Meg's (Ad)Ventures

Friday, July 20, 2012

In Reflection

Sometimes there are no words.

Being a resident of Denver today has been overwhelmingly sad. The streets were oddly quiet, the grocery store nearly empty. It was as if our city was paralyzed. How did this happen here? Again?

I work in Aurora, drive through Aurora and see Aurora from my front door. Every day. Former students and the daughter of a dear friend who babysits for us often were in attendance in Theater 9. Details are scarce but I do know they are all safe.

Media is everywhere. Helicopters, photographers, satellite news vans. Everywhere. It is all so surreal.

Our thoughts, prayers and deepest sympathies go out to the families affected by this horrendous tragedy as well a huge thank you to all the over 200 fire fighters, paramedics, and police men and women who responded. 


Hug your loved ones for just a little bit longer tonight and always remember to tell them how much you love them. Each moment is precious.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Kitchen Chaos

There's something to be said about doing your own home improvements. The feeling of pride, accomplishment, and savings from doing the work yourself can be exhilarating!

And, then there's the feelings of frustration, fatigue, and why did I ever decide to take on this project?!

That's where I am.

A few weeks ago, when my sister was here visiting, we decided to take on a long-time project goal of mine: re-doing my kitchen. It included painting the cupboards, painting the walls, adding new hardware to the doors and drawers, removing the current backsplash, adding a new backsplash and replacing the countertop. Yeah. Big project.

But we knew we could get a huge portion of it done together.  With years of experience under our belts from working with our dad, we took on this project without hesitation. Frist stop: repainting the cabinets and walls. They turned out BEAUTIFUL! We cheered, drank some wine to celebrate and enjoyed the rest of Kristen's time in Denver playing and relaxing. 


A few days later, Kristen returned to Michigan and the cabinets peeled. 


Yeah. 


I almost cried. Well, I did cry. All that work down the drain! We had gotten some bad advice from "The Fix-it Store" as Sofia calls it and the paint reacted poorly with the wood. Ugh. 


After regrouping and putting in a new plan in place, I started over. And I mean really started over! I stripped, sanded, washed and primed all the surfaces to make sure that NO paint would be coming off this time. I have spent every spare minute over the last two weeks working on this kitchen -- while the kids have napped, staying up late, getting up early, etc. Finally tonight I reached a major milestone: the first coat of paint on the upper cabinets is finally on! I'm super excited about the final product and can't wait to get everything all done! 


The countertop and backsplash will be attacked in August some time when we've had a little break from all the kitchen chaos. 

I really am proud of this project. :) Even cooler is how Chris is so trusting of my abilities and has let me just do my thing. It feels good to be taking charge of my own house like this! And for this, I am thankful!

Before

New Hardware for Cabinet Doors and Drawers


Upper Cabinets Halfway Done! Lower Cabinets Yet To Be Stripped and Redone.

I even installed the new wine rack on the wall! 

My Make-Shift Drying Rack

Monday, July 16, 2012

So Long For Now

This weekend, our hearts broke for Sofia. Her best friend and next door neighbor moved away to Minnesota. For three years, Hayley and Sofia have been inseparable and often mistaken as sisters. Hayley truly was an extension of our family - as was the rest of her family!


We are so sad to see the Townsend's go. But in the end, we know this will not be goodbye...simply, see ya soon!

When the lines between friendship and family blur, it's definitely something to be thankful for. April, Hayley, Jake, and Tony -- we will miss you dearly. Thank you for three wonderful years of friendship and love!

Friday, July 06, 2012

Disappearing Act

So I disappeared for a while. I didn't write here. I hardly posted on Facebook even.

I traveled, played, relaxed, and observed. I got some much needed R&R.

I spent time with family and friends, read, wrote, and found reasons to fall in love with my husband all over again.

I disappeared for a while. And it was nice. :)

In a life that is typically hectic, it was good to slow down and take in everything. I've got lots of stories to share.

And for this, I am thankful.
It's been 8 years! Loving my husband more with every day...

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Two!

Our wild, crazy, unbelievably lovable, sweet, curious, and whip smart boy turned TWO today! It is so hard to believe. We have been so blessed with our two kids and it is always such a joy to celebrate the day they each came into to this world.

Happy Birthday, Nico! We love you!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

In Sickness and In Health

I am so grateful for my husband on so many levels. In a bizarre set of circumstances, I spent Sunday night up pacing back and forth across my living room floor with the worst case of heart burn turned pukefest I have experienced in my life.

Sunday night turned into Monday morning and things were not getting any better. At 5 a.m., Chris drove to the 24 hour grocery store to find me some medicine, went to his office to gather his items for the day, and was back by 7:30 to take care of me and the kids. To say he has been busy at work lately is an understatement. But without question, he took the day off so he could work from home and be sure I okay.

By 9:30 and with no relief of removing my head from the porcelain god in sight, we were on the way to the doctor. Chris sat with me as I received an IV, heated blankets (my body temp had dropped to below 95 degrees!), medicines, and constant prodding. He took care of filling my prescriptions, managed the kids all afternoon and evening and even managed to crack jokes throughout the day.

What started as a super gnarly case of acid reflux that spiraled out of control ended in the most wonderful feeling of how lucky and honored I am to have a partner who is so willing to care for me during difficult (and disgusting!!) times.

For better or worse; in sickness and in health....

Yeah, he's a keeper. And for HIM I am thankful!

