what goes through my mind before bed each night…

…..Just because my body has stopped moving a mile a minute doesn’t mean my mind has..here is a pretty accurate sequence of events each night in the Shidler house hold…No I am not kidding and yes, my husband does hate me Winking smile

9:30 PM-What did I eat today that will come back to haunt me at 3 am. When did I become old enough that eating pizza after 10pm would be a bad idea? When did I become old enough to say the statement “when did I become old enough?” …Better get the tums out just in case.

9:33 PM-Why can’t my pillows and blankets be as soft, cool and inviting as they were when my alarm went off this morning?

9:35 PM-Alarm! Crap!! Did I set it? I have to be at work at 9..I showered this afternoon and did absolutely nothing after that so I should be good to go in that department… If I get up now and lay my work clothes out for tomorrow, that will give me an extra 30 minutes to sleep. 8 am it is.

9:36 PM- Ugh..I really don’t want to get up to lay my clothes out. Why haven’t I trained the cats to do tricks/chores yet?

9:38 PM- How come Mosby always chooses to sleep above Matthews head? I bet it is because he feeds them in the morning, I tend to keep the people that feed me close by. Maybe I should start feeding them in the am so he will snuggle with me at night. I guess I can set my alarm for 7:30 so I can start doing that……but then again….Mosby is fluffy and I am already hot at night anyways. Matthew can get up and feed him. Let me put the alarm back to 8.

9:40 PM-  Speaking of hot at night, it is hot and muggy in here..if I could just get my foot out from under this blanket and the fan pointed just on my face I should be good.

9:43 PM- I’m thirsty..but I just got comfortable…is that Matthew snoring or Mosby? I think it’s Mosby..”hey Matt.are u asleep? ..Matt? MATT!” “can I have a glass of milk please?” ‘I think I’m about to have heart burn.

9:44 PM- “Ohhhh while your up, can you grab my jeans and work shirt out of the dryer and put them on the dresser?”

9:45 PM-“Also, can you turn the air down its stuffy in here!”

9:50 PM-Aww! I love milk! Dang it..I forgot to ask for a straw..I can make do!

9:55 PM-I haven’t checked Facebook, Twitter, my email or buzz feed in like 5 minutes, I better make sure I haven’t missed anything important before I go to bed.

9:57 PM-I want to lay on my stomach but this iphone is to big to operate with just one hand free. I guess I’ll roll over. If I move to much though, Lucy will wake up. She just stopped barking and jumping around so I must do this gently.

9:58 PM- While I’m at it, let me switch out pillows. Also It’s getting really cold in here now! Is this what menopause will be like. Oh my gosh…am I in menopause?…oh stop it Jennifer your 28.. just turn the fan off and pull your foot in the blanket and you wont be as cold.

10:03 PM-What was that noise?! I’m pretty sure rowdy just knocked something over in the living room, but what if it wasn’t? What if it was someone trying to break in and they made noise thinking we would think it was the cats and the noise was all part of the plan to throw us off so they can steal all of our stuff? I should definitely wake Matthew up..”Matt…matt..MATTHEW..I heard a noise and I don’t think it was the cat. Can you go check?”

10:10 PM-What did you say Matt? Rowdy just knocked over his food dish? I could have swore it was louder than that. I’m sorry I got you up! Come back to bed.

10:11 PM- “Hey, before you go back to sleep, can you turn the air up? “It’s kind of cold in here!”

10:12 PM- “Also, can you grab me a straw for my milk? Thank you!”


Testing 1..2..3.. Is Anybody Out There?

Dear Diary:

It has been 445 days, 38,448,000 seconds, 640,800 minutes or 63 weeks since I last wrote you. Ugh. When I set out on starting this novice blog some 3 years ago I swore to myself I would never have to do one of the “I know I haven’t written in a while….” post and yet here I am…Hi..do you still remember me? Do you forgive me?

