jen groeber: mama art

4 kids in 3 years: reflections on motherhood, art and life.

The Summer of Enough

Last week my email account resent a bunch of emails with photo attachments, emails I’d sent a year ago. And my sister replied to a very back-to-school looking picture as … Continue reading

September 2, 2015 · 7 Comments

August is the Cruelest Month

This morning, as my husband walked out the front door, he reminded me that the painters were coming tomorrow and that we needed to vacate the house. They would come … Continue reading

August 30, 2015 · 12 Comments

I Don’t Like Eight-Year-Old Boys, the Never Ending Sequel

I don’t like eight-year-old boys.You might remember that I didn’t like seven-year-old boys much either. It’s hard to describe what the actual thing is that he does that drives me … Continue reading

August 28, 2015 · 5 Comments

Recreating My Childhood, One Board Game At a Time

I’ve been recreating my childhood one board game at a time. Or actually, not my whole entire childhood. Were I to try to recreate my whole entire childhood I’d need … Continue reading

August 17, 2015 · 26 Comments

How You Measure Half a Life

It happened. The kind people at Mamalode published my essay on their August theme Optimism, How You Measure Half a Life. And ironically, it’s a meditation on whether there is … Continue reading

August 8, 2015 · 24 Comments

100 Rejections

My sister had a brilliant idea for my nieces’ thirteenth birthdays. What do you give young women who have pretty much everything they need? Words of wisdom. My sister asked … Continue reading

August 4, 2015 · 26 Comments

Summer Camp, All Alone

This week is camp week. You know the kind I mean. You slather four children in sunscreen, pack four bags with yesterday’s damp swimsuits and towels, and then send them … Continue reading

July 30, 2015 · 14 Comments

U2 Can Have Your Cake and Eat It… Too

In six degrees of separation how would we get from U2 to a Doc McStuffins cake? Doc McStuffins cake, inspired by the Doc McStuffins cartoon, for which China Anne McClain … Continue reading

July 23, 2015 · 18 Comments

The Fin Fell Off My Paddleboard and Other Metaphors For Our Thirteenth Anniversary

My fin fell off my paddleboard. There was a gentle breeze, an overcast sky, and right next to the rock where the cormorants pose, I dug my paddle in the … Continue reading

July 9, 2015 · 17 Comments

The Couple at Sunset

Tonight my two girls and I saw our neighbors walking down the road in front of our house. We hadn’t seen them for awhile, not since they found us trying … Continue reading

June 25, 2015 · 16 Comments

Father’s Day and the White Undershirt

I woke yesterday morning to the mystical, warm smell of my husband ‘s white undershirt. I was half-asleep and he was half-asleep, and I curled up against him, my head … Continue reading

June 22, 2015 · 14 Comments

Tomorrow She is Never Again Four Years Old (Not Even One Dot)

I look at the clock and it’s 11:34 pm. I picture my newly minted five-year-old, asleep in her bed, covered with the Hello Kitty blanket I stayed up until past … Continue reading

June 18, 2015 · 370 Comments

Leaving the Nest, an Ode to Pre-School

My youngest child is finishing her time at the most amazing school ever. She is graduating from pre-school. I know everyone thinks that their kids go to the most amazing schools. … Continue reading

June 13, 2015 · 15 Comments

The Tooth Fairy Forgot to Come Last Night

The tooth fairy forgot to come last night. Mica walked into my bedroom this morning, waking me with his sad, sweet little face and shuffling footy pajama’ed feet. He said with the … Continue reading

May 20, 2015 · 26 Comments

Little League, It Ain’t No Big Thing

I admit it. I was equipment-shamed by the guy at Modell’s. And Modell’s by the way? It sort of sucks. I’d much rather go to Dick’s. Especially with my mother … Continue reading

May 6, 2015 · 13 Comments

Two-Wheelers, Piano Recitals and Lost Teeth

I went for a run today. Just a week ago on my run there was still snow on the ground deep in the woods, tucked in the valleys, with a gray fog … Continue reading

