This is what I was doing this morning. Myself and a bunch of my buddies from bootcamp participated as a team in the Mud to Suds race at Hovander Park. It was so fun!
I will let the pics tell the story.
This is Obviously BEFORE.
Don't we look nervous.
Thats me under the flags...It was mud soup and so cold.
My kids were on the side of this pit chanting cannon ball. We opted to impress them with a slip and slide approach. It was so fun!
Notice our buddy wasn't about to join us in that fashion:)
See my buddy. He is my biggest fan lately and I couldn't have anyone better in that role. He ran to the finish with me.
3.5 miles of uneven ground, sand, mud, dirt and nastiness...Still all smiles at the end.
What a fun day. And good on the Ski to Sea administration. I felt like the race was very well organized, the concessions were good and affordable and it was so much fun for our whole family. I am totally in next year:)
The other night we took the kids for cereal at Elizabeth Station for dinner. We were in town at dinnertime and had been waning to take the kids there o experience their cereal bar. Its crap cereal just so you know and it held none of us over we all had to eat
dinner again. It was fun however and the kids loved it of course. Elliot borrowed my sunglasses to keep the sun out of his eyes. I just love that kid. So serious sometimes.
This is one of those things that I have contemplated sharing and not sharing and sharing again. So here goes I am going to do it. And I will tell you why first. I hope that this story - my story will help you or someone else.
The rules of reading....no leaving comments of, wow I am sorry this happened to you. No feeling sad for me. None of that. No judging my parents they were trying to do the best with what they had at the time and although it was not enough it was what they had to give....I love them, I have relationship with them. This is all good for the most part and I really feel called to share this because of the outcome....the outcome of me I suppose in some ways.
Parts of this I realize are a bit graphic....I not sorry I would say but I realize it may be hard to read.
It started a long time ago. 2nd grade. The same age as my Grace. 7. After a traumatic 2 years of living with my Dad, my Mom came back into the picture and we returned to living with her and her new husband (my DAD now but not at the time). This meant a school change again (this would be school #3). At this age I could not relate to my peers at all and they knew it. At my previous school I would hide in the bathroom at lunch or do dishes for the lunch ladies in trade for hot lunch, to avoid my peers. This is a quick way to separate yourself as the weird kid from the get go by the way...not the way to fit or blend in. In my home life I was regularly caring for my sister on my own into the wee hours of the morning, cooking meals on the stove and generally trying not to be noticed at home as well, and I thought it was all normal, I never told anyone or talked to anyone about it because at 5,6,and 7 you figure if your parents are taking care of you in a certain way its all legit right. So at the end 2nd grade I went to live with my Mom again...we had a long way to go in the line of trust. I had pretty much been on my own at this point for two years with little or no contact with my mom and a Mom seemed irrelevant....something that still makes me sad. I had shut her out and everyone else that could care for me because at times they had failed me so bad I had taught myself to not care or let things bug me, I had been stuffing my feelings for some time and that was that.
Well the new school was no different I had no idea how to make friends so I sat right outside our classroom door during recess, and ate my lunch at the end of the lunch table alone...this was my doing still. Kids my age freaked me out. It didn't take long for the new school to start to figure me out, the new kids started to pick at me(I had made myself an easy target) and I told no one...not once I never tattled once. The first thing that happened was a girl in my class got lice...I still remember her perfectly she had the greatest blonde perm with permed bangs even, oh man I thought she was so pretty:). Well when she got back to school from her absence she was embarrassed and told everyone that I had stolen her hat and worn it and subsequently gave her lice. Well I never had lice but whatever the damage had been done and I was now the lice girl. This lasted the rest of my 2nd grade year. If I wore a striped shirt I was pirate girl, If I wore my handmade clothes my Grandmother slaved over I was baby girl and if I cried I was just a cry baby. It was bad and I am still so mad that I didn't feel like I could tell anyone.
