Don’t miss a post!

subscribe by email

Personal Stuff

This Happened


Sunday morning I woke up at 8:03am. I can’t quite remember the last time I slept until 8am. I thought my husband had gotten up with the girls, but then I realized he was still snoozing too.

I walked downstairs and found my girls content on the couch. Emma had put on a show for Morgan and she was doing Lexia on the iPad.

What might not seem like a big deal was monumental to me. We had graduated out of the baby years.

My babies were able to get up and entertain themselves until we got up. I might have had a tear come to my eye. No, not tears of sadness, tears of JOY.

Life with little kids is so intense, physically and emotionally. Raising newborns to walking/talking humans takes a LOT of hard work.

The first year was a sleep-deprived blur to me, one of those times where I often ask myself, “how did we get through that?”  The second year was spent hunched over chasing and redirecting my walking explorer to keep them from eating something they shouldn’t or pulling the entire roll of toilet paper down the hall.

The third year gets a little easier, but there are still those irrational moments because they want what they want and now can express it. Then when we got to the somewhat easier third year with my oldest, we started all over again with little sister, so the process repeated.

So when I ask myself if I miss those years, my answer is…heeeeellllll nooooooo! I wouldn’t change it for the world and I cherish the sweet memories, but I don’t miss them because it feels so GOOD to be at this next stage.

Because life with a 4 1/2 and 7 1/2 year old is dramatically easier. Being a parent is never totally easy, but it feels like my husband and I can breathe again.  We can go out and leave our kids with a babysitter, and there are no lists of instructions. There are no diapers, bottles, strollers, nap schedules.

I can get together with friends and the kids will run off and play together so I can actually have conversations again.  

And, I also love having conversations with my girls.

I love the fact we left the movie “Frozen” and they were both filled with so many questions, we analyzed the storyline for an hour together. I love seeing the people they are becoming. They have always been who they are, out of the womb, but it is really fun watching them become more of who they are supposed to be.

They are so different, it’s fascinating to me.

Now I know the tween and teen years will present its own set of challenges, but in parenting when you are in a moment of time when things are GOOD, you have to really appreciate it, which is why I am writing this post.

So, if you are chasing around a toddler this morning, and are still IN IT, on your most exhausting of days, just know that there will be a time down the road where you will find yourself realizing you have also graduated.

But only when you have put in the hard work and long days can you fully appreciate your graduation day.

I love you moms, keep up the good work.

How about you? What stage are you in? 

Raising Punctual Kids


Confession: I was raised in an ultra-punctual family. So raising punctual kids has been important to me, by nature.

The Kendalls were always on time, often a few minutes early. Even today, if my sister, my mom and myself are all meeting up someplace (disclaimer: without kids) and coming from different places, we will all walk in at the exact same time, on the dot. Punctuality is in my blood.

Having kids made me loosen up a bit, because as we know, even with best efforts to get out the door on time, endless things can come up to alter departure time (i.e. “I have to go potty!” after getting buckled in the car. UGH!!!) So, I am not as punctual today with kids in tow as I would have been in my prior kid-free life, but still, I make every effort to be on time. Unexpected traffic can often put me over the edge.

Since punctuality is important to me, I have found myself inadvertently teaching my kids the importance of being on time.

So, here are some of my tips on raising punctual kids.

Work Backward and Set Departure Time 

The most important thing to being punctual is, of course, departing at the right time. My parents taught me to estimate driving time, parking time, walking in time, etc. When you factor in how much time it will take you door to door, you can figure out what time you need to leave.

Let’s say the family is going to a movie that starts at 3:30.  I would teach the kids to estimate about 10 minutes to drive there, probably 10 more minutes to park in the structure and walk in, 1o minutes to buy tickets and popcorn, etc. So, we would figure we should leave at 3:00pm to make it to our movie on time.

Estimate Getting Ready Time

OK, now that you have the departure time set, the next step is to teach your kids to estimate how long it will take them to get ready. Do they have to shower? Clean room? Pick out an outfit?  Have them pay attention to the clock when they are getting ready and look at how long it takes.

This way you can then back up getting ready time from departure time, and know, for example, if you are leaving for church at 8:45am, and it takes 30 minutes to get ready, you have to start getting ready at 8:15am.

I remember the days when I would budget an hour, sometimes an hour and 15 minutes to shower and get ready. Remember the leisurely showers, long blow dries, hair styling, careful make-up application?

That time is down to 20 minutes now with a shower, tops. Pretty amazing how become a mom can make you ultra efficient!

Punctuality is an Important Value

Raising punctual kids will be something they will thank you for someday, because to me, it is a really important character trait.

Whether it’s getting to a friend’s birthday lunch, college class, job interview or work shift on time, being punctual is something that will never steer them wrong. Because I have yet to meet many bosses that say, “Oh, get here whenever!”