During my 2014-2015 hiatus I was tagged several times to fill out surveys  by bloggers I follow or who follow me. While I have already posted a survey blog a few years ago, I thought that this might be a great way to catch everyone up on the last year of my life. So, with out further ado…

My Last Year (s) In Review

Lucy Loo

What did you do in 2015 that you’d never done before?

We allowed ourselves to be out numbered in our household. We now have 3 animals to 2 humans because we adopted our first ever dog; Miss Lucy. She is a dachshund pug mix with sass and spunk who gives our 21 pound cat Mosby a run for his money.

Did you keep your new years’ resolutions?

Keep them? I cant even remember what they were. I avoided the grasps of natural selection for one more year, was not arrested for anything and you did not see my face in the news for anything stupid or cringe worthy. Reguardless of what my new years resolution was or wasn’t, I would call this past year a success.

What is your favorite number and why?

My favorite number is 5. Why you ask? Because it is approximately the number of try’s it takes me to spell the word resteraunt, restrainut, reseteraunt, resterunt, restaurant correctly. (note to self; next years resolution should be learning how to spell)

Did anyone close to you die?

Cruise pic
Roatan, Honduras

Thankfully no.

What countries did you visit?

We visited Belize, Honduras and Mexico. All were a great experience and I can not wait to see where our next travels take us.

What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015 or 2014?

My first reaction is to say children, but then I realize that I probably need to master the act of remembering to let the dog out for a walk on time before I take on a human being. I also would like to have more of Matthews student loans paid off. So my second and more realistic answer to this question would be more confidence.

What dates from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

I cant think of any specific dates but I do have several events that do pop into my mind. Our cruise in January was wonderful and we had a great Plane, Train, Automobile trip home this past April where we got to spend some time with family. The day we got our puppy miss Lucy. November when I met the vacuum cleaner of my dreams..(yes you read that right…more details to come in a future blog post) These are just a few events of many that stick out!

What was your biggest achievement(s) of the year?

Confidence in my job. I know I just told you that confidence is what I lacked this year and would like more of next year, but the change in confidence in my job in 2015 is what made me realize how good it feels to be good at what you do. The ability to stand out in a positive way makes me hungry for more.

I also would like to add the achievement of being a better morning person. This time last year I would have been begging for closing shifts in my job. If the alarm clock when off before 10.30am it was bound to be a bad day for someone. And while I am still not miss Mary sunshine every morning, I also do not hate the world or my life everyday when my alarm clock goes off at 7:30-8am (and yes, I realize that still is not early…but it is an improvement for me)

What was your biggest failure?

At AT&T we like to call failures as “Areas of Opportunities” and that sounds like a question I would rather answer. My areas of opportunities for 2015 would be..

  • Diet—less food, more exercise
  • Money –less spending more saving
  • Blogging—less procrastinating more writing
    Did you suffer illness or injury?

2 words…Kidney Stones. Worst pain in my life and I hope that I never have to experience it ever again.

What was the best thing you bought?

It sounds weird to say, because we didn’t really “buy” her, but I would have to say Miss Lucy. Lucy along with her sister where surrender by their original owners because they could not take care of them. She needed a home and we were oh so glad to give her one. I am still a cat person to the day I die but seeing the excitement on Lucy’s face every time I come home from work is definitely something to write home about!

Whose behavior merited celebration?

Today is my day off and while I had no plans I still managed to get up before 9am, shower, get dressed and put make up on my face. Normally it requires an act of congress to remove my body from my bed on a day off. Should a parade be thrown in my honor for this? Definitely not. Should my love ones be shocked and submit me for testing? Wouldn’t hurt? 😉

Where did most of your money go?

Chicago Cubs
Cubs Vs. Pirates April 2015

Food and varying institutions that have loaned us money for our house, cars and our educations. Sigh. Debt..can barely live with it, would be living on the streets with out an education with out it.

What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Several memories surrounding vacations came to mind, but the stand out excitement of this past year would be the 2015 Chicago Cubs. My love affair for baseball and the Chicago Cubs began in the 90’s. we spent a lot of time with my grandparents and if there was a game on we were either listening to it or watching it. This year has been the most fun to watch/listen to since right before my grandpa past away. While I enjoy the game whether we are winning or losing I will say that a winning season such as this years feels darn good!