Third grade came and I was terrified to go to school so I lied and told everyone that I was going to go back to living with my Dad. It was a big lie I had made up a date and everything....my Dad had also told me a lie and said I could come back and live with his at anytime. Well as it goes I informed him I told my class I was moving and he could help me pack my things and I would move back in. He said no. My mom was ticked that I didn't want to live with her. And so at school I stayed and now I had lied, some kids made up stories about me being a lier others would tell me I was so awful my dad probably didn't want me.....I believed them. This was the year things got bad. Physical bad. One girl told me if I looked at her when I got on the bus ever she would chop my head off. And at recess they would punch me in the stomach drag me to the tire stacks throw me in and not let me out, every recess to no avail. Again I told no one. And so I allowed them to do this. I would sit in the bottom of the tires and wonder why I was so bad...
Fourth grade was no different I begged my mom to not let me go to school. She never asked why and so I never told her. My teacher caught on quickly to the shenanigans of these girls and would let me read in the classroom at lunch. This helped for a while but she was diagnosed with breast cancer and one day just didn't come back to school...she died. This was the year they started attacking me verbally with comments about my face. I had a ruptured vein under my nose that they called a zit...so now I was zit face. I had a mole that they called a growth and they would literally point and laugh and call me names and the teacher did nothing and so I told no one it bothered me. School was like doing time.
Fifth grade I had the greatest teacher. He was the teacher that taught me to write. I loved to write the first moment I tried, I could write for hours and he would let me. I never had to go to recess and I never had to go to lunch. I would write and write and write it was heaven. It was a sweet release and a sweet relief. This would be the year I became a "woman" and there was no trash can in the stall so I would have to wrap my products and throw them in the trash can. So my secret didn't stay a secret for long....to some I was a goddess:) to others I was a slut (thats what they called me) apparently when you become a "woman" it meant you have had sex and so that spread pretty fast. But I could still escape and write...I also was found to be kind by my teachers and in the subjects I was ahead in they would let me help in special ed. I loved those kids...one of the boys name was Eric. Nicest kid...I still see him in public and he will walk up to me and give me a hug and I thank God that I had those friendships at that time. That time was awesome and so good for me. I could love them and they loved me.
Now onto junior high and it was much the same but I had writing. I journaled and wrote poetry. I even submitted some of it in some contests and won prizes these were personal victories. I ignored the riff raff stayed our of there way and we avoided each other for a good year. Sixth grade was particularly uneventful.
Over the summer a new family had moved into the housing development on the golf course next to our house and I met their kids while searching for golf balls to sell one day. They were awesome. The girls name was Melissa and she was two years older than me...but she had no friends and had not been tainted by anyone else's opinion this is the part of the story where I tell you we was like peas and carrots. Her brother was in my grade and had a crush on me...I'm not making this part up it was for real, I run into his parents every now and again and they remind me...it was good for me.
Seventh grade was okay. I did much of the same....avoidance was key. That worked and if I could keep my nose in a book during the bus ride and tune them all out out I could manage.
The summer after seventh grade my parents started entering me in pageants I did well and it was fun. My parents thought it would be good for my self confidence and they were right. I met some other girls. Felt good about me. I mean it seemed like a good idea.
You can imagine how this news went over at the beginning of 8th grade. My school had gotten wind and my teacher asked me to talk about my pageant experience in class. This is not the time in a girls life to set them apart in my opinion. I needed to blend... disappearing would have been fine:) Well the bullying started pretty quickly again after that and those same girls had gotten bigger and meaner and it was bad, real bad. If I sat in the front of class they would throw gum in my hair, when I walked down the hallway they would throw food at me. They would draw rude pictures of me and hang them in and on my locker. One girl started a rumor that I had an eating disorder, it got ugly, they would leave rotten food in my locker and write eat on the bag. Until one day a girl invited me over to her house, I was excited my parents loved the idea and let me go. Well it was a ploy turns out,there was a plan, other girls were waiting at her house when I got there and they ended up shoving me in her garage and turned the lights off. i was in there for some time...screaming and yelling. Her parents were at work. And once they locked me in they all left. Her brother finally ended up coming home and let me out. I ran so fast out of that house. Knocked on the door of another girl from schools house and asked her mom to use the phone. This would be the first time I told my mom about all that had happened that year. This would be the first time I asked for help. And my mom delivered almost on a white horse even:) What did my mom do you ask? Well what any rational mother would do...she drove right over to that girls house knocked on the door and tore her a new one. This did not make matters any better, but I can't say I wouldn't have wanted to do the same thing.