April 30, 2015 · 13 Comments

Silent All These Years/ Fireworks Mash-Up (For My Daughter)

The other day I heard that Tori Amos song on the radio. I was driving in the minivan, picking the kids up from school. I was loaded… with carseats and … Continue reading

April 23, 2015 · 6 Comments

Going Back to Church on an Island (Easter 2015)

We went to church this weekend. On the one hand, it’s no shocker. It was Easter, and I get after it when it comes to Christian holidays. I was raised … Continue reading

April 9, 2015 · 26 Comments

Learning to Swim

I started swimming again, and it’s been a revelation. I grew up with a pool in the backyard. I have memories of swimming with my sisters at night while my … Continue reading

March 30, 2015 · 23 Comments

Spring is Here (Said No One in New England)

Spring is almost here. I can tell by the view out my back window. I also know spring is almost here because my kids are on spring break. I found … Continue reading

March 19, 2015 · 16 Comments

Who Are You Going to Be When You Grow Up?

I was driving to school to pick up the kids in my minivan. Like I do every day. Repeat, repeat, repeat. I pulled up behind this truck. WOOD PELLETS HOT … Continue reading

March 5, 2015 · 12 Comments

In Defense of Winter

My four-year-old daughter said it to me this morning. “What if this-” she gestured pathetically out the car window, “-is still here in June?” And I felt for her. She … Continue reading

March 4, 2015 · 15 Comments

Melancholic Birthday Girl, Carry On

I’m a melancholic birthday girl, and it shows. I think my kids picked up on the impending doom of my birthday and my sad-sack state, because they were straight up punks for the week … Continue reading

February 28, 2015 · 23 Comments

A Dream About Love

I had a dream about my brother Butchie last night. He was wearing footy pajamas, the kind that zip up the front, all fleecy and precious. The kind my children … Continue reading

February 17, 2015 · 14 Comments

Something About Now (Valentine’s Day 2015)

Tim found some old videos on his computer. What with hard-discs being full and switching from desktop dinosaurs to laptops and iPads and iPhones, we hadn’t seen these videos for awhile, … Continue reading

February 15, 2015 · 4 Comments

Going Home for the Funeral: The Reprise or The Rising

The smell of my uncle’s house. That was what first struck me. It smelled exactly the same as it had the last time I was there twenty-some years ago. Back … Continue reading

February 4, 2015 · 13 Comments

Going Home for the Funeral

I need to go home. There’s another funeral, and you always go to the funeral. In fact, funerals have become the only time I go home now, and it has … Continue reading

January 27, 2015 · 30 Comments

Reading (to My Children)

I love books. I love to read them. I dream about writing one someday. My shelves are covered, covered, covered with books. Because once one has acquired a book, whether … Continue reading

January 20, 2015 · 19 Comments

The Betta Fish, the Sugar, and the Fevers

I had a dream last night that I killed one of the betta fish. In the dream it was in the same glass bowl we had goldfish in as a … Continue reading

January 12, 2015 · 4 Comments

Taking Down the Tree

What is the soundtrack for taking down the Christmas tree? Is it my mother, almost into February, during stolen moments when we were all at school or a daycare center, … Continue reading

January 6, 2015 · 13 Comments

Ten Minutes of Thankful (and Then Some)

I was talking the other night with an old friend. She was feeling sad, and bad, and blue. The holidays, the dark winter days, family pressures and perceived failures seemed … Continue reading

January 1, 2015 · 27 Comments

The Twins Turn Six (from the Basement Tapes)

Again and again this year I found myself beginning posts I never finished or finishing posts I never polished enough to post. So they’ve sat half-lost in a virtual notepad, … Continue reading

December 20, 2014 · 10 Comments

Elf on the Shelf: A Re-Purposed Re-Poem

It’s the first day of December and what should appear? But Mr. Elf on the Shelf, the puppet so dear. He’s hiding in nooks, humping a small wooden lamb Frosty Bo … Continue reading

