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recap

The Bad of Good Friday

May 1, 2017

Hello MAY! I am quite a few days late but I still would like to share with you our Good Friday adventure…

A few weeks before Easter, when I was in the narthex of our church, I signed our family up to be “greeters” for Good Friday. Usually on Good Friday, there isn’t a collection or offering so I thought being greeters was a manageable task for our little tribe.

6:00AM

Our day started at the crack of dawn when both boys decided to utilize all daylight hours of our day off from school.

9:00AM

We had a social work home visit, something we do monthly as foster parents. After our social worker departed, Jude was able to get in a two-hour nap, I squeezed in a run, and Jman helped Jared out in the yard. Our day was off to a great start!

1:00PM

Knowing we needed to be at the church early to greet everyone, we started getting ready quite early.

2:30PM

We showed up to the church and us greeters were greeted by an empty parking lot. I ran inside to check the bulletin and discovered that our Good Friday service was at 7:00PM …. NOT 3:00PM. We were 4.5 hours early.

I had never been to ANYTHING this early in my life so I had Jared take photos of me to celebrate this moment.

What to do with our extra time was the big question.


2:36PM

First, we headed to town. I was able to get some supplies from Target. Then, we stopped into our local restaurant to have our “big meal” of the day.

4:30PM

We still had two hours left so we went to the local school and played on the playground. I got a little bored but survived. The boys played hard at the playground and I was SURE Jude would end up sleeping through the entire service.


6:30PM

The fun began. Jman didn’t want to come inside the church so he greeted people from a landscape rock. Meanwhile, Jude made it his mission to shake everyone’s hand as they walked in the door. In fact, he would throw a fit if anyone tried to sneak by us without giving him a handshake.

7:00PM

When the service started, Jude did not want any of the books or silent toys that I brought for him. Instead, he spent 15 minutes taking hymnals out of the pews and stacking them. Once he started throwing them, we shut down that activity.

7:20PM

We were only twenty minutes into the service and Jude was NOT thrilled to be in the church. After trying many tricks and distractions, it was time for him to leave. Once we were back in the narthex, Jude wanted to make sure that everyone knew where he was. He kept running away from me and knocking on the glass that divided the narthex and the nave. (For the record, I had to “google” these terms.) When I would pull his hands back, he would squish his face against the glass and make funny noises. When I pulled him away from doing that, he had a (freaking) fit. Jude must have been crying for quite a long time because Jared sent Jman out with Jude’s sippy cup. Remembering I had snacks in the car, I sent Jman back in the nave of the church to ask Jared for the car keys.

This is where is gets even better…

Jman entered the church yelling, “Jared! Jared? Jared! Jared? Jess needs the car keys!”

I didn’t know this happened because I was outside at this point. Jared gave Jman the wipes and NOT the car keys. When Jman found me outside and handed me the wipes I followed him back into the church and asked him to go ask Jared for the car keys…NOT the wipes. He once again entered the church yelling for Jared. This time, I, along with everyone else, heard him yelling. The congregation completely lost it. I could hear the laughter from where I was standing.

Once both boys were under control, we entered back into the church to participate in part of the Good Friday service. As we were walking, Jman saw a mouse trap and yelled, “Woah! A mousetrap! I see a mousetrap!” Once again, people started laughing.

8:30PM (approx.)

We only had communion left and at this point, Jman was sitting with Jared and I was still with Jude in the back. I was the last person to go up to communion and Jude was loving that everyone was watching him. Just as I walked up to the priest, Jude chucked his cup four or five pews back. Once again, people started laughing. The kids in the front row, who acted out the Stations of the Cross, got the giggles and I booked it out of the church with Jude.

9:00PM? (Who even knows what time it is at this point? )

Finally, the service was over. I don’t think I have ever been so embarrassed in my life! I felt like those hours showed me how shitty of a job I am doing as a parent. Other kids were very well behaved and ours acted like wild animals. I was defeated. I felt guilty that our boys disrupted everyone’s’ time of worship. I wanted to cry and hide in the car BUT I couldn’t because the car keys were still missing.