Two weeks later my mom switched me to Lynden and I tried to make friends I mostly made friends with boys but that is another story for another day.
Why am I telling you this tonight? Tonight I went to soccer. And wouldn't you know it one of those lovely ladies from so long ago was on the other team and we were matched up for the entirety of the game. She put her hands on me and pushed me and I have to ashamedly tell you I have never wanted to hit someone so badly ever. It was hard to look at her....she played physical like that all night and its hard for me to think she wasn't doing it on purpose. I attempted to pray for peace and forgiveness but my self control was lacking and my ability to forgive was lost. And after the game I was so emotionally jarred I cried the whole way home. I was not just pissed(sorry for the language) because of her and what she had done. I was pissed that I never told on them, that I felt like I had no advocate, that I had no safety or protection....and that I still let it bother me some 20 years later. And the truth is I am sure that girl doesn't think about it at all.
So here is the straight and narrow on the thing. My sophomore year I met a boy a good boy and part of our relationship included church and I gave my life to Jesus that year. And that year after some more backpedaling I started to heal, I started to realize that there was a God in heaven that loved me and made me on purpose. This was relief for me. The greatest realization ever!
These are the good things that have coem out of some of this. In the last few years after much therapy and trial I have learned to speak up for my self somewhat effectively. I believe this situation helped me be that much better of a mom. I am always telling my kids they can talk to me about anything and they do. They have both used me as an advocate in a healthy way. They know how to problem solve, how to advocate for themselves and then come get me if needed. I am proud that I haven't turned them into tattletales, they know when to pull me in and I know when to make them duke it out.
I want you to be aware that bullying is real and your kids may not always come tell you. Be aware, Be Aware. Never stop talking to them. Never think they don't need you to care. They will need you as long as you are on God's green earth.
Please teach your children the effects of bullying. I was ashamed that it still bothered me this evening and I had nothing to be ashamed of. I talk to my kids often about be inclusive, about loving others and mostly just about being kind. Kindness goes a long way.
Teach them that it is okay to say no. That it is okay to stand up for themselves.
Don't just think you have good kids and they go to good schools.....this is real and can happen anywhere. I have met countless others that went through the same things as I did in better schools with "regular" home lives.
And as for me. This experience in general and even the experience this evening was in its own way so good for me. I am so blessed in so many ways. And GOd has used these unfortunate circumstances to form me into someone I may never have become. I am proud of who I am and not ashamed.....I have a voice and I can use it for good. I am not my own I belong to something someone so much bigger and I will continue to allow him to use me for good:)
My name is Jessica Jager and I believe God prompted me to write this...so I did:)
School is first up. Teaching has been so fun this year. My students are great, the curriculum is fun and those kids say some funny stuff. I have spunky kids, loud kids, chubby little crazy kids, and kids that think they are too cool for me to call them homies. I have realized that I really love the junior high age group! All in all I think its great.
I have however realized a few things...
Number one if the water in your jar that your drinking from is tinged with color at all junior highers will think that you are drinking pee. This will be distracting until you figure out the root of this disruption. Then it will be funny to everyone including you. Its not pee people it has apple cider vinegar in it.
At first I asked, "why would you think I would drink pee." Then I remembered I teach a class of 6-8 graders. If it looks yellow its pee.
