nine by jen geigley

Nine years ago today, this was us. Who were we? A couple of kids, it seems. We had just bought a house. We didn't have children. We were fun; so happy and carefree. Little did we know that we were putting down roots in good old Des Moines, right then and there. We probably guessed where we'd be living and what we'd be doing in ten years, but we didn't have a clue. We didn't know how good it would be. We're still here. Us. Plus two children. In the same house, in the same city. And life is a new kind of fun. Happy and carefree. Happy nine years of marriage, my friend.

back to school by jen geigley

Last week, Lo became a first grader. Things are going swimmingly, as you can see.

Last year, she begged me to walk with her into the building and all the way to her classroom every morning for the first couple of months. Now she begs me not to. She's got this!

Her teachers are wonderful and she sits next to her best friend in class. She's excited to do homework and she's stoked about her new backpack. I'm stoked for a little bit more freedom/time with Bowie during the day and getting everyone back on a normal schedule. Summer is fun but back to school time is fun, too. (There she goes.)

summer art camp by jen geigley

We made a list of fun things to do on summer break, but now that school is almost here I feel like we're kind of running low on new ideas. So one hot and sunny morning this week, I packed Lo's backpack with pencils a blank sketchbook and didn't tell her where we were going. We drove to the sculpture park downtown in our beautiful city and drew pictures. Still life.

We talked a little bit about shape, texture, depth and perspective. (See my kid sitting under that tree?) ;)

 I wanted it to be fun so I just set her loose and let her pick what she wanted to draw.

 While Bowie and I strolled up and down the sidewalk.

She looked at this Keith Haring for a long time.

 And then decided to draw buildings.

And after she was done, it was really starting to get hot so we stopped for refreshments. It was a surprisingly fun day that I'll remember for a long time, and it didn't cost us a penny. (Well, except for the Starbucks.) I think we will do this again soon.

what a week. by jen geigley

It's been a bit of a whirlwind around here the past week. Have you been feeling it, too?

First off, Lotus had a dance recital that was brought to a halt by a tornado warning, right as she was about to go on stage. Her sweet teachers kept the kids calm backstage by playing duck duck goose until the warning had passed.

 We've had Girl Scout bridging ceremonies, birthday parties and celebrations for nearly being done with school.

 This weekend is Bo's scooter club rally – the Hostile Takeover.

Tomorrow is my dad's birthday.

And I'm heading off for a quick one-night getaway with girlfriends for the first time since Bowie was born.

But the one thing that really threw me for a loop this week was finding out that this little guy has a severe peanut allergy. I kind of let it turn my world upside down for the first day or so after I had found out, as I searched the house for anything that might contain nuts, read labels and threw things away. I was worried about keeping him safe right now; I was worried about the future. I had a long talk with our awesome pediatrician, picked up our first pack of epi-pens, did some internet research, and was so relieved when good friends who have been through this reached out with fantastic advice and support.

It is a scary thing to deal with, but I'm grateful that my kid is otherwise very healthy and happy. As this has become a more common childhood allergy, I take comfort in knowing that there are far more treatment options that may be available to us in the future, and that most schools are very careful about peanut allergies these days. This former peanut butter loving family is going to make some hard and fast changes, but everything's going to be okay.

momlove: me (and happy Mother's Day!) by jen geigley

In celebration of Mother's Day, I've been posting a series called momlove: guest blog posts by the best of the best. I've invited some of my very favorite blogger moms to share a little bit of their wisdom and experience here. (A huge thanks to all of my friends who contributed to this series – read their wonderful posts here.)

I'm always intrigued about what life is like for other moms. We're all equal parts weird and normal, and I think we find comfort in that. What is motherhood like ... in my world? It's quite possibly everything – and nothing – like I thought it would be. That's kind of how I remember feeling in the beginning.

It's finding out that no matter how careful you are or how much you try to keep everything under control, almost everything is out of your control.

It's realizing that no matter what time of day you finally get to sit down to have something to eat, your baby knows you are relaxing. And will start crying and will need something urgently. At that exact moment.

It's trying not to freak out while keeping things running smoothly. Goodbye to that old, spontaneous 'you' ... because now someone has to keep things in line.

It's taking the time to color in a My Little Pony coloring book when you have ten million emails and deadlines hovering over your shoulder. Hovering. While you color a picture of Rainbow Dash.