As everyone was exiting and I was looking for the keys, I would cringe anytime someone came up to talk to us. I was expecting them to tell us to figure out how to control our kids. Maybe someone would ask us to sit in the back the whole entire service next time? I was expecting the worst.

Guess what? We received nothing but positive comments from people. Jman was complimented on what a great helper he was. Jude was told that he had a great arm! We were already struggling and it was appreciated that nobody added to that. The service was a disaster for our family but thankfully,
we have a supportive parish that welcomes all that enter.

 

Travel: A weekend in New York city

December 5, 2016

As a kid, I grew up watching hockey games at the University of North Dakota. One of my favorite memories was riding the zamboni during period breaks on the opening night of the Ralph Engelstad Arena. Although it would take a lot to top that experience, a weekend trip to New York City to cheer on our home team came awfully close!

Friday-3:45AM
I woke up and realized that we overslept. We hurried out of the house and we were on the road by 4:00 AM. We arrived to Fargo at 5:10 and squeezed through security with one minute to spare. You may think I am just being dramatic but we literally had ONE MINUTE before they were shutting the door. When we got to our seats, I turned around to see my shoeless mom walking down the isle. We were off to a wild start!

(Watching 13 Hours– I highly recommend it!)

After our layover in Chicago, we arrived in New York City. In looking for a taxi, Andres, a random man I met on the sidewalk, lined us up with a car service and to our hotel we went.

Tip: If you have a party larger than four, instead of getting two taxis, look into getting a private car service. It can be cheaper to have a car service provide you with a suburban (and driver), than flagging two taxis. In our case, that was true. 

Central Park
After lunch, we walked to Central Park to look at trees, rocks, and grass.

Jared asked me to Photoshop pigeons on his arm like in Home Alone, but I thought a random photo of him sticking his arm out was more entertaining.

pigeon

Lion King
We stayed at the Marriott Marquis and the Lion King broadway show happened to be a few feet from our hotel door. As someone that isn’t crazy about theater, I thought this production was outstanding. After the show, we were all raving about the play. My dad, however, was not as impressed. We later realized that the play didn’t make sense to him because he had never seen the movie… He always surprises me!

Tip: If you are going to go to the Lion King musical that follows the storyline of the movie, watch the movie. 

Night Caps
We went out for drinks after the Lion King and only walked a few feet before flagging down a few carriages. We pressured our bike driver to race the other driver and we lost. After a few drinking games and changes of scenery, we called it a night.

Hockey Hockey Hockey
On Saturday, we did some sightseeing, napping, and eating. My dad insisted that we all wore unflattering matching green jerseys on our Saturday adventures. Before the hockey game, we went to two receptions for UND fans. Both were completely full and we had to leave. That’s when I knew we had a wild night ahead of us. Upon arriving to the game, we met one of my college friends, Joe, and did our best to show him a true North Dakota hockey experience.

I think we succeeded.

(Keeping up with the UND football game.)

(Matching green tents courtesy of the man footing the bill.)

Sunday- 6:00AM
Bright and early we left to the airport. Once again, we used a car service and it ended up being the same price as a taxi fare. By 4:00 PM, we landed in our great state of North Dakota.

Las Vegas 2018
I am thankful we were blessed with such an amazing opportunity to travel to NYC and watch our hockey team dominate. I am already looking forward to the Las Vegas hockey game in 2018!

Weekend Recap

November 7, 2016

FriYAY
After work, we packed up the kiddos and went to the big town of Forest River, North Dakota for supper. Being it was the first Friday of the month, they had a prime rib special. Jude made himself at home in the bar resturant and both boys put on the charm. Jude even got M&Ms from our waitress in return for smiles and kisses. For this mom, plain beer and great company were the highlights of the evening!

Saturday
On Saturday, our foster-child’s sibling came over for a play date. I was extremely excited to see that our local movie theater, River Cinema, had a sensory-friendly showing of the movie Trolls. To make it sensory friendly, they keep the lights on, the volume low, and allow you to walk around. At one point, I believe there were 5 of us parents standing so that we could wrangle the kids running around the theater. I was so appreciative of this sensory-friendly option. With it, I was able to take three kids to a movie without any added stress. I hope this option continues to be available in the future! The kids said they loved the movie. 