Number two I have been packing a lunch when I pack the kids in the morning. Two things I have learned...warm carrots sticks...not so great in lunch they are rubbery and well just yuck. I do love me a pb and j though!
Food preservation has been happening in the classroom as well as at home. I am knee deep in apples and tomatoes.
T is for tomato. These came from our very own garden.
As well as these and about 4 more quarts in the freezer. I wish I would have planted about ten more of those plants, they have been great producers. Nothing makes me happier then harvesting produce form my own garden.
These came from a lady that gets them from another lady. Its that sort of situation:)
I am hoping to do about 60 more pounds of tomatoes coming from a hippie friend of mine in Bellingham.
By the end of tonight I will have canned about 60 lbs of apples and should really do about 60 more if anyone has or knows of a tree that is being unpicked let me know I will come and pick it for you. Along with 60 lbs of peaches although my dear friend lLea bailed me out with t hose when our bathroom died. Several quarts of pickled things and lots of berries. Its a lot of work but a lot of fun too and oh so yummy.
And in other news we have been trying to have lots of random dates with the kids in the evenings after dinner. Last night we went and checked out Menchies a fro yo place in Bellingham. It was yummy. When we walked in the door Grace said to Elliot,"Elliot just be naturals." I am not sure where she heard this but where do they hear half the things they say.
Aren't they cute. I just love these three. Its not the easiest job being the wife and the mom but it is certainly the best job. I feel entirely blessed in it and sometimes entirely exhausted as well:)
In news to come my Grandma turns 80 on Saturday. I just love my Grandma but I will tell you more about that later I suppose. Last night she told me she can't watch x Factor anymore because Britney Spears is just not a very nice girl. I'm telling you if you knew my Grandma you would love her just as much as I do...she is pretty much the bees knees.
In dealing with the Dr. this week I couldn't help but be offended when he suggested I take my daughter off all foods with high fructose corn syrup and any additives that I could not read on the box. I informed him she doesn't eat this any how at home. He looked at me confused and said oh well this is the first thing we tell families now that are experiencing digestive problems. He went on to say that my daughter needed to be eating 4-5 servings of raw vegetables and fruits a day....check I said. He replied well I have never met a kid that eats enough produce and then went on to talk to me as if I were two about what a serving size is. Yep....listen buddy I actually teach nutrition and am pretty far into living off the land as much as possible. He argued...I let it go.
It was frustrating to me to hear that our physicians now treat everyone as if they eat crap. Yep I said it crap. Over half of what they offer us in the grocery store is crap. Filler food....Food to be made on the go. Food that can sit on the shelves for months and months without going bad. Food coated in things not made for human consumption.
So I teach nutrition for kids at a school in our community. I love my job. I love teaching kids about what their bodies actually needs, whats healthy, how to eat with moderation in mind, and introducing them to new foods they have never tried before. It is awesome. I mean this is the first time in history "they" say that a generation of children may have a shorter life expectancy than the generations before. Our kids are now faced with problems such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart problems as children...most of which can be attributed to lack of a healthy diet and lack of exercise. Its scary but it can be changed. We can teach our children to eat different than the norm. To love their veggies. And make choices for themselves that help them to live long healthy lives. And this is what I get paid to do:) Lucky me!
I have been reading tons about additives in food lately. High fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, fast food, soy, corn and the like. Did you know flavored or seasoned sausage at the store has high fructose corn syrup in it as well as most ketchups? Did you know chicken nuggets have over 30 ingredients pumped into them? Did you know most frozen foods are coated in petroleum products to keep them preserved while they wait to be purchased? That unfermented soy products have been found to have links with infertility, early menopause, and cancer?