June 26, 2004


Friday, June 08, 2012

How To Spell "Friend"

B-F-F

...according to Sofia. :) Hilarious!

Well hey there, Summer.

Summer is here!

The kids are in daycare and school through the end of the week, so I get two entire days to myself. Crazy!  Between a haircut (actually a hair CHOP), lunch with a great friend, a workout at the gym, and a snooze, I'd say that my first day of summer break was well-spent.

I'm really looking forward to the time I will get with the kids over the next two months...but a little Meg time was just what the doctor ordered today. :)

And for this, I am thankful.


Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Sit With A Cause: Chair-ity

My sister is amazing. Not only is she an incredible teacher, friend, wife, sister, and daughter, but she is also super creative and crafty. Recently, her husband told her a story he had heard on Dave Ramsey's daily broadcast about a man who turned his life and community around by flipping furniture. He encouraged her to think about doing something along the same lines because of her many talents and passions.

Within 48 hours, my sister had a purchased furniture off of Craigslist, refinished it and SOLD it! The coolest part about it all is that a portion of her profits will be going to Wings of Hope Hospice in Allegan, MI, where our family has volunteered for many years. She has a goal of being able to donate $500 by December.

Step 2 was a website. We chatted and worked simultaneously tonight via Skype to set up a blog to keep track of her furniture flipping journey. It turned out so well! Be sure to take a look and think about donating any furniture to her cause.

I am a proud big sister tonight! Check out Chair-ity to learn more about Kristen's plans for making a difference in SouthWest Michigan. :)

Kristen's first furniture flip!



Monday, June 04, 2012

Tick Tock

I'm sitting at my desk in my classroom watching my students write. It's quiet. They're focused. They've just finished presenting out their research and experiments from their capstone project. Aside from the bare walls and super clean countertops, you'd never know school was going to end in just two days. 

I love watching them; smiling at one another, trying not to giggle, keeping one another accountable and enjoying their 55 minutes in Mrs. Daniel's science room. I love seeing that they've grown. 

The clock is ticking and summer is almost here. In the meantime, I'm going to treasure my moments with this group of kids. 

...they're worth slowing down for. :) 

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Heavenly

En route to Saturday's ballet class...

Sofia: Mom, where is heaven?
Me: Well, I think it's wherever you want it to be. Many people like to think that heaven is up in the sky.
Sofia: Oh. Can animals go there too?
Me: Of course!
Sofia: Well, where do people and animals sleep when they are in heaven if it's in the sky?
Me: Hmmm...maybe they sleep in the clouds. It's probably very soft.
Sofia: So THAT'S why the clouds looks like animal shapes sometimes!
Me: That's exactly it, my dear. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Someday Park

When we bought our home 6 years ago, we were told that the empty 25 acres of dirt across the street would not stay that way for long. Plans were in action to convert that space into a park with trails, trees, and lots of open space! Even better, the construction was set to begin within a few months of us moving in. We were willing to compromise on space and lack of yard because of this and quickly signed on the dotted line for our first home.

Spring and summer came and with every pass of a large piece of construction equipment, we held our breath in anticipation for the digging to begin.

But it didn't. And it still hasn't.

Due to a technicality between the City of Denver and the City of Aurora, there has been an ongoing argument about water rights and thus we have no park. Still. What we DO have is the evolution of nature at it's best...

Over the last year grass has begun to grow, trees have filled out and our "someday park" is at least a peaceful to look at as the sun sets each night. :) No more dirt, just green. Goes nicely with my Spartan flag.

And for this, I am thankful.


Monday, May 28, 2012

A Rambling of Sorts

I've had a lot to be thankful for lately...

It's, of course, Memorial Day. This day always makes me think of our family and friends who so bravely and honorably have fought for what our country stands for. We owe so much to our service members and veterans and should be grateful for them more than once a year, if you ask me.

School's winding down, the weather is getting better by the day and the thought of summer just around the corner makes me want to squeal!

The kids and I are heading to Michigan in the end of June for our annual summer trip. I'm stoked! This year, I decided not to be crazy and drive cross country on my own with two squirrelly young ones....for all our sanity! It won't be the same without Chris but we're coming up with all kinds of creative ways to be sure he is included in our adventures.

I finished my mom's new website. Check it out if you're interested...it's pretty cool, if I do say so myself. :)  www.debbiemcfalone.com. The cool part is that it went ON THE DAY SHE GRADUATED with her Ph.D.!! She is officially Dr. Debbie McFalone and we are all so, so proud of her!

I attended a few graduation open houses this weekend of former students. It is always such an honor when kids who I haven't taught for 4 years want to share such a momentous occasion with me. I love meeting their families, seeing their friends and running into other students that I haven't seen in years. It definitely is a proud moment to see them all becoming so successful, confident young adults.

I've stunk at writing regularly lately, I know. On the other hand, I'm kind of OK with it. My days have been jammed-packed from 4:30 a.m. wake-ups to 11 p.m. flops into my pillow. I am constantly striving to strike a balance in my life...and for the last few weeks, the balance has swung in a different direction.

But, I'm back. :) And for this, I am thankful!

And for your Memorial Day pictorial enjoyment, take a look at my adorable, slip 'n sliding kids!




Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Ricky Ticky Techie

I love being a techie dork. I've been working on a new site for my mom's consulting business tonight and I'm soooooooo excited about how it's turning out! It's fun to be a part of her success in a behind the scenes way and I'm grateful to be able to offer my services doing something I love and not have her be taken to the bank by some random website designer.

