Coffee Talk 10.16.16

Good morning, friends! I hope everyone’s enjoying the weekend. We finally got to the pumpkin patch late yesterday afternoon. My daughter picked this little tiny pumpkin and asked me to take this picture. I think she’s an artist at heart.


She wanted to also do the corn maze, but the hayride we went on to the pumpkin patch ended up winding us all around the farm, through the woods, across the fields, and by the time we got back, it was too late to do the corn maze. I promised her we’d go back and do it another day. Now I have to stay true to my word… yikes!

It was a perfect day for being outside. I mean, just look at that sky. The temperature was perfect too. It was cool enough for sweaters and boots but warm enough that we didn’t need coats.


Afterwards, we came home and ordered pizza for dinner, and then we went back out to see my son’s high school band perform in a cavalcade. He has 5 or 6 of these during the band season, and they pretty much monopolize his Saturdays. They practice in the morning, have a catered lunch/dinner in mid-afternoon, then load the busses and drive to the school hosting the event — it can be as much as an hour away, and it usually is. Last night we drove 50 minutes to get there, and it’s the closest one of the ones he has left. The kids don’t get back to our high school till close to midnight. It’s a lot, but it keeps them busy and supervised so I’m all for it.

We don’t go to every cavalcade, but we do like to go to a couple of them. It’s fun. Our band is always adding new elements to to their routine so every one is a little different, even though it’s basically the same program every time.


The nice part is, people come and go throughout the event, so we usually arrive about 30 minutes before their scheduled performance time and leave when they’re done. We catch 3 or 4 of the bands, and that’s enough for us! It sure beats sitting through entire baseball games, which I’ve done more times than I can count. (He no longer plays.)

So today we have our usual church activities, and this afternoon my son is going to practice driving for his test this week. They’re allowed to go down to the testing center and practice on the course. If all goes well, we’ll have a 3rd licensed driver in our house on Wednesday!!! It is really hard to believe, and I’m not quite sure how I feel about it. I’m not eager for him to drive, but I have to say, it will be nice not to be schlepping him everywhere… as long as he stays alive and doesn’t hurt anyone!

Moms of teens, HOW do you do it? How do you let them go?

I know I have to loosen the apron strings at some point, and really, as neurotic is I probably sound, I think I’m a fairly laid-back mom. I’ve had friends criticize me over the years for being too lax about things, but I do have an active imagination, and my mind goes to all sorts of dark places when I think of setting my kids off on their own. Maybe I’m more of a control freak than I realized. Is that possible? Ha! Don’t answer that.

So yeah, that’s where I am at the moment.

In other parenting news, I’ve had some ask about my daughter’s cyber schooling. Y’all, it is going so well! I don’t want to jinx it, but so far, so good! The lack of drama in our house since we started this is unbelievable to me.

It’s a fairly rigorous program, at least they claim it to be, and I have to say, she does work a lot of hours — more than I expected when we signed on. But part of the reason we’re doing this is that she would get frustrated in school when she didn’t have time to finish her work, and they would give her extra time, but it was embarrassing and would keep her from other activities. This way, she can work at her own pace, she isn’t distracted by the shenanigans going on around her (which always stressed her out in the classroom) and she can also work when she is at her best. She sleeps till at least 8am and gets up and to the computer by 9am. That’s the goal, anyway. I do have to nudge her to get her going, but once she starts, she works diligently until almost dinnertime.

She takes an hour for lunch, and she likes to make something hot — another bonus. Her diet is SO much better. She used to buy school lunch because she hates sandwiches and other packing foods, and now she can make spaghetti or pizza or whatever we have in the house. She also takes a couple breaks to walk around the block, but only once or twice a day. For the most part, she’s working on schoolwork. I’m sure there’s a lot of time spent transitioning and getting geared up for the next task, and there’s probably some daydreaming going on, but she can see her work through to completion, and if she gets a lower grade than she likes, she will redo the assignment. (They’re allowed one retake.)

I’m really impressed with her work ethic, and I’m SO glad we gave the cyber school a try. We have no idea what we’ll do next year. We’re just taking this one year at a time, but for this 8th grade year, I think this was a really good decision.

With that, I’m off to get a run in before church. I’ve been kind of lax with running, and I want to start adding on miles. I need to get out there more often. I’m averaging about every 3rd day right now, and that’s not cutting it.