Its easy as moms to get busy and not take the time to read the label or make something at home, instead running through the drive through seems rather tempting. Heck we go out sometimes and my kids get a chicken nugget every now and again. But do I like that these are my options when faced with a day to busy to cook? Nope. Thats why we Jager's eat mostly at home as a family. When we go out we choose restaurants that serve local hippie food that is made from fresh ingredients. Its more expensive but I feel better about whats being put in our bodies and don't have to worry about it.
This is the choice we have made. Mostly because I value feeding my family with the healthiest food possible for the cost out of my pocket is far worth it in reflection of the possible long time effects of what is offered to me as a convenience.
It is hard for me sometimes to not become offended at the mention of what might be the norm. I want to jump up and down and say not us, not us, not because I feel this makes us better but because some of the things that are classified as "food" these days absolutely terrify me. Its also offensive when people make reference to how busy they are so they can't possibly justify spending time on making a meal for their family most nights. Well listen up people I know busy and so do most of the other moms I know so busy is an excuse not a get out of jail free card. There are plenty of whole foods meals that can thrown in your crock pot or made the night before after you put your kids to bed or made in far under an hour when you get home.
Its a choice eating this way. Not always the easy one but definitely the one that makes the most sense to me.
I hope me being offended hasn't offended anyone else. I do hope it has given you some food for thought. Given you reason to ask more questions about where your food comes from and how it was prepared. And challenged you to read the label(if you can't read an ingredient combined with not knowing what it is don't out it in your body). Now not everything your read is true and some things are totally sensationalized and somethings are biased being as they are put out by the very company that crates the ingredient so of couse they won't say anything bad about what they grow. Awareness is the key to wisdom and knowledge is power:)
And in the words of a wise Farmer Friend of mine.....these are not rules just convictions of mine. I am not at all the authority on any of this.
So we have been dealing with some ....ahem...health issues. I'm not going to go into much detail because I think some day Grace would read this and harm me. But I will say we have had our share of great Dr. experience over the last couple days and they have done their darnedest to make her as comfortable in talking about her situation as possible. So two funny quotes for you tonight and then I promise to come back with something more substantial real soon.
First one is from Grace to her Dr. - in response to him asking a specific question. In all seriousness. "ummmm...my mother says we can't talk about things like that ." yep and then she refused to make eye contact until I reassured her she wasn't going to be getting busted for talking about the topic with her Dr. At this point she whispered her responses and looked at the ceiling. She was mortified and I was for her but she muscled through. It's hard to watch your child go through these things but I couldn't do it for her shes big enough to speak for herself no its heartbreaking for both of us.
And lastly the dr.s response to Grace...." my job is poop,to talk about it all day,yep that's my job poop,everybody does it.". Grace looked at me like is this guy for real with horror, disgust and shock. I shook my head at her in agreement with what he said and she looked back at him and said,"that's gross.". Got her to talk though and we are on the road to recovery. I'm pretty sure she was questioning my judgement when I put her in the hands of this whacko....however it won't be the last time:)
This picture sums up our feeling on the experience. It's been pretty much not fun. But she's still the cutest little peanut I've yet to see.
Gwacer is her name to me most of the time. You may wonder where it came from. If I tell you you have to promise not to judge. One of my favorite movies of all time is Steel Magnolias. And one of the characters is Weeza, I always loved that for some reason and so I call Grace Gwasa (GWAY-SA) on many occasion. It may be because although she can be sweeter than sweet that can turn to sassier then sass on a dime. Either way I just love this girl more than words lately. She is so much fun...today I missed her so much I couldn't wait to pick her up after school and take her home with me. So that's what I did. We went to the grocery together and sang oldies in the car with the wind in our hair. These are the days I will remember. These are the days I hope she will remember to. Really nothing fancy just time spent being girls, without the boys enjoying each other's company.
Its been a humbling week. I have needed to dig deep to remember to be thankful in all things. To search for the positive. And to remember what really matters. Its been tough but we've made it.
