Thursday, April 29, 2010

Five minutes with a Mom (myself)

5 Minutes with a (Roller Derby) Mom: Jessica Kitchens

blazen.jpgName: Jessica Kitchens

We understand you have an alias, Blazen Glory. Tell us about it! In 2005 I founded a nonprofit called Fight the Blaze ( that helps to educate and prevent childhood sexual abuse. “Blazen” came from that. “Glory” was added after a couple of the derby girls said I needed something with it. It helped that I loved the song Blaze of Glory.

Roller derby is a pretty unique hobby for a mom. When/why did you get involved? I got on league in 2007. I heard about it in 2006 from one of my friends from graduate school who is also on league (The Professional). At that time I wasn’t able to join because I was pregnant with my third child, Ryker. I have played sports since I was in the 3rd grade and have always wanted to try a contact sport. This sounded perfect for me. I didn’t even have to think about it.

Have you ever suffered a bad injury? Or dealt one out? ;) Mostly bruises, but I did receive a broken nose during one particular bout. Ironically it was one of my own teammates who elbowed me. Good thing was it didn’t slow me down, I kept skating, it just made me really mad. I have also had a fractured finger. I haven’t provided any good injuries to my teammates that I am aware of… thank goodness.

Do your kids travel with you to bouts? For the most part no. I am blessed enough to have a husband who steps in and becomes super dad the 3-4 times a year I have to go to an away bout. I think the main reason they do not go is because the travel for most of our bouts have been on average 8-10 hours of a drive.

What are your children’s names and ages? Gage Dawson, 9; Kieran Avery Rayne, 6; Ryker Embry, 3

When you’re not roller derbying and mommying, what are you up to? I work full time at Vista Health in Fayetteville as an inpatient psycho-therapist. I work mostly with children and adolescents struggling with psychiatric, emotional, and behavioral problems as well as their families. It’s tough but rewarding work. My family is also active in our church, where my husband and I help teach a Wednesday night children’s ministry. Needless to say we are both very busy.

Where do you live in NWA? We currently live in Springdale.

Where were you born and raised? I was born in Denver, CO, and lived in Colorado until I was 4. My family then moved to McAlester, OK where I lived until I graduated high school. I married my husband a year later and then we both moved to Ada, OK, for college. We made our way to NWA in 2003 when my husband got offered a graduate assistanceship at the University of Arkansas. And we have been here ever since.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? Oh, that’s easy.. Ireland! I talk about it all the time and my hope to at least visit it someday. My second choice would be the Rocky Mountains. I love the Mountains.

If you went back to college what would you study? I would like to get my PhD in Counseling someday. But unless someone offers to pay me to do that, it probably won’t happen.

If you had a whole weekend to yourself what would you do? Probably sleep, I am easy. Maybe go get a massage, but yes, definitely sleep.

What are some of your favorite things to do with the kids? When it is nice we love to go to the park. The kids also love the Jumpzone in Bentonville. I kind of like it myself, actually. Those things are fun.

What traditions do you hope to pass on to your children? I hope they understand the importance of sitting down as a family for dinner. I grew up in a home that always sat down for dinner, so I guess it got passed down to me. We also have some Christmas and Easter traditions that I hope they continue in their own families. But, I am also not opposed to them starting their own.

Besides roller derby, what are some of your other interests? I like graphic art and design. Before rollerderby I volunteered many hours designing photo signatures for Mother’s using their own pictures, for use in emails and various bulletin boards. I still do my own occasionally, but not near the amount that I used to. I also love to read, crochet, and draw if I have the time. I will also jump at the chance to play some softball and basketball, which were the sports I grew up playing.

What was the best parenting advice you ever received? My Mother and Mother in law were great in the fact that they didn’t give me a whole lot of verbal advice, but were great about showing me ways to do things. Also, not sure who it was that told me about the sling, but that was one of the most useful tools to help hold babies and still be able to get things done.

If someone wrote a book about your life, what would a good title be? Anatomy of Exhaustion

What are you listening to on your ipod right now? I am a classic rock girl by heart. I can thank my parents for that. My ultimate favorite is Fleetwood Mac, but I also love Led Zepplin, Tom Petty, Creedence, Bob Seger, etc.

Something you cannot live without? My God, my family, and chocolate.

One word to sum me up … persevering

Note from the mamas: The Arkansas Killbillies (which Jessica is part of) will have its last home bout of the season at 7 p.m. on May 15 at Starlight Skatium in Fayetteville. Doors open at 6 and the show begins at 7. Tickets are $10 online and $15 at the door. All bouts have sold out this season, so keep that in mind!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

I'm lovin it!

No I am not referring to McDonalds! These past two weeks have been like heaven outside and my mood appreciates it so much. 70's and sunny is like my ultimate perfect. It also has helped in the work department. I find myself super efficient (even more so than usual) and in the best mood. Things that would sometimes bother me I am easily able to dismiss. Kids I often have trouble with I find we are both smiling after sessions. Also because of my super efficiency and good mood I find I am not having to stay at work as long and have left early the last two Fridays and took Ryker to the park. I still manage to catch happy hour at sonic.

I knew it then but realize it even more now, Winter lasted way too long and was way too harsh this year. However, one negative for the super splendid weather and mood I find that time is going by super fast. April seems to flying by at the speed of light. Although May, being right around the corner does bring a lot of fun stuff. Our first church camping trip of the year is in May and the kids are looking forward to it as much as me. Steven isn't looking forward to the long drive. I say boo on him. May also brings the closeness of school being out. While most parents don't look forward to this. I do. I think school takes away so much time away from the American family. My kids are lucky they have a teacher for a parent. Steven becomes super stay at home dad in the summer. Cleans house, takes them to the park, and incorporates some school as well. I would love to someday have a job that gives me summers off. It's one of my goals.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Good news!

Awhile back my Mother in law had a mammogram that showed a lump. According to the Doctor's report there was a good chance it was malignant. After an ultrasound and biopsy and long awaited results we found out today that it is benign. Definitely answered prayers from God.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Belated Easter! With added zoo post...

Yesterday was a beautiful Easter. The day started off bumpy before church as Ryker absolutely refused to take a picture and threw a tremendous fit. So to explain first pic...

He was able to perk up on the way and we finally got all of them together once we got there.

On March 26th we took a trip up to Tulsa for our yearly zoo trip. The weather was beautiful after having poured for days right before.

So far this spring is turning out to be really nice.