Attention Parents:  If you take kids to this movie, bring a book… unless trolls farting cupcakes is your forte.

Sunday
Sunday was another beautiful day outside! We went to my parents’ farm and my mom took some great family photos of all of us. Although we will not be able to use photos of our foster child in our Christmas card, I am so happy we will have the photos to remind us of our journey as a family of four.

Monday Morning
When I was in college, I loved daylight savings because when the bars close at 2:00 a.m., it is really 3:00 a.m.! As a parent, I despise it. A 5:00 a.m. human alarm clock named Jude made sure that we had PLENTY of time to play before school. Uffff.

Happy Monday! 

Weekday Recap (Illustrations not my own) 

October 21, 2016

Weekday Recap

Weekdays =1

Jess = 0

This week has been a wild one so far at the Gowans.

Jude was sick on Monday & Tuesday but thankfully, his Grandma was able to watch him while Jared and I worked. On Tuesday afternoon, I got a call from the school saying our other “Little Man” (LM) was sick. LM will sometimes fake sick, so I didn’t take the report from the school too seriously.

I still had some work to do so after I picked up LM from school, we headed over to the University. As I was unlocking my door to the office, LM said he could feel something funny in his throat. Before I could even figure out what he meant by that, he projectile vomited everywhere!

To make matters worse, classes dismissed right at that second, so we had to guard the puke on the floor from the college students walking through the hallways to their next classes.

LM was quite proud of his huge splat of puke, and enjoyed directing traffic around his pool of puke! He made sure to announce to everyone that they needed to walk around his puke. “Watch out… I puked all over the floor… I only had chocolate milk for lunch… Don’t slip in my puke… That is all MY puke!”

(Photo I quickly snapped of the college students walking by)

Thank goodness LM is cute.
………………………………………………

God really wanted me to slow down this week… literally.

When we got home on Tuesday night, I heard hissing in our garage. Don’t worry, it wasn’t a snake, it was just a flat tire with a huge nail sticking out. My wonderful husband put on a spare, that I swear was made for a go-cart, and I was forced to drive 55mph.

I HATE having work done on my car, because as a female, I feel as though people try to take advantage of me. They don’t realize that the girl walking up in high heels grew up on a farm, and isn’t an idiot.

These are things I have heard from businesses in Grand Forks, when my car needed to be serviced. For your entertainment, I also will share my responses.

(Photo taken while I was responding)

Service Man:  Your air filter is dirty and needs to be replaced, so you are not breathing in toxins.

Jess: Isn’t it ironic that you are telling me that with a cigarette stuck behind your ear? My air filter looks great! You can just blow out the dust if you think it is too toxic for me.

………..

Service Man: (After taking my tire off) We can’t patch your tire (with the perfect nail hole).

Jess: Oh shoot. Can you put on the spare for me and I will drive somewhere else to get it patched?

Service Man: Oh, I guess we can give it a try.


……

Service Man: If you don’t replace all four tires at the same time, your car will not be as efficient and your gas mileage will go down.

Jess: I would rather lose a mile per gallon then pay hundreds of dollars for tires I don’t need.

….

Service Man: You need all four new tires at the same time, so your car doesn’t shake.

Jess: I live on gravel. My car always shakes.

….

Service Man: (After draining the oil from my car) It looks as though your car requires special oil.

Jess: How much does it cost?

Service Man: About $120

Jess: I will go somewhere else then.

Service Man: We already took the oil out of your car. It will blow up if you drive away.

Jess: If you do not give me non-synthetic oil, I will call to get my car towed out of here. In the meantime, it will just have to sit there.

Service Man: Ok. We will put the generic oil in.


When possible, I try to take preventive measures as to not get ripped off. Here are my favorites:

1- As soon as I pull up, I write down my husband’s phone number for the service man. I let him know that if he believes I need anything other than a basic oil change, he can call Jared to talk about it. In the last three years, Jared has yet to receive a phone call.

2-Whenever I have a problem with my car in Grand Forks, I go to American Tire. Unfortunately, They don’t have swanky lounges, free pop, or WIFI. They DO have great customer service and are also very respectful.


The weekend is in sight.