It's trying to teach new words to a toddler who only says dadadadadadada all day long. 
'Airplane? Truck? More? Eat? Um, Mama?'  ...   'Dada.' It's waking up at 4:00 a.m. to a screaming baby or patiently listening to your new reader (ever-so-slowly) sound out a new book. When you are oh-so-very tired. Clinging to the very edge of your cliff of tiredness. It's driving the kids home from the library when the 'ideal outing' you had in your mind turns out to be anything but.

It's pretending not to be scared when a storm rips through your neighborhood and a tree crashes down across your power lines, knocking out the electricity to your house. Acting like everything is great, even though your heart is pounding. 'Everything's fiiiiine, you guys! We'll just have a camp-out in the dark. Um, flashlights are fun, right?' ('Where are they...?')
It's taking care of sick kids around the clock while being completely down and out with the flu, with no nap in sight. For any of you.


It's trying to remain calm when you suddenly realize that your one-year-old probably has a peanut allergy and you have to decide what to do next. It's getting a call from the speech therapist at school after determining that your child may have some form of a stutter.

It's trying your very hardest to raise children who will be good people. To give them a good foundation and hope with all your heart that they turn to you when they reach high school and shit gets real. Like Tina Fey said: 'when the crystal meth is offered, may she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half and stick with beer.'


But for now, for me ... it's wiping tushies and putting on pajamas and brushing teeth and giving baths. It's reading and listening and singing. It's a whole lot of 'eat your dinner' and 'time for bed.'

It's also waking up to tiny smiling faces that somehow resemble both your husband and yourself. It's watching them grow out of all of their clothing in one season and marking another notch on the wall, an inch higher than the last. It's the laughs and the smiles and the hugs and all of the sweetness in the world, too. Because, damn ... kids are amazing, life-changing, earth-shattering little beings. I sit back and take note of how special these times are, every day. I know it will go fast and this ... right here, right now ... is an amazing time.


I'm not special. It's not any harder or easier or better or worse for me that it is for you. When you talk to moms, you quickly realize that every one of us has done so many of the same things. We're all different and yet so much the same. And that's pretty cool.


We live in an age where it's easy to feel like you have to do it all. It's hard to ask for help or lean on others, but everyone needs a break. Really. Hopefully, you can let yourself be okay with finding that balance. (And guess what? If you didn't know this already, it's totally okay.) Carve out some time for yourself and take your victory lap. Smile at those babes and know you're doing your best and it's all so worth it. Love them harder and more fiercely than you did yesterday, than you did ever before. Do your thing, momma ... do your thing. Today, I'm spending part of Mother's Day with Bo and the kids and a potential picnic. But after that? I'm meeting up with some of my best girlfriends on a patio for a beverage or two. It's our own little celebration of motherhood that has nothing to do with changing diapers or making snacks or picking up toys.

Motherhood is beautiful (and so are you.) Happy Mother's Day.

block party by jen geigley

It has been terribly dreary and gloomy, stormy and rainy in this part of the world lately. Will the rain ever stop? We are not sure. So I thought I'd give us all a little dose of color today. Hopefully, this will do the trick. 
This is one of our most recent rainy-day projects. I can't get enough of the Kid Made Modern craft sets. This one is called 'Block Party' and it provided days of fun.
 Paint a little, let it dry. Have a snack. Come right back. Paint a little more. 
 Paint a tiny building.

Or a little sailboat.
 Paint with rainbow colors. Anything goes.
Such a simple idea, and what a fabulous result. Mini works of art that become a tiny city. Little canvases to build with. If you're in the market for some rainy day fun, grab some Kid Made Modern art supplies or kits at Target.

Check out some of our other adventures with Kid Made Modern right here.
 Paper Tape + Book Project
Charley Harper Bird Mobile 

a family photo by jen geigley

Sometimes, even on the busiest of days, you need to take a second and make everyone sit down on the couch. Set the timer on the camera. And take a picture of everyone in your little family, yourself included.
Even if it turns out blurry. Or no one is looking at the camera. Whether you're all dressed up or just lounging around your pajamas, it doesn't matter. These precious days go by so incredibly fast – they really really do. So take a minute or two and preserve this moment, with everyone in the picture. Someday you'll be so glad you did.

** I have been more inspired to do this ever since taking part in the Dos Family Picture Tour a few years back. See the photo we submitted way back in 2009 here. (Scroll down until you see us with a tiny Lo peeking out of the Vespa sidecar.) And see even more ridiculously cool photos from last year's tour here. **