I remember this being a challenge back before I got serious about running and had a training plan. I would aim for every other day, and when you aim for every other day, you actually get out there about every 3rd day. I had someone advise me back then to aim for every day, and I’d get out there 4 or 5 times a week, which is ideal. Fun fact, you actually are less prone to injury when you’re running regularly (as long as you don’t overdo it.)

I’m frustrated that I’m so inconsistent right now, but now that it’s staying dark so late into the morning, I don’t have time to run AND get a photo shoot before my husband leaves for work. And a lot of times, the photo shoot wins out. (And let’s not mention the cold…ugh! It’s been pretty nippy out there recently, and it will only get worse.)

We’re going to try to get more done on the weekends so we can free up those weekday mornings and I can get back to a more consistent running program. I probably need to train for something. It’s hard to stay motivated when there is no goal. I’m not planning to do a half marathon (13.1 mi) ever again, but a 10K (6.2 mi) would be a nice goal. I haven’t run 6.2 miles since before all my injuries. I do have a 5K (3.1 mi) scheduled at the end of this month, and I plan to do a Turkey Trot 5K as well. It is my Thanksgiving Day tradition. 🙂 So maybe after that I’ll find a 10K to sign up for.

Okay, that’s enough rambling about me. What are you up to today??? I hope it’s something fun, and that you’re enjoying lovely weather wherever you are!

Join The Conversation

49 Responses

  1. Good morning, Jo-Lynne,

    I raised two sons who are now grown with children of their own, and I have to say of all the stages of letting them grow and go, watching them pull out of the driveway by themselves – especially the first few months after they got their licenses – was one of the hardest things I ever endured. I prayed. A LOT!! There were a few mishaps here and there, but God took care of them (and everyone else on the road around them) and we made it.
    Hang in there, talk to him (I don’t mean lecturing) regularly about being safe, and keep praying.

    Have a great day!

  2. Hi Jo Lynne. Loved your post today. I’m just starting to run again but I live in Michigan and with our nasty winters how in the world do you run when it’s cold out? Do you just stop during the colder months? Do you do something else in those Winter months? I hate exercising but love running even though I too have had some injuries. I hate to start just to stop again. Thanks for any advice you can give. Happy Sunday!!!

    1. Oh, I detest running in the cold, but I do run all winter long. This year is predicted to be colder than average, and I’m already dreading it. The only time I don’t run is when the road is icy. You just have to invest in proper gear. It’s no fun being cold. I actually plan to update my winter running gear this year, so I’ll do a post on it. Layers are key, and a wind-blocking layer on top is crucial for when it gets below freezing. A hat is important, and I have one of those things that covers my neck and nose and mouth for the extremely cold days. Fortunately here in PA it doesn’t get too terribly cold – not compared to Michigan. The 20s are pretty miserable, but the 30s are tolerable. It is rarely in the teens except for overnight.

  3. Hi JoLynne! You impress me that you get out and run period! I’m mid 40’s and have been putting on a few pounds and my clothes aren’t fitting properly ????. My body is shifting south. I used to walk/ride my bike all of the time. After I had my daughter, 16 years ago, I fell out of the habit. Can you give me some advice on how you started running? I want to and start but it seems like after a week I’m not doing it AGAIN ????. I get so frustrated with myself!!!! I pray for strength, ambition, etc but just can’t get into a routine or habit if you will. Also, it’s been easier than I thought with my daughter driving. God has brought me great peace in that area of my life for sure. Parenting is hard sometimes. I’m reminded of how good God is and that HE will bring her to fruition with HIS plan for her…..until then, I’m going to have to keep coloring my hair haha. Have a blessed day and THANK YOU for sharing all that you do! This momma needs all the encouragement I can get clothes wise and kiddo wise.

    1. It is hard to get motivated sometimes. I got to the point where it made such a huge impact on my emotional well-being that I now crave it if I don’t run for a few days. Having a goal helps, a training plan, and best of all – run with a friend. If you have a standing appointment, you won’t be as likely to skip it.

      Thanks for the reminder that God is good and He has a plan for our kids. No amount of worry is going to change that. 🙂 And yes, I will be coloring my hair for the duration, I expect. Ha!

  4. Good morning! Love reading your blog! I taught at an online school and am so glad to hear you are having a good experience. You are right, it is rigorous and definitely requires great habits!