How do you feel about punctuality and raising punctual kids? Do you have any tips to share? 

Get Out of Your Own Way This New Year


Happy 2014!


Every New Year’s Day I always find myself reflecting on the year past and think about things I want to do in the new year.  I learned an important lesson in 2013 about getting out of my own way and I wanted to pass it on this new year’s day.

This past May I organized a team through my daughter’s Daisy Scout troop to raise money for the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation to participate in their annual Reaching for the Cure event and signed myself up to run the 10K.

I started running in 2010 for the first time, and did 3 half marathons in one year. I burnt out a little the last couple of years on distance running, but felt ready to do a 10K again.

Then I gave myself the goal to run it in under an hour, which would be a challenge for me.

Training started off good, but during my runs I found myself going slower than I wanted to. Then I began to doubt myself and these sorts of thoughts started to creep into my head…

I am just not a fast runner.

I don’t need the extra stress of making doing it under a certain time.

There’s no way I will be able to do it in an hour.

I am older now than when I trained before in 2010. 

At the trail end of the training, I caved into my doubts and decided just to do it for fun, not time.

I wouldn’t run with my Garmin so I wouldn’t know my pace. Done. Disappointment averted. But I was disappointed on the inside, because it had felt good to set a goal, and deep down I really wanted to see if I could do it.

Race day comes along and there was one other mom in our troop, Tami (pictured with me above) who had also signed up to run the 10K. We happened to run into each other at the starting line in a sea of people and were side by side for the start.

I was a little nervous because I didn’t know her pace or if I would hold her back if we started off running together. I told her I wasn’t very fast and to feel free to take off ahead of me if needed.

Then we were off!

The start of a race is always invigorating with the palpable energy of all the runners, so it is typical to run faster than your normal pace at the start. Tami and I are running at a good solid pace, completely in sync. It felt really good to be running side by side with someone, and I noticed we hadn’t let up our starting pace. At every mile marker we give each other a high five, one more down.  

After we passed mile 5, I was dying a little, but Tami continues strong and I fight to keep up with her. It’s hard, but I don’t want to fall back, so I just dig deep and do it.

As we approach the end, I wonder if there is a CHANCE I could make it in under an hour? It feels like I might have, but I didn’t know for sure. When we passed over the finish line, the clock was in the 59:40′s. HOLY crap! We did it!

Right after we finished, she turns to me and says, “That was for my best friend I lost to cancer when I was a little girl.” I had to hide the tears behind my sunglasses.

I will never forget that moment.

Not only was it the BEST feeling to achieve this goal, but it was an even BETTER feeling knowing what we had raised for such an important cause.

When the final times were posted, I finished at 59:15. 

Looking back, I realized I was the only one in the way of reaching my goal. When I got out there (of course after putting in the miles to train), I just had to DO IT. I had to get out of my own head, and trust myself.

I believe Tami was there that day to run with me to show me this, if I hadn’t run with her, I don’t think the result would have been the same. It was one of my all time favorite memories from this past year.

What Do You Want to Do This Year? 

In retrospect, I realized how many times I have heard myself say internally or to others, things like…

“I’m not…”

“I can’t…”

“I could never…”

“I would love to, but…”

“I have always wanted to _______, but I am just not…”

But saying those things to yourself doesn’t make them true.

Before I started running in 2010, I always said, I am NOT a runner. I hate running. I can’t run. But that wasn’t true. Now I am a runner, I love running, and I can run. I just had to start. I didn’t love it at first, and it was hard, but I learned I was able.

Is there something you would love to do in this New Year? Possibly something you have talked yourself out of in the past by using one of the sentences above?

I would love to challenge you this New Year to do something you have always wanted to do, and to change your internal dialog to, “I can!

Comment below and tell me something you want to do this year.

You can even use an alias (no one will know!) The time is NOW mamas, we get one chance at this lifetime, and now is the time to do the things we want to do!

Happy New Year! Bring on 2014! It’s Going to be a Great One – I just feel it! 

Wishing You a Juicy Holiday



All of us at Tiny Oranges want to wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! We hope your holiday is filled with love, cheer, and happiness.

We are taking next week off of posting to enjoy some time with our own tiny oranges. See you back the following week for some fun New Year’s posts and juicy finds. 

We are so incredibly grateful for your support. Thank you for reading and for making Tiny Oranges a part of your day. 

Lots of love,

Jen & Team 

We will never forget.

We will never forget

This post is dedicated to the heroes of 9/11 and all the families, friends and loved ones affected by the tragic events of that day.

We will never forget.

Hug those you love just that much tighter ~ Give some extra “I love you’s” ~ Give someone a heartfelt compliment ~ Say a prayer for the grieving hearts ~ Do something unexpectedly fun with your kids and treasure their giggles ~ Reach out to a friend to tell them how much them mean to you  ~ Hold those you love close

We will never forget.