It's always nice to help others...especially when it's your mom. :) And for this, I am thankful.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Just Perfect

I'm not sure that I ever expected motherhood to be as it is: a wild, crazy, passionate, rewarding, frustrating, hilarious, educational, and adventuresome experience. In fact, these descriptors can't even do justice to what being a mom is like to me. Sometimes there are no words. The pictures below do a pretty nice job of summing up what motherhood is like...

Today, I was reminded about the level of enjoyment that can come from a simple day with no plans. As a result, we played, we ate, we went to the mall, we laughed, and we attempted to take pictures. :)

It was a great Mother's Day. To all those who mother, you are deeply appreciated and loved!

 Trying to take a picture of the kids and I. 

 Nico waaaaaaay too excited to get into the bath. Got into the bathroom before I could get him undressed! We haven't laughed this hard in a LONG time. 

Sofia and I. :)

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

I Might As Well Take It

I'm the world's WORST patient. I hate going to the doctor. I hate taking medicine. I hate taking days off work to rest. I hate everything about being sick. The problem is, when other people are sick, I have no problem offering advice (read: being bossy to my husband) as to what they should do.

Today though, I finally reached a point where I realized that if I was going to dish out demands for others, I needed to be able to take them as well. I have been feeling progressively worse over the last week and today was no exception. After encouragement (for the umpteenth time!) from Chris to call the doctor and a breathing vitals check by our school nurse, I finally made the call.

Good thing too. I ended up having an ear infection, a sinus infection AND bronchitis! I'm good to go on antibiotics for a while!

Today I learned a lesson about being stubborn and listening to others. I need these reality checks every once in a while. And for this, I am thankful.

Honesty

Honesty is hard. Especially when you are caught in the middle of a lie.

Today, I caught two of my students writing notes on their hands just before I was about to give out a test. I couldn't believe it. Not those two students! I quietly asked the students to wash their hands and then handed out the test. I could tell that the two kids were shocked I hadn't made a scene and didn't deny them the opportunity to take their assessment. Instead, I let them think.

When everyone in the class was finished with the test, I pulled over my two students one at a time to talk. I didn't accuse. I didn't yell. I didn't embarrass. All I did was ask why? For these two students, that would be punishment enough.

The conversation that ensued with both students was one of mutual respect and deep regret from their end. It was hard. In the end, they each walked away a little more grown up. They had made a mistake that every teenager does. I was just pleased to see that they were each reflective enough to know that it should not be one that is repeated!

I'm so thankful with how things turned out today. Having conversations like this are some of the toughest parts of my job. It requires me to be honest and hold my students accountable as they grow and develop into young adults. It's a tremendous responsibility.

And today, I think I held up my end of the bargain.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Saying Goodbye

Our beloved Grandma Katie (Nain) passed away at the age of 81 at the beginning of the month. We were lucky enough to be able to spend her last few days with her and together as a family. If you haven't yet had a chance, please pop over to Glass Heel for my latest article and tribute to her.

She was a special lady and loved dearly.

Daily Motivation: A Lesson In Living

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Frosted Goodness

I will never be too old for frosted animal crackers!

And for this, I am thankful. :)

Friday, April 20, 2012

A Little Peace

I found some peace today - on a number of levels. Sometimes things just kind of fall into place the way you've needed them to but didn't even realize it. Today was one of those days. 

And I'm thankful for that!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Vegas Baby

I went to Las Vegas a few weeks ago for bachelorette party for my good friend, Brooke. I've never gone away or done the big, huge bachelorette party scene so I had no idea what to expect. What I found was 4 solid days of laughter, relaxation, WALKING, dancing and endless one-liners. :) I even got lucky on the slot machines!

We had a crew! And we had so much fun! 



And that's all I can say about that!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Final Tuck-In

There is one thing that I treasure more than anything else as a parent: the last check-in on the kids before I go to sleep at night. I can't resist one final cheek caress, cover adjustment and whisper of "I love you". My goodness, how we have been blessed!

I'm back. Prepare yourselves for several posts over the next week as a catch you up on a strange, exciting, emotional, sad, and joyous series of events.

xoxo

Monday, April 02, 2012

A Lot

It's been a whirlwind of activity lately. Some good. Some sad. But a whirlwind. I promise to update with more details soon. But tonight, I am unbelievably thankful for family.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

I Love You Because

Sofia wanted a snack before bed and Chris gave her a handful of cereal but on one condition: after each bite, she needed to say why she loved her mommy. What resulted, we never could have anticipated.

Mom, I love you because...
~You make good meat.
~You let me play outside.
~You're the best at rubbing my back.
~You give me hard stuff to work on and I like to learn new things.
~You're the best science teacher.
~You make the best food.
~You play the best shows.

I would love to add commentary to each of her statements due to the hysterics we ended up in. However, the simplicity of her statements are worth preserving just as they are.

She is my little dear. And I love her too. :)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Sick Day Slow Down

I left work early today and came home not feeling well. I shouldn't have gone in the first place but I talked myself into dressing up extra nice to fake my way through the day. Hey, if my outward appearance looked somewhat pulled together, my mind and body would shortly follow, right?

Nope. Not today. At all. I felt like absolute crap and there was no way to fake my way out of it.