  5. It’a tough to let go! My son just started driving independently. He is a very good driver, but you can’t help but worry. It is very different than when we were growing up. More cars on the road and more distractions like cell phones. You just need to have faith and pray to keep them safe!

    1. Yes to all that! I also feel that driving is much more challenging these days than it was when we were starting out. And yes, I’m keeping the faith and spending lots of time on my knees. 🙂

  6. Hi Jo-Lynne, Thanks for sharing about the cyber school. It sounds like a perfect fit for your 8th grader. I hope that her friends aren’t giving her a hard time about it.
    I agree with what you said about running every day. When I started walking, I knew I needed to do it every day no matter how much my knee hurts, my toes hurt, etc., so it will become routine. I walk 2 miles 1 day, then 1 1/2 the next, to avoid a tough hill. Our road is sand, so that adds another aspect to it. This next week we’ll be gone a lot, so I may only get to walk 1 day, which concerns me. And I’m praying that next Friday the orthopedic won’t say the walking has to stop for now. It’s still warm here; come on down and you can run without dealing with cold temperatures.
    Have a blessed day!

    1. LOL! I’ve often said I’d love to move South. But I have to say, after spending a few days in the humidity of South Carolina last month, I am more than happy to stay here in PA. We get the best of both worlds! 🙂 And it’s supposed to warm up this week. YAY!

      Caroline’s friends are very supportive of the cyber school. They’re curious more than anything. I don’t think any of them want to try it, but they are interested to hear what it’s like. These days, there are kids doing so many different kinds of school, I think they’re all pretty accepting of whatever anyone is doing. Even the adults I talk to seem to be pretty supportive. It’s nice!

  7. A few years ago I was part of a big group on Strava (a running app) who had a goal to run 400 miles in a year. I have done this the last years since and have 360 in this year so far. Making a yearly goal might be good for you as well. Good luck and keep it up!

  8. Jo-Lynne,

    Saw your Snap. Please be careful. I have thought of you and wondered if you vary your route and stay to less secluded areas.

    Glad your daughter is doing well with the cyber school. While it is not for everyone, it is nice to have options.

    I feel you on the letting go, I am experiencing the same thing and have personally had to come to grips with the fact that I am not in control and never have been. Lots and lots of prayer for sure.

    Have a wonderful day! It is beautiful here this morning, the sunshine is lighting up the trees.

    1. Hey Sheila. I hear ya. Safety is a concern at times. After years of running, I certainly have some funny stories (like running into a stoned guy without his pants on a secluded trail on a Sunday morning… yikes!) Come to think of it, all my weird experiences have been on Sunday mornings. Ha! I don’t run in the dark, and I don’t run on secluded trails anymore. I use to carry Pepper Spray, but then I decided that I was probably more a danger to myself than anyone else with that stuff at the ready, so I ditched it. I try to be smart, but at some point, I have to believe that the benefits outweigh the risks.

      Coming to grips with that lack of control is definitely hard, but I know you’re right. There’s only so much we can control, and the left we have to leave to God.

      It’s such a pretty day here! It’s warming up too. YAY!

  9. In our sermon at church last night, our minister quoted a nun that said “School until rules are no longer needed”.

    By the time they are teenagers, we have schooled them to know right from wrong so all you can do is close your eyes, say a prayer and send them on their way as hard as it is.

    We told our kids we will trust you until you prove we can’t, it is your choice and we have to love them enough to let them make those choices.

    Too many parents want to micromanage every aspect of their kids’ lives while they are growing up (well-meaning but a big disservice) and then can’t understand why when they go out on their own they fail. It is a process.

    1. This is great advice-I would also add encouraging children to make decisions in accordance with age-simple decisions at first involving two or three choices. That way, they have the tools to make decisions later in life. Children may not always make the ‘best’ choice, but it’s their choice, and also teaches them the concept of tradeoffs and opportunity cost. I’ve seen way too many adults with decision paralysis. My youngest is especially prone to this. I tell her ‘It can go this way or this way. Waiting around for something perfectl to happen isn’t a way to deal with it.’

      I too have been accused of being too lax. But I find I’m lax on the things that will largely cause no harm. I’ve seen stricter parents become lax when the danger is all too real, i.e. allowing a much too young teen to go places where the opportunity for others to harm them or encourage them to compromise their morals is just too great.