What song will always remind you of 2014/2015?

While the song “Timber” with Ke$ha and Pitbul is not my style of music nor was it released this year, it was used as the theme song from our vacation with Chris, Emily, Tom and Amy. We had so much fun creatively counting down to that trip and on the trip itself.

Compared to this time last year, are you:

  1. a) happier or sadder? Happier!
    b) thinner or fatter? You say fatter…I say more readily prepared for the winter season…the opinion is yours
    c) richer or poorer? Richer, in more ways than just money.

What do you wish you’d done more of?

Blog writing, reading and being more social

What do you wish you’d done less of?

Complaining, eating, spending money.

How will you be spending Christmas?

With Matthew and our 3 furry animals. First Christmas with just us as a family. Right now we are optimistic of starting new traditions for the all the years to come, but I know that once the holiday season hits, the realization that this the first one with out any family from home ever will weigh heavy on us. We shall prevail, however.

Did you fall in love in 2014/2015?

our first picture together
Our first picture together Sept. 2008 at BCM where we first met

I have been in love everyday since fall 2008 with the same person.

How many one-night stands?

2! Who has just one night stand? We have two night stands and we tend to switch them out every once and a while. Matthew has one and I have one. Where else and I going to put my midnight glass of milk and phone for charging?………you see what I did there. But seriously though..this is a stupid question and anyone who knows me already knows the answer.

What was your favorite TV program?

I am a product of Generation Y or the Millennials. We helped jumpstart the social media revolution and saw the births of streaming media giants such as Hulu and Netflix. That being said, it is impossible for me to pick which program is my favorite because so many different shows from different years are available instantly. A more appropriate question would be, which 12 hour binges have I enjoyed more than others? The answer would be The West Wing, Greys Anatomy and Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman.

Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

Life is too short to hate.

What was the best book you read in the last year or two?

House training your dog for Dummies & the manual that came with my new vacuum cleaner was a page turner.

What was your greatest musical discovery?

I have always enjoyed Harry Nilsson, but this past year I have really dug into his discography and found a sincere appreciation for a lot of his work.

What did you want and get?

If you haven’t gathered from previous posts, I struggle with the past time of spending more money than I should. As a side effect from this past time, I often find a way to get what I want. Not proud of it and realize that this is something that needs to be “nipped in the bud”……..p.s. I got the Vacuum cleaner of my dreams 😉

What did you want and not get?

World Series Championship

What was your favorite film of this year?

No movies really stood out for me this year. We saw the Furious 7 movie..but those types of movies are not my favorite to begin with. The Wedding Ringer, Spy and Ricki and the Flash were among some of my favorites.

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

November 5th 2014 I turned 27 and it was spent in Lake Jackson with family and November 5th 2015 I turned 28 and spent the day doing a major merchandising reset at work. It was a long and busy day but my family and co workers showered me with flowers, balloons and cupcakes!

What was one thing that would have made your year overwhelmingly more satisfying?

2 things come to mind. Chicago Cubs World series champs and or loosing the equivalent of a small overweight child from my body my own body weight.

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015?

#samething 😉

1 word. Cats. 😉 Ugh. Lands End Team colors….

What kept you sane?

My husband. He deserves an award or a stipend for putting up with my crazy.

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

I have never been one for celebrity crushes. I am too grounded for all that. My last real celebrity crush was Brendan Fraser in like 1995.

What political issue stirred you the most?

Toliet Paper

Anybody who was alive and connected to the world in any meaningful way in 2014/2015 knows the major political issue that has everyone taking sides. And that is for the right for ALL individuals to choose which way the toilet paper should be pulled off the roll. I personally am pro-pull from the top and down but I have many friends that choose to pull their toilet paper from the bottom upwards. While this has driven a slight wedge in our friendship, we have managed to look past our political differences.

Who did you miss?