When I finally gave myself the permission to go home, it was amazing. I place so much pressure on myself to give to others. Today, I was reminded that sometimes, I need to give to myself too. I came home, rested on the couch, napped, and grabbed a few groceries (on my own!!!) before picking up the kids from school and daycare.

I'm already feeling one hundred times better than I did this afternoon. And for this, I am thankful.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

My Minivan is Hot

I drive a minivan. And I rock it.

The last few days of work have been pretty tough. I often struggle with how to deal with some of the baggage my students have to handle on a daily basis. Frankly, I am in awe that as many of them hold it together as well as they do. It's hard to be a teenager sometimes. 

This afternoon as I was driving home thinking about some of my students, I rolled down the windows, turned up the music and let the day ease away. With a clear mind I realized suddenly, I am super thankful for my minivan. (It's not completely disconnected...stay with me.) Each day, my car serves as my place to decompress, think, talk on the phone, eat a snack, listen to music (though not always of my choice!) and play silly games with my kids. My minivan, which I dreaded driving for so long because I was "too young to drive one" (seriously, could I have been more of a brat?!?!?) has served as much more than my transportation from Point A to B. This car has been an integral part in maintaining a positive mental health from day to day! 

Whoa. A minivan. I drive one. And I love it. 
The best "van" photo ever! :)
Sofia - Age 3, 2010

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Moment Is All It Takes To Fall In Love

There they were, snuggled face-to-face, in a sea of pillows and blankets. Their skin looked like porcelain and their lips the perfect shade of pink. Breathing softly, Nico and Sofia were so peaceful. Suddenly, I felt guilty for being upset that they had woken Chris and I up in the early hours of the morning. Seeing them so delicate, so perfect, in the early morning light made me realize that sometimes, we all just need a good snuggle with Mom and Dad.

This morning I was given a reason to pause and fall in love with my children all over again in just a single moment. And for this, I am thankful.


***On a side note, I contemplated taking a picture but didn't dare risk waking them in their adorable state.***

Monday, March 19, 2012

Motivation Schmotivation

I am seriously lacking motivation today. Last week really took it out of me. Third quarter ends on Friday and I'm still staring at a stack of grading to finish. I hate grading. I'm always behind.

Today, I am really thankful that my schedule is returning to somewhat of a normal routine. Normal means predictability, control and less anxiety for me. All of these things result in less stress and less stress means more energy.  Any logical person would then conclude that more energy would mean a return of motivation. That is what I'm hoping is going to happen to me! Hey, a girl can dream right?

...but if I'm not the recipient of a motivational spurt, at least spring break is only 4 days away! :)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

It's Good to be Green...

...and White! Michigan State has moved on to the Sweet Sixteen yet again! Wahoo! They are so much fun to watch and I LOVE being a Spartan in March. :)

I am most excited about seeing one of my students come through with his end of our "who makes it further bargain -- MSU or UofM". A Spice Girl's dance is going to provide for some serious entertainment this week in my science class!

I think I'll play the fight song as students walk in tomorrow...

That Was Scary, Granmary!

Today, we are SO thankful that Chris's mom is okay after a bizarre and pretty severe biking accident along a biking trail near her home in Kentwood, MI. After 12 stitches around her eye, a cat scan to rule out a concussion, and some major TLC from David, Mary is home resting and recuperating.

We love you, Mary and are praying for a speedy recovery!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Two Days Too Long

I got an email this morning from Chris with nothing but a subject line that read, "I miss your blogging".

Two days is too long to go in between posts! I even feel this morning like I am missing something - out of step. I need to post each day again. It was rejuvenating and was the way I found my center each day.

Thanks for the kick in the pants, honey. For you, I am thankful.

Monday, March 12, 2012

It's a Good Life

I spent the afternoon chasing after toilet paper rolls across a gym floor and having shaving cream put in my hair in front of 900 students. Now, I'm making a Sponge Bob Square Pants taco kit.

I have a good life. :)

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Literally

Sofia: Pleeeeease can I have one more chocolate kiss?
Me: No more candy, honey. End of story.
Sofia: Awwww, but I LIKE stories!


Even when Sofia's negotiating, she's still adorable. And for this, I am thankful. :)

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Delegations

I've learned a valuable lesson this week: I can't do it all. Well, duh. I knew this, but putting it into practice seems much more difficult that it would seem.

This is always a super, crazy time of year. Next week is the week our school takes the state's standardized test. It's also the week that, upon completion of 4 days of testing, we have a school-wide assembly for students and staff to play, laugh and blow off some steam. For the last several years, I've viewed this week as "Assembly Week" instead of "Test Week". (Don't worry, when I admitted this sheepishly to my principal a few weeks ago, he chuckled.) This year, I am still in charge of the assemblies and there's been an added twist...an extra day!

5 assemblies in 5 days for 900 kids. Oh yeah, and I'm back in the classroom full time. I needed help.

I assembled a group of teachers to create a planning committee and boy, have they ever been amazing! They are full of ideas, help and most importantly, willingness to take on jobs and responsibilities.

This week has been tremendously stressful but I can't even imagine what it would have been like without the help of my co-workers. I am unbelievably grateful for them!

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Hello Pillow

It's been a few days, I know. I've been tired. Really tired. I just took my 6th dosage of my Vitamin D treatment this weekend. Halfway done. I've got to start feeling better soon...