      As for driving, two of my three are licensed. One of them (not the oldest) is actually a much better driver, less impulsive etc. I worry about him too, but am relieved that his personality is very rule conscious, thank goodness.

      1. Yes, I always did that – giving them 2 choices and letting them decide. Great parenting technique and it avoids a lot of battles. 🙂 I think I was more lax when they were younger – I wasn’t always following along behind them, watching them every second. When it comes to letting them go places these days, I am definitely more conservative than some. Fortunately most of my friends share my values so I don’t feel like the mean mom. 🙂

  10. When my children became teens and began driving, my prayer time increased drastically! Every concern I have (and every wild image of harm) I write down and lift it up to the Lord. I especially ask Him to help me trust Him with my children and not let me imagine the worst case scenario. We creative types tend to do that! Ha!

    Have you read Power of a Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian? Highly recommend. It’s 30 prayers for your children. I use this book when praying over my 3 boys.

    Happy Sunday, Jo-Lynne!

  11. Great update! I am wondering about your journey with the Whole 30 and if I’ve missed reading an update? If I’ve missed it, can you provide a link? Thanks!

    1. I haven’t updated in a while, although I think I did talk about it some in last week’s Coffee Talk. I’m kind of coasting. I actually want to tighten the reigns a bit this week. I’ve been digressing some, although my weight is staying the same and I still feel good. The food prep and grocery shopping gets old, but I am trying to stick with it b/c I’m really happy with how I feel eating this way.

  12. I feel you on the struggle to let them go out driving on their own. It is SO hard. Here in Georgia there are very strict teen driver laws that state that for the first 6 months they can only drive with family as passengers, the second 6 months they can have 1 non-family passenger, and then starting at 12 months with a license they are limited to 3 non-family passengers until they turn 18. There are other restrictions as well but I really think restricting the ability to drive friends around has made a huge difference for my kids. My oldest is 19 now and doesn’t have the restrictions anymore but my middle son is 16 and has just hit the 2nd six months part where he can drive one friend. So far, so good. If your state doesn’t have a similar restriction, I urge you and your husband to consider making some similar rules for your own family that will allow your son to build up some “driving on his own” experience before he starts driving with the distraction of having a bunch of friends in the car.

    And then my other advice is to use Find My Friends or Life360 or some other app that will allow you to locate him on your phone. There is a lot of peace of mind in just being able to check that he made it safely to his destination. When they first started driving I checked frequently but as I got more comfortable with them being out there on the road I only check occasionally.

    Best of luck! And really congrats on this big step! Having a third driver gives you so much added freedom! It really is fabulous when you have someone else to help run errands or get the younger kids where they need to be.

    1. Denise made some very good points. Kentucky has some stricter guidelines now, but when our older daughter turned 16 and got her driving permit, we had some rules of our own which included no more than one friend with her at a time when she was driving. It wasn’t that we didn’t like or trust her friends, but we knew with each additional person came more distractions for an inexperienced driver. My husband would always say, “I know other kids will ask you for a ride. You can just tell them that your parents will only allow one rider with you driving.” That worked well for us. Best wishes!

      1. That’s great advice. My state has some similar rules, but I will definitely be limiting who rides with him. I don’t let him ride with other new teen drivers either.

        My mom always told me to blame her if I was in an awkward spot, and I tell my kids the same thing. Make something up and blame your annoying, over protective mother. Haha! Whatever you gotta do to stay safe.

    2. We have similar laws here, and we will definitely be letting go of the rope inch by inch. 🙂 Fortunately the high school is only 8 minutes away, and he’s very familiar with that drive at this point, so starting out, he’ll only be allowed to drive to school and back for band activities, etc. We’ll play it by ear. He still makes careless mistakes that make me scared to think about him out there alone. I do look forward to the freedom it will allow me, though! That’s for sure!

  13. Knowing when and how much to let go is a big parenting challenge. I have sons who are 18 and 19 years old. One has ADHD and the other suffers from depression and anxiety. Because of these challenges, they are a few steps behind their peers. One is away at college in his freshman year and the other is taking classes locally. They are good kids but don’t always make the best choices. Its a balance to know when to step in and when to let them experience the consequences, particularly when your kid has issues that a typical teen does not have.

    On the cyber-schooling, I wish this option had existed when I was a kid. Middle school is a land mine socially and academically.

