the dates to start using the OPK, when to start using Crinone, my OBGYN appointments, etc. and I printed it out and put it next to the bed with a pen and my thermometer and microscope.

So now you are all caught up and you probably know way more about my personal reproductive system than you ever cared to know.
You can thank me later.

*** Update…the Clomid worked after one cycle! Jonathan Paul was born on February 08, 2012 🙂 ***

*Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase using these links I may get a small amount of money for it. I’ve only been using these products for one day and can not yet comment on how well they work. I paid for these products using my own money. All opinions expressed are my own.*


+Our Infertility Story: The short version
But if you want the whole story read…
+Part 1: The first 4 ½ years of our infertility struggle
+Part 2: My first Pregnancy
+Part 3: My Miscarriage
+Part 4: Conceiving after miscarriage
+Part 5: Secondary infertility after the birth of our daughter
Other Related Posts:
*National Infertility Awareness Week
*Infertility Myth Busted: Just Relax
*Childless Mother: Infertility Poem
*Spring Ahead: Reflections on Miscarriage
*Celebrate Your Name Week: Jordan: Why we named the baby we miscarried

My Least Favorite Chore

I don’t enjoy any chore. Who does?! It’s a chore! Nonetheless there is one chore that I dislike, nay, abhor more than anything else.


Dirty dishes. I hate everything about dirty dishes. I hate the way that they look, the way that they smell, and how I have to position my prissy little fingers “just so” on them so I don’t get anything icky on me. Just thinking about it turns my stomach.

I have no idea how to hand wash a dish. I’m not even joking. I have never had to wash dishes before and no one ever formally showed me how to do it. I’m not sure how hot the water has to be or what the soap-to-dishes ratio is. I don’t understand how a dish can be considered clean after you just wiped it with the rag that you wiped the last dirty dish with *shudder*. The whole thing is gross and doesn’t make any sense. I’m quite happy to eat off of a dish that someone else has hand washed and sit in my ignorance, but when I’m cleaning it myself I have the desire to use a different rag for each item Monk-style. How do you even know when a dish is clean? Is it just when it looks clean…because a dog can lick a plate and make it look clean?! I rinse with hot water and let my husband take care of the rest. He was, after all, a dishwasher at a restaurant once as a teenager…he’s a professional!

Thankfully, I have a dishwasher and if I rinse a dish and put it in the dishwasher immediately after use…it’s not so bad. But many times this doesn’t happen. My daughter may be pulling me in three different directions and I have a million other things to do and dishes get laid on the countertop and then erased from my memory. My dear, darling hubby handles the loading and unloading and, well, basically everything related to dishes (God bless him!).

You know how some people have certain smells that they just can’t handle, kinda the way men gag at a dirty diaper? Well, dishes are my “bad smell”. I can’t stand the smell of dirty dishes even when (especially when?!) they’re in the dish water. Eck! I always packed my lunch for school, but sometimes on pizza day I’d eat the school lunch. I hated having to drop my tray off in the dishwashing room. It smelled so bad in there. I’d take a huge breath before I went in and tried to hold my breath the whole time I was in there. It’s hard to smile at a lunch lady when you’re trying not to breathe.

It gets worse. I can’t stand the smell of cold food. I mean, if food is supposed to be cold (like cheese, or milk, or strawberries), then I’m fine. It is cold leftovers, cold meat, and obviously food that went bad that I just can’t stomach. It’s not something that I can power through…I will throw up. If I know there is such an item in the fridge and I need to grab something…I hold my breath first. If I catch a whiff I have to run far away and breathe some fresh air. I would much rather change a poopy diaper than go anywhere near cold food or dirty dishes. The kitchen is not my friend.

So, there you have it. My least favorite chore. One that I basically refuse to do. And now you know that my Kryptonite is cold food and dirty dishes. Wait, you didn’t think I was Superwoman?! Meh, who am I kidding…Superwoman probably keeps her house clean. I hate that chick.

Go visit Rachael to see what she has to say about the dreaded dishes.

You, my dear readers, get to be part of something very special. In celebration of this most glorious day of all days on the calendar Rachael from Non-Domestic Mama and myself are teaming up to host the first annual No Housework Party! Oh yes. Not much will be different for Rachael and I since we avoid housework every chance we get…but for those of you dedicated domestic goddesses…we’re giving you the day off!
This Thursday, April 7, stop by and link up your post!

Coolest Family on the Block is committed to helping you find creative ways to have fun and make memories with your family all year-long. Don’t miss an idea, tip, or trick…subscribe and have updates sent directly to your email!

Celebrate Your Name Week: Jennifer

March 6-12 is Celebrate Your Name Week. I told you about how Muppet got his name and how Adaline got her name and why I spell it wrong.

You can read about my birth story and how/why my mom named me here.