There were a few shining moments throughout the weekend that I will be definitely sharing in the next day or so when I can seem to hold my eye lids open past 9 p.m. :)

In the meantime, I am so very grateful for my pillow tonight. My soft, delightful, fits-just-so-perfectly-around-my-neck pillow.

Ahhh

Friday, March 02, 2012

Safe and Sound

Sofia went on a field trip today with her kindergarten class. While walking, Sofia turned her head to look at something while her group kept walking and turned the other way. Before she knew it, she was all alone, in an unfamiliar place. Thankfully, she had remembered the conversation we had recently about what to do if she were to ever get lost: stay put!

She did just that and a few minutes later, one of the teacher assistants found her. I was so proud of how Sofia handled herself today. I'm sure it was super scary for her and yet she didn't shed a single tear.

She's amazing and she's safe and sound. For this, I am thankful.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

366

It's Leap Day! I'm not quite sure why, but this time around, this rarely occurring day was fun and more interesting than it ever has been before. I did stupid things like share ridiculous facts and write 2/29/12 in as many places and times as I could. I suppose I feel like we've been given an extra day and we might as well do something different and special with it!

An extra day to be thankful...for this, I am thankful.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Time to Blog Hop

If you haven't ever found your way over to my friend Kim's blog, it's time to do so. She and her mom have teamed up to write letters to her daughter Ellie (Nico's friend) to share and preserve beautiful stories of friendship, family, and love. You can't help but smile as you read and I promise you, you'll get sucked in quickly.

Kim, you are such an inspiration and you have deeply touched my heart. For you, I am thankful!

Monday, February 27, 2012

iConnect

Chris just got an iPhone in Friday. I love it! It's SO much easier to get in touch with him now and I love that. We both have such busy schedules during the day and often wont talk until we are both on our way home from work. Now, it's nice just to see a quick note saying "hey lady" and know my hubby is thinking of me just as much as I am of him.

Welcome to the 21st Century, my darling. For our new connection I am thankful.

Friday, February 24, 2012

My Sweet Girl

And for this, I am thankful:

Ready, Set, Go...But Wait!

Today we had a late start...not because I was running late, but because the weather caused a delayed schedule at school. While students didn't have to arrive until an hour after school normally began, I still had to show up at my regular time. Boo.

I strapped the kids in the car at 6:30 and we made our way through the snow and ice very slowly. I was stressed about being late for work but realized that even if I was late, it was OK. There wouldn't be a room full of students waiting for me today. I had time.

I took a breath and concentrated on the drive. Once the road cleared, I even called and had a little morning chat with my 91-year-old grandma. It was the perfect way to slowly start the day.

And for this, I am thankful.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

My Melting Ice Core

I found myself feeling a bit overwhelmed at work today. It was one of those days where there just wasn't a minute to slow down. I felt like I was thinking in 12 directions at the same time...and it showed.

Tomorrow, I'll be doing an ice core experiment with students to help them understand how climate has changed throughout Earth's history. It's a really cool lab and I'm super excited to do it with the kids.

So excited that I forgot to bring my sample home to finish adding the layers tonight. I realized tonight while sitting in church that I'd left my sample mixtures sitting on the window ledge right outside my classroom door.

Ah well. No layered ice core to demo. I'm just thankful that I've got a great lesson for the kids to do and a cool way for them to understand climate change over time. Let's hope it works!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Yes, I Took A Break

I went to Washington DC. I took a break. For 4 days.


I spent time with some of my oldest and dearest friends. I laughed, slept, and ate ridiculous amounts of food. I had an absolutely incredible time!


I took a break. For 4 days. And for this, I am thankful. :)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Leaving On A Jet Plane

Today I cleaned off my desk, left a quiz and sub notes in a neat little stack, and locked my classroom door behind me. Tomorrow I won't be there. I'll be on a plane on my way to Washington DC to meet up with my college roommates and life-long girlfriends. I can't even begin to explain how excited I am about this trip!

Just girls. No schedule. Lots of laughing. It's going to be an amazing weekend! And for this, I am thankful. :)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Fresh Start

I has one of "those" days today. Not bad, not great either. It's days like these that make me feel grateful for an opportunity to start over again tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Feelin' Love

Flowers and some chocolate from my husband, a dinner made of nothing but hors d'ouevres and a card that said, "You're the best mom ever!" from my kids.

Yeah, it was an awesome Valentine's Day. :) It feels good to be loved and love in return.

And for this, I am thankful.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Tastes Like Chicken

I cooked!

...and it was GOOD! :) I made this awesome recipe I found on Pinterest called Cheddar Chicken -- super easy and delicious. It was a huge hit and I can wait to make it again. Anything, and I do mean anything, that is both easy to make and delicious are a good combo for me! And for this, I am thankful.

Check out the recipe if you're interested!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Are We Really Back?

No fevers. No puking. No stomach anything. 


Could it be that we're actually back on track to being healthy in this house? I think so!

And for this, I am thankful!!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

I Want To Dance With Somebody

With my sister and I buckled into the backseat, my mom used to crank up Whitney Houston on the stereo. We'd sing our hearts out and then laugh like crazy. Such good memories!

It is so sad that we lost such a music icon today. For her incredible voice and the memories that were made as a result of her music, I am thankful.

Corner Office

For the first time in my career, I have a room with a window. And it's not just a window. It's a WINDOW! Floor to ceiling and wraps around the corner of my classroom. I put my desk in the corner so that the window wraps around me. Being on the second floor, I feel like I'm sitting on the edge of the world. I love it!