I miss all the family and friends that I got to see on a daily basis back home in Indiana.

Who was the best new person you met?

This may sound weird, but I really enjoyed finally getting to know one of our neighbors! I doubt I will ever get to have neighbors like the amazing ones I grew up with on all sides of my child hood home, but knowing them by name and exchanging meaningful conversations when our paths cross is a far cry from knowing my neighbors just as cars in a drive way.

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014/2015

Trusting God. I fought over a decision earlier this year that involved switching job titles. The switched offered less stress but could have potentially meant making less money and I wrestled with the idea of replacing one stress with another. I prayed a lot about this decision and decided happiness and success outweighed money. I put trust in God that everything would work out, and in the end everything worked out about 100x better than I had ever imagined.

Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

At Least We Made It This Far by Relient K

“Oh I guess we made it, or at least we made it this far, And it all looks smooth from here. Oh in a future day there may be waves but I must say, The skies have never looked so clear. And Oh, I guess we made it, ’cause it ain’t far to go from here”

Listen to the full song HERE

How not to go fishing…

Because you should totally listen to me, I caught 1 fish in 3 hours..and that makes me a pro….

I, Jennifer Lynne Shidler, of mind, body and fisherman’s soul, left Killeen a fishing novice, devoid of all aquatic knowledge, but now, I stand before you today (metaphorically speaking of course, this is the internet) a changed woman. You see my friends, last night I stood above a fish that I had drug out of the gulf, named, screamed at it, made my husband remove it from the hook, and then set him free. I of course, would have never made it that far had it not been for a few key choices I made early on in the night. The following is the fisherman’s quick guide to hearty pier fishing.

1. Dress to impress-Pier 91 in Galveston doubles as a semi-professional runway, plus, no self respecting fish is going to be caught dead (or alive, excuse the pun) on the line do someone dressed like a shabby Shane.

2. Wet wipes are your friends– no matter what the “veteran” fishermen say. Who is the wuss now when your touch Id on your iphone 5s won’t work anymore…

3. Sing Loudly-particularly show tunes. The showery’ the better. Not only do the fish love it, but so do the other people on the pier. If your good enough, they will reward you by showering you with /throwing at you any extra bait they have..you know, to help you keep up with all the extra fish you will have. P.s..don’t forget to be polite..”why thank you sir..I needed the extra fish heads!!”

4. Come with a strategy -to make others bait your own hooks . Mine was “are you kidding me! I’m not touching that…” It worked like a charm, feel free to use it as your own.

5. Be inventive-Simple word games help you kill non-fish catching times. A favorite in Galveston this time of the year is (and if your a frequent reader here..you may already know it..) very similar to duck duck goose…seaweed, seaweed, fish. Or the adult version, seaweed, seaweed, shark, fish.

6. Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize-Did you know that 200$ coach purse doubles as a tackle box? I bet the salesperson didn’t tell you that when you bought it.


7. Know your wind direction– this is probably the most obvious piece of advice I can give you, but it bears repeating for any newbies. You can’t properly cast a selfie if the wind is blowing your hair the wrong direction.

8. Location, location, location– Go to your local Red Lobster, and find the little back book on the table that’s says “fresh (ish) Fish, close your eyes, point your finger, pick one and call it a day. 🙂


How Not to survive a day at the park….

Because you should totally take advice from me, the Ariel of six flags hurricane harbor, Arlington Texas.

First and for most, I must say I had a blast with my girls, De-bor-ah and Liz lemon, celebrating Debbie’s birthday!! The bond we share, (the side eye, awkward laugh, this is why I love you, what had happened was, no ma’am, donut getting, know what the other one is thinking or looking at without having to say it out loud kind of bond) is a friendship like no other.


Second, before I begin, I just want to make it clear that you will not see any mocking of swim suits and the bodies they are attached to in the post. I am the LAST person that needs to be making judgment calls based on beach ware as I once received an epic wedgie’ from a massive water slide that went unnoticed for a half hour. Your welcome  for that intense visualization in advanced.

