What I Want for My 33rd Birthday

Chandler Is My Favorite

My husband has been pestering the ever-living daylights out of me. “What do you want for your birthday? What do you want for your birthday? What do you want for your birthday now? And then? And then?” No, really. He actually texted me a series of “and thens” like we were in an updated version of Dude, Where’s My Car? I laughed, but I still didn’t really have an answer.

You see, I don’t really want for anything. If I ever want something, I kind of save my money and buy it myself. I also, most certainly, don’t need anything. In fact, I probably need to get rid of lots of things, but that’s a different post for a different decade.

I finally came up with a list to share with my husband. I will be getting one of these things for my birthday which falls on April 25th.



I actually blame this recent and deep Baby Fever on the final episode of How I Met Your Mother. Barney? With that baby? My heart and ovaries exploded. Oh, and all of the pregnant people in my life. Thanks, pregnant friends. Nevermind the fact that I can’t actually have any more babies. Details. Gimme all the babies.


How cute would Callie be with a wittle-bitty puppy-wuppy?

No babies, you say? Fine! ALL THE PUPPIES! More specifically, a whole flipping gaggle of German Shepherd puppies, please. I want eleventy Callies running all over the place and jumping at the ceiling fan and breaking the windows and barking at everything so they can each have their own hashtag. #thingseverydogjennahasbarksat or something.



Fine. No babies. No puppies. I WANT A BABY GOAT. So bouncy! Like me! Let’s jump on the dog! And the trampoline! And fall over! And be entirely too freaking cute! (Found via The Mary Sue and sent to me by My Karen.)


What my husband thinks of a Keurig.

My husband has been adamant that we would not do well with a Keurig in this house. “We drink too much coffee for it to be cost effective.” And for a really long time, he was right. But I recently cut back severely on my coffee intake due to a change in medication. I now have one mug (or less) in the morning and sometimes, but not everyday, a mid-day or post-dinner half-mug. He’s still not sold on the Keurig itself and instead has been looking at this Hamilton Beach version that still offers a full pot of coffee as his argument is that he drinks enough coffee when he’s home to warrant a real coffee pot. And holidays and parties and get togethers and when I fall off the coffee-reduction-horse because it’s bound to happen. Whatever, I just want fancy coffee, okay?


Chandler Is My Favorite

And some diamond shoes.


At the Columbus Marathon, 2013
Us in 2013 after I finished the Columbus Half Marathon. In 2014, he’ll look just as sweaty! YAY!

Lesson: When you’ve been pestering your wife for weeks about what she wants about her birthday, and she says, “Hey, I just booked our hotel for the Columbus Half Marathon in October. I got a two room suite with a pull out couch for the boys in case we take them, weather permitting,” your reply shouldn’t be, “But what if I want to run it with you?” Because she will flip out and bounce all over the kitchen and exclaim, “THIS! THIS IS WHAT I WANT FOR MY BIRTHDAY! THIS RIGHT HERE! IT’S GOING TO BE SO FUN! IT’S GOING TO BE EPIC! BEST BIRTHDAY EVER! I ALREADY LOVE BEING THIRTY-THREE!” And you’ll sigh, and tweet about running your flappity-flap, and start looking up training plans because you’ve met your wife and you know that once you say something, you have to follow through and, OMG! BEST BIRTHDAY EVER!

So. I’ll be getting one of the things on this list. Can you guess which one it will be? Because I already took him shopping and helped him pick out running shoes. Oh yes I did.



Shop Chloe + Isabel

52 Weeks of Brotherhood: The One with My Brother

52 Weeks of Brotherhood

52 Weeks of Brotherhood

My baby brother turned 25 this week. We went to his birthday party on Saturday to celebrate with my family. At some point during the festivities, the boys and I took a walk around the back of my brother’s property, walking up the road to the top of the hill.

With the snow melted and spring trying to make its way into the land, the fallen branches from a long, hard winter littered the trail. The boys decided to work together and clear the large branches out of the way for their uncle, happily lugging and tugging and tossing sticks and limbs and even small logs off the trail and into the woods.

52 Weeks of Brotherhood

My brother and I don’t really have any memories of traipsing about the woods together. I have very specific memories of hanging out in the woods by myself and later with teenage friends, but none really with my brother. I do remember the time we took a walk down by the creek with my mom when my brother was around two-years-old. He went to throw a big rock in the creek. It hit me in the temple instead; I still swear he did it on purpose.