Today the sun streamed through the glass and was so warm on my back. For just a moment, I let myself drift away on a mini vacation. It was just perfect and sooooo what I needed to finish out the week.

I love my corner "office". And for this, I am thankful.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

One, Two, Skip a Few

For the first time in over a year, I skipped a day of posting. I woke up almost feeling in a panic this morning. Weird! But then I realized, it's ok.

I write here as an outlet and a way to provide balance in my life. The last few days all I've been able to think about is how to get Sofia better and have, without question, lost some balance. I haven't slept well, eaten well,  functioned well.  I've never seen my daughter so ill and I didn't care about me.

But now, I think things may be looking up. I'm hoping that life begins to return to normal here soon. We all need it to. For now, I am going to revel in the watching my kids actually crack a smile for the first time in days and for finding a few moments of balance in today...even if it took me an extra day to get here.

And for this, I am thankful.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Little Magic Pills


I can't believe how long, lanky thin Sofia looks. This stomach bug and ear infection has really taken a toll on her.

After nearly 36 hours of not being able to keep even a few milliliters of fluid down, the pediatrician prescribed a dissolvable Zofran pill to relieve the nausea and vomiting. I think it's finally beginning to work as it's been nearly 5 hours since the last rendezvous with the special white bowl on the couch.

Thank goodness for this little magic pill! I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it does it's job all night so the four of us can get a little sleep.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Year 2 Starts With A Barf...err, Bang!

I'm going to be honest: the last 24 hours have been BRUTAL. Our kids are siiiiiiick. Thankfully, Nico was on the tail end of his stomach bug, but Sofia came roaring into the picture with full force AND a double ear infection. Chris and I had to divide and conquer in order to make it through night -- he on the couch with Sofia and the barf bowl and me in our room with a toddler who refused to sleep.

Around 3 a.m. I heard Chris shouting for me from the living room because he saw a shadow of something standing on the kitchen table dancing around. But it was no shadow...it was Nico! When I dozed off, he  escaped from our room and climbed up the chairs to create a stage our of the dinner table. Stinker! I quickly scooped him up and finally calmed him down enough to fall asleep for a few hours.

Sofia was a trooper all day. I haven't seen her this sick in a long time. She even fell asleep on the exam table at the doctor's office!

More than anything, I am glad that I have a partner during this crazy time. What essentially could have been World War III, was much more manageable thanks to teamwork. Being a parent is no easy task -- especially when kids are sick! I'm so thankful I don't have to do it alone. :)


Day 365: A Day Just Like Any Other

I'm not sure what I expected when I woke up today.

I came out of the bedroom to the normal Sunday routine and "normal" continued throughout the day. I thought I might feel different today, but I don't.  It's my 365th day of posting! Shouldn't there be fireworks or confetti or flowers or something?


Nope. It's just another day. A Sunday. A day that my kids are fighting fevers and a stomach bug. A day, that despite fighting fevers and stomach bugs, we still played outside in the super awesome snow fort that Chris and our neighbor built in the 20 inches of snow we got over the weekend. A day that the house was cleaned and disheveled no less than 5 times.

A day that just so happens to be my 365th day of gratitude.

Holy cow. I've never stuck to a goal like I have this one in my life. Aside from marrying the love of my life and creating two amazing children with him, this is quite possibly one of my most proud accomplishments. It's because of my incredible husband and children that I could even dream of refocusing my life for the last 365 days as I did.

Today is a day just like any other. And today, I am simply thankful. What an experience this has been!

On to Year 2... :)




Saturday, February 04, 2012

Day 364: Only Up From Here

There's something about holding a brand new baby that just makes all the wrong in the world dissolve. As I held my friend Andrea's new son today, I couldn't help but think about what an incredible life this little boy is going to have. So much to look forward to, dreams to be fulfilled and journeys to experience! Seriously, being a baby has got to be the best gig in the world! :) Everything only goes up from there.

It was so wonderful catching up with my dear friend and holding the newest addition to her family today. And for this, I am thankful.

Day 363: Just Right

It was an awesome day. Between school being called off, an impromptu visit from my friend Carrie and then lasagna dinner to follow, today was just the right way to end the week.   And for this, I am thankful. 

Friday, February 03, 2012

Day 362: Hello there, long weekend.

Meteorology in Colorado is nothing short of inaccurate. Those mountain ranges are tricky! :) However, the weather hunters have seemed to get this giant storm right and school for tomorrow has already been canceled! Woo hoo! The snow is coming down at an unbelievable pace and we are predicted to get anywhere from 15"-24" of snow. I don't care if we end up with 2". It is just such a nice feeling to get ready for bed tonight knowing tomorrow I don't have to wake up before the sun does.

And for this, I am thankful.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Day 361: Friends with Benefits

Each day my children get dressed, bundle up and head off on their merry way thanks to the help of many wonderful friends. No, it's just me who follows the kids out the door, but it is our loving friends who have passed on countless items of clothing to them. These kids are set! Shoes, boots, jackets, pants, sweatshirts...you name it, friends have passed it along. Sometimes it simply stops me in my tracks. We are SO lucky to be involved with a network of people who care so deeply about our children. Plus, it's fun to pass our own items along to others in return. 