1.) Sun tan lotion and sunscreen….know the difference. Make the wrong decision and it becomes the deciding factor between sun kissed beauty and fried lobster.


2.) Choose a friend with a good attention span and great spatial reasoning to apply your sun screen. If you choose wrong the consequences could be scary and psychedelic. My friend Debbie here, selected the wrong sunscreen buddy (Cough Cough Liz Lemon) ,and will be living with the side effects of tie dyed skin for weeks to come. Lets all share a moment of silence for Debbie and her sunburned back.


3.) If your bored while waiting in an hour long line for a 30 second ride, play fun games like iSpy or a new family favorite, appendix, appendix, no appendix (Similar to duck duck goose and reflector reflector, DEER if you read my last blog).  Its fun, simple and you don’t even have to be a brain general surgeon to play!


4.) Fix your hair in a way that won’t leave you frustrated and irritated the whole day. Nothing more obnoxious that fixing a pony tail every 3 mins. With this warning I give you another. If you pick a hairstyle as classy as cornrowesque twist’s tight in the top of you head, please wear sunscreen (not sun tan lotion) unless you want to look like a college ruled note book with a chance of bad dandruff in the weeks that follow, please head my advice.
untitled imagesCAG3K2Z6

5.) Find a place you can relax. Many would choose the lazy river for this..well I am here to tell you that in some cases, this is not the place to go. The lazy river is the only place in the park that you can go from relaxed to kicked to groped (on accident) in less than 25 seconds. For tense situations such as this, I have borrowed techniques from other frustrated and disgruntled adults before me ( shout out to Marc Antony/William Shakespeare) and have written a simple speech that shall be read upon my entrance in to said lazy river. “Friends, Parents, Children, lend me your ears. The lazy river is for relaxation, not hyper-ness. The splashing and running you all do, will follow behind you, as I am bigger than you and can splash 10 times harder…take heed and take cover”



….because being practical and flying is soo 1903..

Ahh, the great American road trip; hours of ispy, rock, paper scissors and STOP TOUCHING ME, that childhood memories and divorces are made of.  Nothing tests the strength of your patience and marriage more than sitting side by side in a car with someone for 18hrs.

4 years ago when I married a private pilot, I thought my long distance driving days were over. I could not have been farther from the truth. So today I bring you  6 steps to prepare for your long journey that will not only secure your marriage but your sanity.

1.) Proper sound is track required. Now I know I mentioned how important it is to save ones marriage in this impossibly long trip, but you cant win all the battles and in our house hold, music is where there is definitely a dividing line. We agreed when we left Texas that who ever was driving picked the music on the radio. If you want to listen to 5 hours of Jimmy Buffett and George Strait (I don’t care if you are honoring his last concert) that is fine by me, but you better be prepared for 7 hours straight of Streisand, Bel Biv Devoe, Neil Diamond (#sogood, #sogood, #sogood shout out to Amy Lambert) Frozen and Fiddler on The Roof. Nothing wakes your senesces up more than Singing shouting the hills are alive with the sound of music at 3 in the am.

Speaking of music….

2.) Scientists and country music artists everywhere have proven that your vocal talents really sound the best at three am. Its a mix of confined spaces, tired enthusiasm and deep tenor snoring accompaniments that make a Grammy performance . So don’t be afraid to turn that radio up…and find your favorite rumble patch along the road and give the best Bob Dylan impression you can do. (Ps for better acoustics or for more daring musicians/driver, the Bob Dylan effect also works great on railroad tracks.. preferably abandoned 🙂

3.)  Become better at recognizing the difference between deer eyes, large white wild flowers and road side reflectors. You know the game duck duck goose..this is similar..reflector reflector.. DEER!!!

Speaking of road kill….

4.) Issue all warnings and memos to wild life prior to departure, you know, just in case your “reflector, reflector, DEER, skills are rusty. I find that in cases like this a simple ‘form letter’ will work perfectly and can be adjusted to the particular state and wildlife you are aiming to reach. Feel free to use mine.