    1. Every kid is different, that’s for sure! It makes sense to keep every personal situation into account. 🙂

      It’s amazing to me how popular cyber school is becoming. I think it fills a much needed gap in our educational system, and I’m so thankful we have the option.

  14. Someday will you do a post on running bras? I like to run but don’t like the feeling of jiggling and I wonder what you use. It has been hard to find something I like. Since you are a great shopper, I thought you might have some knowledge to share!

    1. Hey Susan! Yes, I have mentioned them before. My favorite has been discontinued, so this is my new favorite: https://bit.ly/2dYI9um

      It has the J-hook that converts it to racerback, and makes it much more supportive. I always use the J-hook when I run. When I work out with weights, I just wear it the regular way. It’s $$$ but it does go on sale occasionally. Next time it does, I’m going to snag another one.

  15. O I remember those days (3 years ago). I thought my daughter would knock down every mailbox (she hugged the right side of the road). All is fine. This will give you a lot of freedom trust me. He can pick up his sisters and even run a view errands. You’ll see………..

    Does your daughter have gym?

    1. Yes, he did the hugging the side of the road thing at first too! He’s getting better at that, but he does careless things that make me nervous. I think he just needs more practice, and unfortunately, maybe a small scare or two. I hate to say it, but we learn best by our own mistakes. I do look forward to that extra freedom, though! I hate running errands and mundane tasks like that. I’m a homebody and I’ll be perfectly happy to let him go to the store for me!

      My daughter does have a gym class. I have had to help her set up some relays and things but most of it she can do herself. Her dance class counted for a cardio assignment, which was cool. 🙂

  16. Enjoying a gorgeous fall day in Green Bay. Our college girl was home for her first weekend visit. It was great to have her home again! But the laundry! ????

    Glad to hear the cyber school is going well. It sounds like it’s the perfect solution to her unique needs. Hope it continues to be a positive experience.

    Good luck with letting go on the driving. I was pretty okay with it. Ours is a really good driver & responsible kid. I think I’m kind of unusual because I just celebrate the new skills & independence. Plus it’s a whole new arena of teachable moments. Hope he does well & you can cope!

  17. Be gentle on yourself as you work back into running. I did #30in30 days and now I feel able to run longer distances again. Having your 5Ks to look forward to helps. Hope I can find a turkey trot, too.

  18. This weather is absolutely amazing! If it was up to me, it could stay like this ALL Winter long! I am so glad that you are back into running again, I know how much it means to you. I hope that you have a terrific week!

    PS-I don’t know about your weather down there, but it is supposed to be back in the 80’s up here.

  19. How is your son getting his license already?!?! Oh my word. Time goes way too fast! Let me add to the others who said that watching them drive away for the first time without you is the hardest thing ever. (OK, being an empty nester aint so easy either. ????)

    I’m so glad to hear that cyber school is going well for your daughter. Hooray!!

    My weeks are so different now that our house is empty, but it’s fall break so my baby is home. Ahhhh. I miss her! Aside from that I’m just writing, writing, writing!!

  20. I haven’t run in a couple of years (baby #5 is 2-1/2yo) but am hoping to get back to it as soon as our house addition is finished (see re: 5th baby above).

    Got any good re-starting advice or can you recommend a plan to follow?


  21. You know it’s time for you children to start driving , when the need for them to drive is greater than your fear of letting them drive. Our oldest has been driving for a couple years, and it’s been pretty good. We use the app, find my iPhone when I want to find out where she is in the car, without calling her. It’s so hard to let go. She is a senior this year, and I can’t imagine her leaving home! It’s so hard sometimes! Have a blessed Sunday.

  22. Hi Jo-Lynne, I have a 15 year old who will be 16 in 3 1/2 weeks and is so anxious to get his drivers license! We just signed him up for lessons and……….he is in a boot (his right leg) with and ankle injury from football from Thursday night! I think sometimes God hears our ask for a little more time to deal with things and answers. 🙂 I feel the same way you do, thankful that I won’t be shuttling, but at the same time I told my son that I will miss our car rides. We get to do a lot of talking in the car – one on one – that we don’t get to do a lot outside of that time. I think it is ok to be sad that they are growing up, but I am also very proud of the man he is becoming. Stay strong – you are a great mom and your son will realize you are nervous because you love him, not cause you think he will be a bad driver!

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