Back when I was in high school and college, my girl friends and I would hold "benefits". We'd gather at someone's house with items of clothing we were tired of and trade. Instant shopping spree free of cost! While I don't typically do this type of "benefiting" anymore, it's really cool to see how it's all evolved based on the needs and stations of our lives. 

It's all become a big cycle. We all benefit. :) And for this, I am thankful.


Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Day 360: Never Drive Faster Than Your Angel Can Fly

Near the kitchen door at Chris's parent's house, there hangs a little sign on the key rack that says, "Never drive faster than your angel can fly." Of the thousands of times I have entered and exited the Daniel house, I don't think there has been a single time I've passed that sign without reading it. I love it and even though I haven't stepped through the Daniel kitchen doorway since July, this little saying seems to stick with me.

Even today. I took a different way home from work today to avoid traffic and construction. I was deep in thought about work and didn't even realize I was driving 10 mph over the limit. Something sparked my attention, I realized what I was doing and slowed down right away. Not five seconds later, I rounded a corner to find a HUGE speed trap taking place. On the side of the road sat four motorcycle cops with radar guns poised, ready to pull cars over.

Thankfully, I was not one of the people stopped. I had an angel today who reminded me to slow down so he or she could keep up. And I needed that.

And for this, I am thankful.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Day 359: Deciding What's Next

Surprise, surprise...I got off on my day counting early on. Technically, I'm supposed to be up with my "365" on February 1st but since my habit of late night blogging has gotten in the way of my counting skills, I've decided to keep going for 6 more days. It's only fair, right?

So what is next? I haven't been able to decide. This last year has proved to be an incredible journey on so many different levels. (If you didn't have a chance to read this week's Glass Heel post, take a look for my full reflection.) I feel like it would be a mistake to just quit writing each day. I've found that these ten or fifteen minutes that I sit down each night to write have become sacred. It's my one time of the day to just kind of hang out in my head, if that makes any sense.

I love this blog. I love writing. Day 366 isn't so far off and what it or the following 365 will look like, I have no idea. I do know I won't stop looking around for moments moments of gratitude. This is a dramatic difference from where I was just one year ago. How it flows out may be just a little bit different. We'll see.

For now, I have a few days left of my daily reflections and I definitely will cherish each one. And for this, I am thankful.

***Please feel free to comment with ideas on what you think should come next!***

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Day 358: Two Brains Are Better Than One

Today I snuck out of the house for a bit to meet my 7th grade planning partner, Kate. She also teaches 7th grade science and thanks to her, I've avoided drowning in a sea of new content this year. We met at this awesome little coffee shop in my old neighborhood and got a TON of work done. It was more than awesome.

Our days are filled with commitments and interruptions at school. It was really cool to meet on our own time, in super comfy clothes and with a warm cup of coffee to really get the thinking juices flowing.

Twice the work in half the time...I'll take it! And for this, I am thankful.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Day 357: Game Night

Sofia loves games. And I mean loves games! Thus, every once in a while, we forgo the normal bedtime routine in leu of a game night.

Tonight's game of choice was Headbanz, a guessing game where the players put on a headband, attach a card with a picture on it and try to figure out what is on their head. The three of us were having such a great time playing and Chris and I were astonished that Sofia kept figuring out her card so quickly...until we realized she was cheating! The little stinker was looking at her reflection in the glass kitchen table to see what was on her card!

Chris called her out and she was not happy. At all. However, it was a great lesson in how to play games fairly and all ended well before bed. I had no idea that game night would be chock-full of values and lessons.  I suppose that's a good lesson for Chris and I too...

And for this, I am thankful.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Day 356: Pillow Rest

My bed. I love it. It's been a long week and tonight, my pillow has never felt so good. Rest is on the way and for this, I am thankful.

Day 355: 10 Little Minutes

Ten minutes is all it takes. To stop and think and write about my day, that is. Ten minutes of my own thoughts without interruption. Ten minutes to be thankful. 

And that's pretty awesome. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Day 354: Clean Bill!

I took Nico to the doctor today for his 18 month check-up. This is literally the first appointment in his little life that nothing was wrong! He measured in the 87th percentile for height and 51st percentile for weight, had completely clear ears, skin and was a picture of health! He even managed to shake off the tears post-vaccine in about 30 seconds.

I left the pediatrician's office feeling elated for the first time in a looooong time. God has blessed us with healthy, beautiful children. And for this, I am thankful!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Day 353: A Launch of Historic Proportions

I can guarantee with near certainty that tonight, around the family dinner tables of my second period students, the story of an exciting show their science teacher put on today is being told. Unfortunately, this show wasn't anything having to to with science. This show involved a backpack, high heels and a launch of historic proportions. 

A launch of myself. 

I nearly bowled over two girls and broke my neck in the process. It was pretty hilarious though. And, it definitely made for a great story. A little humor to a normal day...for this, I am thankful. :)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Day 352: Excuse to Exit

The plan for today was that Chris was going to pick the kids up so I could work a little late and get ahead on a couple of things in my classroom. But around 4:15, I was regretting my decision to stay late. I was beat.

And then my phone rang. Chris was stuck in traffic and wasn't going to make it to get the kids in time. I grabbed my purse and bag and was down to my car in less than 2 minutes.

Apparently I was looking a little more eagerly for an excuse to leave than I thought! Oh well, I'm home and can have an early night to sleep. And for this, I am thankful.

Day 351: Fashion Bait and Switch

I wouldn't ever consider myself to be a fashion forward person. I would say, however, that I do have decent taste. That's why today, when Christina asked me to help her pick out a new purse, I didn't think twice. We talked about different styles and options and set to work in the store.