I was sharing with my friend about our situation and she gave me the sweetest compliment. Wether she was just trying to give me a pick me up I'm not sure but it made remember that sometimes God isn't just using your situation to teach you. My friend said I always know you Jager's will be fine because you always have an overwhelming peace about you like its all going to work out, faith that spreads over all she said. Now I assure you she sees everything in me I hide no tears from this woman...she is someone I consider not only a confidant but a friend. I thanked her for her words and then I went home and thanked God for using me in a way I had no idea that I could be used.
The truth is Brian and I do have a strong faith. It doesn't mean we don't freak out from time to time or crumble, however I have learned that circumstances are just temporary, money is just money and things are just things. The only thing that matters is my faith in God. Aside from that my little family comes next and if there is one thing that works its is my husband and I's ability to work as a team. Times of stress have always brought us closed and we are always very careful to keep them separate from our relationship.
This last week would be no different when the night before school started we had to move our kids out of our house. I had decided to replace the tile in the bathroom and upon removing a bit of tile found that we had a very large problem. Not only was there a very large leak but it had obviously been leaking for a very long time. And it had created a very large amount of very nasty black mold. Once we uncovered the mold I knew we couldn't leave it uncovered but we couldn't cover it back up. So we moved out. All of us the night before school started. Talk about stress and upheaval. Thank heavens for grandma's and family and friends, this wouldn't have worked without them.
So you guessed it we flung ourselves into a bathroom remodel that we had not planned on in any way shape or form. There were a lot of concerns....number one - Brian couldn't take anytime off of work being in the employment situation he is in right now (with the job possibility),Number two- yeah so this was going to cost a bunch of money and being cash only makes these sorts of situations nerve wracking and it requires a heap of faith, Number three - we only have one bathroom , number four - we do all the work ourselves in our house.
So we spent every moment after work until midnight or 1am ripping out our bathroom and putting a new one in. Yep we had to rip the whole thing out. Joists, subfloor...everything. It was sickening. However we were so thankful to find the problem now rather than finding out from renters or because the bathtub fell through the floor (not being dramatic this could have happened).
And as of Tuesday we had a new bathroom that we could use it whatever way we needed. And it is beautiful.
And I need to mention the money part. We have a couple months a year that grant us an extra pay period which equals "extra money." This was one of those months. At the beginning of August I had about 4 things I needed to spend that extra money on but by the time it came I had budgeted and paid for all of them. God knew already what and when we would need that money. And now its gone:) It was so obvious that God was in charge the whole time.
He granted us safety, time, money, patience and the knowledge to deal.
I was continually reminded how thankful I am for a capable husband. He is my best. He looked at me last Wednesday night and said this wouldn't be the date I would have chosen to take you on. I had literally just been been praying to God and thanking him for such an amazing companion. It doesn't matter what we are doing I just like being with him.
And now for the pics.
Me right before I started the demo. Before the knowledge of the nightmare.
Me with the knowledge of the nightmare.
Where there wasn't wet rot there was dry rot.
Six layers of floor. One of which was cardboard scraps screwed into the subfloor layer beneath.
The wreckage pile was taller than me.
The new floor.
We invented a new olympic sport called joist balancing. It includes a crowbar and rickety old joists.
Not really an OSHA approved work environment.
This was right before we broke that pipe you see towards the bottom of the photo. That was real exciting:)
New floor floor. I can't tell you how much you appreciate this after having to rip one out. I think this was at about 1 in the morning:)
New tub. Did I mention the previous bath tub installers bolted the bathtub to the wall. So there was no way to remove it carefully...hence the ripping and tearing of the old one. IT was awesome folks.
Shower doors. Oh and the Brewer he was a big help.
The beginnings of some storage. Welcome to IKEA the land of 6 billion tiny pieces.
I put it together all by myself and it appears that it will stay together.
And a new shelf that is not hanging crooked although the picture makes it look that way.
The one thing that stayed the same was the toilet we managed to save that:)
Oh and what caused the leak you ask? An improperly installed bathtub drain.