We weren’t always close. Eight years quantifies and qualifies as a pretty decent age gap. By the time he was old enough to play, I was slamming into preteendom and wanted nothing more than to be alone with my music and my notebooks. He just wanted to be with me, standing outside my bedroom with his toe crossing the line into my room to torment me. I would scream, “MOOOOOOOM! HE’S BOTHERING ME!” And he was, of course, but I see it for what it was now—hindsight being what it is. He just wanted to spend time with me. And then I left when he was ten, for college and the path toward the life that I now live.

Sometimes he’s still a ten-year-old gangly looking boy in my head instead of a tall, broad-shouldered working man, husband, and father. It blows my mind sometimes, when I watch him holding his baby boy as he flips hamburgers on the grill.

52 Weeks of Brotherhood

The boys cleared sticks all the way to the top of the hill before racing back down the other side. I know that their close-in-age proximity isn’t a guarantee they’ll be friends when they grow up, but I enjoy watching them now as they work and play and laugh and argue and do everything together. I also like getting to know my brother as an adult and as a friend.

Me and My Baby Brother


Training for the Pittsburgh Marathon: Just One Marathon

Only One Marathon

I'm an Official Run Home Blogger

Hi. My name is Jenna. It has been twenty-three hours since my last Pittsburgh Marathon training run.

Hi, Jenna.

Only One Marathon

I’m exhausted.

I mentioned it in my last training post, but I need to flesh it out more fully in a post this week. I need to make sense of what I’m feeling in my head, in my heart, and in my aching, tired hips.

Pittsburgh will be on my only full marathon.

I know, I know. I’ve said that before, and people always counter with, “You say that now! But they’re addicting! Wait until your after-marathon high!” And then there’s that thing where I say I’m not going to do something and then I do it anyway. First I said I’d never run a half marathon. Then I said I’d never run a full marathon. Watch me sign up for an Ultra next year or some such nonsense. But really, I don’t see myself running another full marathon. At least not while I am working full time with two children living under my roof. I may revisit this post when my children reach that point in adulthood in which my presence isn’t always needed (which, you know, isn’t always the moment that they turn 18).

I know there are other mothers who work and have partners and hobbies and friendships and go to church and volunteer at school and do all the things and still manage to train for multiple marathons each year.

I am not that mother.


I am not that partner.

I am not that daughter, friend, blogger, employee, volunteer, sister.

I am not that woman.

Marathon training has been really hard for me, much more than training for my first half marathon this time last year. Finding the balance between running and wearing all the hats I am supposed to wear has been stressful. And then there’s the realities of living with anxiety and depression. Also, the whole endless winter and the germs that come with an endless winter leading into a spring marathon didn’t quite help. I’m not sure a fall marathon would do me any better as I tend to hate running in the heat, which I remembered the hard way during yesterday’s seven miler on some of my area’s biggest hills.

Where Did Spring Go?
During my run yesterday, thinking: “I mean, honestly! Where did spring go? I don’t want to complain about non-winter weather, especially since we’re getting snow tomorrow, but really? 80 degrees?”

I don’t like feeling out of balance, like I don’t have some semblance of control over the state of the clutter in my home or my work inbox or how often I can find or make time to blog or read or simply sit on the front porch while the boys play in the front yard. Maybe other runners are more capable of handling it all, but I’m 100% fine admitting that I am not capable of managing all of the stress that comes with my normal life and a 36 mile week. I’m fine running my own race, which may not look like another runner’s race. It doesn’t have to; it’s my race.

After my run yesterday when I noticed, “Oh my, I really need to clean the bathroom. Like whoa.

That said, I am still enjoying myself. I mean, I beat the wall and I do still have one crazy long run left. But honestly? I’m having fun. I love the challenge. But I also love knowing that on May 4th, the challenge will be complete. I’ll cross the finish line, accept my medal, and collapse in the arms of my husband. And I can take a shower, eat a giant meal at my parents’ house, drink the biggest glass of wine ever, and sleep all day Monday. (I’m taking the day off, because duh.)

I’m excited to become a marathoner, but I’m also excited to go back to being a half-marathoner. Or even just Jenna who likes to run, be a mom, read books, write, take photographs, be in love, sleep, and walk without wincing when she encounters a set of stairs.

Now, if you could wish this not-yet-a-marathoner some luck on the big 20 miler coming up this weekend, I’d be really grateful.