“ To the deer and other medium to large sized wild life residents of Arkansas, don’t think for 1 second that I did not see your beady little eyes staring at us from the side of the road. you stay put and I will do my thing and you will do yours. Please let the dead raccoon next to mile marker 215 serve as your one and only warning…good day” ©

5.) Scented sachets make your car smell great from just sitting there, but by placing them over defrost vents makes your car smell even fresher at 430 in the morning when your husband, who has been snoring for an hour, passes gas and you are left with no way out. Just flip the vent from air conditioning to defrost (full power for those hard to tackle stenches) and  BAM..your no longer in a stuffy dodge journey in the middle of Arkansas reliving last nights tacos, but now in the middle of a Kirkland’s, Bath and Body Works or  Yankee Candle Company.

And finally the most important step of them all…

6.) Have your imaginary brakes serviced. Even the most novice of back seat/front seat drivers, know the importance of fake brake control.  The imaginary brake is like the Schrödinger’s cat (Schrödinger who? read about him HERE..)of long distance driving. Unless you press the fake brake you may be either dead or alive.  

Hallmark has it all wrong…

Hallmark would like to tell you that the “traditional” 4th wedding anniversary gift is flowers and the “modern” 4th wedding anniversary present is an appliance of some sort (because nothing says true love like that automatic can opener or the toaster that makes crumb removal a breeze..)..well I, Jennifer Lynne Shidler, a happily married woman celebrating her 4th wedding anniversary, can tell you they could not be farther from the truth. 

28242_624694156064_5644683_nLet me start from the beginning..

For the past week, my lovely neighbors down the street have been “spring” cleaning, which in their world means..lets take the trash from our house and dump it in the front yard for the garbage company to dispose of. The flaw in this otherwise “genius” plan is that we live in a subdivision with strict trash rules…if it does not fit in the trashcan or in the bag next to it..they wont pick it up. This of course has not phased my neighbors at all. Normally I find this overly irritating, but this time it was different. The neighbors had thrown out a sad and abused dresser. Twice a day for a week I drove past this sad dresser, each time was more depressing than the last. Now, I don’t know if it was the 4 season marathon of rehab addict on DIY network that I just watched or if I was just tired of seeing the trash on the street, but I just had to have the dresser.

imagesCA3WP8TS Nicole Curtis makes “dumpster diving” look so easy on rehab addict. I, on the other hand, lack the nerve and boldness it requires to walk right up to one mans junk and make it my treasure. On two occasions Matthew and I attempted a dresser heist. The first one failed before it really began because my tennis shoes were in the dryer and honestly, who steals trash in flip flops..the second failed attempt happened the next night…and boy did we come close. We waited until midnight, then I, in my cat pajamas and freshly washed sneakers did a “drive by.” (I promise I left my 9mm and bandana at home..). The goal of the drive by was to ensure that all neighbors between our house and target house were asleep and then to make sure there was ample space for two fluffy people such as ourselves to lift out and drag the winning piece home. After I gave the all clear signal..I sent a less than trilled Matthew over to investigate the condition of the dresser and the accessibility of the item. This is where it fell apart..afraid the item was trapped under heavier junk we threw in the towel and called it a night. 

I am sure you already know where this story is headed..today I come home from work, pull into the drive way and open the garage door to find that my husband, in broad daylight no less, worked up the nerve to finally steal the dresser for me! I asked him how he did it and the 3rd and final attempt was better than the two before it. Basically he pulled right up to it and with the neighbors watching tried to stuff the medium sized dresser in the trunk of our compact sedan. When that did not work..he attempted to shove the item in the back seat, defeated and with a small audience now watching, he drove back home parked the car then walked over to the house in question. Matt knocked on the door and proceeded to pay the little kid 2 dollars for the dresser and then carried it home!! He finished off my anniversary present with a heat gun to help me refinish, a card and a beautiful ring, you know, to avoid sleeping on the couch  just in case stealing a dresser from someone’s trash isn’t romantic enough!

Now that my friends, is true love! 🙂