Hi, my name is Jenn (“Hi Jenn”). Of course my given name is Jennifer. I went by Jenny from birth until high school. Since my close family called me Jenny I suddenly became uncomfortable with anyone that I wasn’t close with calling me Jenny. In the 10th grade I switched over to Jenn, with two n’s. Please don’t forget the second n. An easy way to remember is “Two n’s means more of Jenn!” (and come on, who doesn’t want that?!). I never go by Jennifer, but often introduce myself as such since apparently people can’t hear and want to call me “Jean” or “Jan” (and believe me, I speak clearly). I’m certain to let people know to call me Jenn as I don’t like being called Jennifer. I think my middle name is pretty sweet so you’ll have to go here to read about it.

If you didn’t know it already Jennifer was/is a really popular name. There are a lot of us named Jennifer in the 25-40 year old age range. There certainly wasn’t anything exciting about growing up with the name Jennifer in the 80s, but at least you could be sure to find my name on a mug, key chain, or notepad. This is riveting information here, people. And it gets more exciting, let’s talk about the meaning of my name.

Ok, so loosely translated Jennifer basically means “hey white girl!”. Oh, yes. The meaning of the name differs slightly from one website to another but the two meanings that I found the most were “fair” and “white wave”. Fair and white are just nice ways of saying pale and pasty 😉

After reading my Celebrate Your Name Week posts on Facebook my good friend, Kelly, let me know that her first and middle names combined mean “Warrior of Light”. Um, well, that’s awesome. My name meaning stinks 😦 I already knew about “fair” and “white wave” so I figured I do a little more research to see if I could find a meaning I liked better 😉

*Fair lady
*White wave, White skin, White shoulders
(Now we’re getting very descriptive about the paleness!)
*One who is fair and beautiful
(Why, thank you 🙂 )
*Fair and Smooth, White Waves White; fair; smooth
(Jennifer…Now available in “smooth” too!)
*White, Fair and Smooth, Soft
(…and soft!)
*White, fair, blessed, holy, smooth
(Blessed and holy are nice!)
*Pure and yielding, whitewave
(Pure and yielding aren’t bad 😉 )
*Fair spirit
(Ooo, spirit)
*White Shadow, White Wave
(Shadow is cool!)
*Fair Phantom or White Wave
(Fair Phantom is sweet!)
*The White Fay, White Ghost, White Phantom, or White Fairy
(Now we’re talking…I sound awesome!)

While these meanings don’t differ that much (and certainly keep with the “white” theme) I definitely like the references to spirit, shadow, ghost, phantom, and fairy! It sounds so mysterious and a little creepy and also fantastical and dreamy. Me likey. Sure, it’s still not as hardcore as being a warrior of light, but at least it’s a little more interesting than “Hey, you need some sun!”. I’ve actually always liked the meaning “White Wave” as I thought it sounded like a Native American name.

A little more about the name Jennifer:
Jennifer is of Welsh origin from Gwenhwyfar, which also can mean “white waves” (source). The name Jennifer is a Cornish variation of Welsh GUINEVERE. There were close to 800,000 Jennifers born in the seventies, making Jennifer the top name of the decade (source).
Jenny was in existence at least as early as 1602 when William Shakespeare punned it with ‘genitive’ in The Merry Wives of Windsor. Jennifer developed in Cornwall, an area of England with strong Celtic connections, including many claims to Arthurian legend, as a separate development from Gwenhwyvar. The name only became fashionable in the rest of England and the world in the last hundred years, perhaps following the increased popular, artistic and literary interest in the Arthurian legend during the Victorian period when the British Empire was at its height (source).
The name (Jennifer) has been in use since the 18th century. Before 1906 the name was fairly uncommon, but it became popular after George Bernard Shaw used it for the main female character in The Doctor’s Dilemma. It gained even more popularity in the 1970s. Though its popularity is often attributed to the novel and film Love Story, Jennifer was already the number 3 name given to baby girls in the United States in 1969, the year before the book and movie were released (source).
According to the Social Security Administration Jennifer was one of the Top 10 baby names for 25 years straight (1966-1991) and was the #1 baby name for 15 years straight from 1970-1985 (source You will have to search “Jennifer” or a specific year as this is not a direct link.).

Jennifer is starting to decline in popularity and recently fell out of the Top 100 baby names for girls. So while the senior set will be crawling with Jennifers 30 years from now, it’s unlikely that my daughter will have many friends by that name.

Thanks for reading!
A Shadowy Wave of Phantom Paleness (otherwise know as Jenn)

What does your name mean?
Tell me in the comment section!

Other “Celebrate Your Name Week” Posts:
+How Muppet got his name
+How Adaline got her name
+The meaning of Adaline’s name and why I spell it wrong

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