December 2, 2014 · 18 Comments

Sleeping Children, Peace, and Other Thankful Thoughts

Tim brought Mica to me last night. I was in bed. We were watching television, the president juxtaposed against Ferguson, burning cars and police in riot gear throwing tear gas, … Continue reading

November 26, 2014 · 8 Comments

Interview With My Mom, An Education

My Mom’s a talker. She can talk on and on and on. Which means I come by it honestly, anyway. And although I never expected it, I realize now that … Continue reading

November 21, 2014 · 27 Comments

On Learning to Read, A Study in Adjusting Expectations

Tis’ the season. No, it’s not quite the season for Christmas, although I did hear my first Christmas carol on the radio today. And it’s not scientifically the actual season … Continue reading

November 17, 2014 · 17 Comments

Life’s a Journey: This Woman’s Work

[I’ve been away. And honestly, I’ve missed you. And this. And feedback (jazz handsssss.) But I had some art to make and a birthday party for the twins and so … Continue reading

November 14, 2014 · 37 Comments

The Nose, A Life in Smells

We have a smeller in the house. One would think I mean that we have someone who’s making the house smell bad, which isn’t that inaccurate. All four of my … Continue reading

October 8, 2014 · 20 Comments

One Year Blog-o-versary, 100 Years

It’s been a year in the blogosphere since I first began, and I had such high hopes. I wanted to write a one year post with that song 100 Years by … Continue reading

October 1, 2014 · 22 Comments

Life is More Than a Chopped Up To-do List

Today, at pre-school drop-off a convergence of exhausted harried Mamas met somewhere between the butterfly garden and the fairy garden. We stood, sort of gasping for air, and my eyes … Continue reading

September 30, 2014 · 14 Comments

On Acrobats, Motherhood and Friendship

I am a circus performer. I am the tightrope walker, the fire breather (although usually only in the morning before brushing my teeth), the clown in the striped shirt doing jazz … Continue reading

September 18, 2014 · 29 Comments

Hand-Me-Downs, What We Choose to Keep

The day before school started I dug through the kids’ closet where I’ve been (haphazardly) stocking shoes and clothing to fit my children for the next ten years of their lives. … Continue reading

September 11, 2014 · 16 Comments

Found in the Fog

Last weekend was our last in Maine, or at least the last real day of summer for us. I awoke early, crept to the window and was despondent. There was nothing, … Continue reading

September 9, 2014 · 16 Comments

Kindergarten Times Two, Twins

It’s raining teeth around here. Teeth and fingernails and hair. Little pieces of my children’s bodies are paring off, peeling away, to be swept off the porch, swallowed whole or … Continue reading

September 1, 2014 · 22 Comments

Pompeii, I Was There

The craziest thing happened tonight. Actually, I should probably begin with a Trigger Warning: for poop and putting your hands into toilets filled with poop. In case you’re eating an egg … Continue reading

August 23, 2014 · 23 Comments

One Season Following Another…

The marsh grass along the path to the beach is just beginning to turn orange at the edges. It’s a subtle thing, like a gray hair at your temple, but … Continue reading

August 21, 2014 · 13 Comments

I Am For An Art: An Old Manifesto I’d Almost Forgotten I Believed In

A hundred years ago, when I was an artist and an art student and a lover and a free spirit, I wrote a manifesto on art based on Claes Oldenburg’s … Continue reading

August 12, 2014 · 61 Comments

Ocean Stones and Memories

Summer is the time for visiting with family. The summer months are just brimming with relatives. And it’s so necessary, this grounding, these reminders of where you came from. But … Continue reading

August 7, 2014 · 19 Comments

Motherhood, Sisyphus and the Fitbit

I am Sisyphus. At least that’s what I tell myself most days as I walk through the house matching shoes and placing them in rows, hanging jackets on hooks, replacing … Continue reading

August 7, 2014 · 18 Comments

On Writing (A Blog Hop)

I did something crazy. I agreed to join a blog hop with a posse of amazingly cool bloggers. I literally thought to myself, “This is awe-some! The kids go to … Continue reading

July 29, 2014 · 24 Comments

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