My Random List of Learning

You know, if you’re not learning you’re in a rut, right?  The way to stay young and keep your mind sharp is to always be learning something new.  I recently compiled My Random List of Learning - the three top things I want to learn this year.

Number 1 on my list is surfing.  A few days ago we were at the beach watching the surfers ride the waves when it hit me.

I never learned to surf.

I have lived in California for most of my life yet I’ve never been on a surfboard.

I wondered to myself - why not learn now?

Because, I told myself – there are loads of reasons you can’t. Here are the top six.

  1. Shark attacks (they happen for real)
  2. I’m over 50.
  3. I have a torn rotator cuff.
  4. I am a mediocre swimmer.
  5. I’m a grandmother.
  6. The Pacific Ocean is cold!
  7. Sharks.

I won that internal debate with myself, yet the thought kept nagging at me. Why not? WHY NOT!?

toes in the sand

This is what grandmas should be doing at beaches. Aaah!

So, I countered that list with another list.

  1. Shark attacks rarely happen.
  2. I’m only 52.
  3. I can strengthen my arm.
  4. I don’t need to be an Olympic swimmer to surf.
  5. I could surf with my grandchildren.
  6. The water is cold?  So is life, sister.  Suck it up!
  7. Did I mention shark attacks rarely happen?

If you want to be sure to win an argument, have it with yourself.

I am now putting it out there in the universe.  I start physical therapy next week.  I am working at strengthening my shoulder and increasing my mobility.  My goal is to be strong enough to take lessons by next summer.

Number 2 on My Random List of Learning is – whistling (I told you this list was random).

I have always wanted to be able to whistle really loud.  When I was a little girl, my mom had a close friend – a beautiful woman who I admired - and she could split the air with the volume and shrill sound of her whistle.  I was in awe of this talent and vowed that when I grew up, I would be able to make heads turn with the awesomeness of my whistle.

Sad to say, my whistle is weak.   Sometimes life is disappointing like that.  So, I’ve been watching YouTube tutorials on whistling and am determined to figure out how to do this!  So far, I’m not having any luck but when I master my technique, I will share it with you.

Number 3 on My Random List of Learning is knitting.

I watch people knitting and it seems so…serene and relaxing, yet productive at the same time.  I attempted to learn years ago but aimed a bit too high by picking a sweater as my first knitting project.  I think I will start with a scarf this time.  Anyone want to teach me?

So there it is.  My Random List of Learning.

Now I’m asking you.  What have you always wished you knew how to do?  What is a skill you admire in others?  What would be on your My Random List of Learning?

Transitions – Sometimes They’re Hard (for the mothers)

Last Thursday was Rachel’s high school graduation.

Where has the time gone?  The last time we did this was 13 years ago when Ashley graduated from high school.  With such a huge gap between kids, it honestly seemed like this day would never come.  By the time Sam graduates in two years, I will have had kids in grade school for almost 30 years.  Yikes!


cap and gown, graduation


Rachel,  I know you do not like to be the center of attention, so this post will make you cringe a little but I didn’t want the occasion to pass without telling you how deeply loved you are.  You were our miracle baby and have brought our family an incredible amount of joy.  You have such a tender heart and a sweet spirit and that voice!  When you sing, it melts this mama’s heart and the hearts of all who hear it.

I am so excited for all that lies ahead for you as you face the next chapter in your life!  I  know it is thrilling and scary at the same time.  But I also know God has amazing plans for you so hold His hand in the thrilling parts and squeeze it even tighter through the scary parts!


I wrote this post over and over again and even had some words of advice for you but I realized I’ve spent the last 18 years giving you advice so let me just say one thing.  Your kindness and sweet spirit may be undervalued in society but don’t allow a broken value system to change who you are.  Kindness is life changing and world changing!  Step into your future with your head held high.

Your Marmee loves you more!


“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Jeremiah 29:11


Diapers Are Not Forever

Hi, it’s me, Ashley, the other part of Jenny and Pearl. I’ve been busy working, raising Mae and growing another baby so I haven’t had time to write but I wanted to share something with you today. It’s good to be back!

head in the pillows

head in the pillows

My baby went poop in the toilet yesterday.  This fills me with unspeakable joy, a sense of accomplishment and also a huge wave of sadness. Where has the time gone?  What happened to my tiny baby girl with the bald head and chubby wrists?

The scam of having kids is that if you miss a certain stage a lot, you tell yourself that the best way to experience it again is to have another kid. This explains 19 kids and counting.

Time has a funny way of blurring the excruciating pain of childbirth and the zombie state of the first weeks of a sleeping routine, but it clearly remembers bald heads, chubby wrists and that milky smell.

So where does that leave me? Wanting more kids but cautious because of the time (or lack of it) that I feel I will have for more of those stages.  My struggle with being a mom who works outside of the home full time isn’t in thinking that my children will miss out or be unhappy. I’m actually more concerned with the fact that I’M the one missing out and I don’t think that’s selfish to say.   I know I wasn’t there for Mae’s first steps. I try not to let myself think about the “firsts” that I missed.  While others had the time to create a photo collage for baby’s first trip to the grocery store, I was probably selling expensive furniture at a trade show.  She is a happy, developing child with a strong sense of self and a clear attachment to both her Mama and Dada, yet as her Mama, I feel a sense of loss and a sadness about the future times she will have “first” experiences without me.

Part of letting go and learning to let your kids grow up outside of your supervision is this: enjoying the moments and times you DO have together, not focusing always on what isn’t there.  But for me, this pushes me harder to create a life for my family that would allow for MORE of that time, especially when they are so little!  Some day she won’t want to hold my hand or cuddle with me in bed or hear what I have to say, but NOW she does and now is what matters.