Finally, the perfect purse. A medium, leather, pale pink bag with handles big enough to hold over the arm or slide over the shoulder and adorned with unique metal buttons. Perfect for any city girl looking for both practicality and style.

After a lovely afternoon with my friend, we pulled up to my house and as I stepped out of the car, she said, "Don't forget your bag!" I was confused. I didn't have a bag. "What?" I said. "You know, the purse you picked out for me. It was really for you the whole time!"

I was stunned. What a fun gift and totally unexpected! I love getting new purses and they are not something that I typically ever buy for myself. It is such an honor to have a friend that is so gracious and kind...not just to me but to my kids as well!

Christina, thank you for bringing out the city girl in me this afternoon. :) For you and my new fashionista purse, I am thankful!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Day 350: Saturday Snooze

Coffee doesn't even make a dent on my fatigue right now (I have my stellar basement levels of vitamin D to thank for this!). By the time we got home from ballet and running errands this afternoon, I was beyond spent. I needed a nap. And bad.

Lunch was served for the kids and all I had to do was give Chris a look. He knew -- do not disturb for 1 hour. I kissed the kids, shut my bedroom door and cashed out. When I woke up, I had what it took to make it through the rest of the beautiful 65 degree day. It was just perfect.

A much needed Saturday snooze. For this, I am thankful.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Day 348: Mrs. D -

Got a call from the doc today: turns out my body is not producing enough vitamin D. This can have all kinds of weird effects -- including causing the current medication I take to not work effectively AND cause massive headaches! So, for the next 3 months I'll be taking a prescription strength dosage of vitamin D and then a daily dosage for the rest of my life after that. It all seems a little overwhelming but reassuring at the same time to know there's an actual reason to why I've been feeling like crap for the last 6 months.

Many of my students call me "Mrs. D". Chris called me today and requested "Mrs. D -". Nice. But it made me laugh. And I needed that.

A solution with humor...for this, I am thankful.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Day 347: It's Not A Tumah!

(Reciting this title requires the best Arnold Schwarzenegger voice you can muster up.)

Nope. No tumors on this brain of mine! :) While I was confident that something so serious would be the cause of these nasty headaches, it was a bit of a relief to have it confirmed today during my headache evaluation. What the exact cause of them is, however, is still undetermined. Thankfully, the doc put a plan together and had a bunch of tests run to hopefully figure out how to eliminate these once a month bullies. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that her plan works and I start to feel better soon.

Plans in combination with modern medicine are a good thing. And for this, I am thankful.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Day 346: Girls Only

Whenever my mom comes to visit, we always go out to dinner on the last night she is in town. Knowing that Nico is not the best restaurant guest at the moment, Chris suggested we have a girls night out.

So off we went - Sofia, my mom and I - to dinner at one of our favorite neighborhood restaurants. Within minutes, Sofia had deemed our outing the "Girls Only Party".


She was the perfect party guest and entertained us both at the dinner table. It has been wonderful having my mom here to visit and it was so special to have a night to celebrate the girls. :) And for this, I am thankful.


Day 345: Who Doesn't Roll Around In The Aisles of Target?

Nico had an off day. Actually, it really kind of stunk for him. He's not sleeping well, is starting to get a cold and was crabby as all get out all. day. long. Thus, I was weary when it came time to head to Target for grocery shopping. I had no idea what we were going to get from him.

I take that back. I knew exactly what we were going to get...a little boy who did not want to ride in the cart, cooperate, or have anything to do with being in a grocery store. This was a little boy who wanted to run, crawl, roll and slide down each aisle, touch everything he passed, lick the freezer doors and go into full backward arch pose when I picked him up.

It's ok though. The shopping got done, no one was harmed and Nico used up a ton of energy running across the store. Not much more I can ask for. :)

And for this, I am thankful.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Day 344: I Am A Daughter

Yay! My mom is here! I'm so looking forward to a few days of being a daughter and spending some quality time with Mom. Sofia and Nico are pretty stoked too. :)

And for this, I thankful.

Day 343: Oh man!

Let's just say I'm glad it was dark. :)

For memories both remembered and forgotten...for this, I am thankful.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Day 342: Some Days, It's Just Worth It

Today I administered a quick survey for a friend of mind writing an article for Forbes magazine. I whipped up a quick Google Form with three questions for the kids to answer anonymously: age, gender and what do you want to be when you grow up? I was blown away by the goals the kids have for themselves and so proud to have a window into their dreams. But the very last submission of the day is what took my breath away...


It's days like these that make being a teacher the most amazing job in the world. And for this, I am thankful.

Day 341: A True Gift

I find that having friends who are honest, supportive and insightful is quite a gift. And what a gift to be thankful for!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Day 340: Pancakes Make Everything Better

I was off today. After being gone for a day from my classroom, I felt like I was playing catch-up with my students and trying to push them forward at the same time. I continually ran out of supplies for my lab, misplaced items I needed for instruction, forgot my train of thought and even broke two pieces of glassware. I just couldn't seem to catch my stride. On top of it all, my head still ached and my stomach was upset from yesterday's doozy of a migraine. Yeah, I'm totally having a pity party.

But then it was time for dinner. Pancakes. Pancakes for dinner can make any difficult, out-of-sync, tiring day seem just right again. Even better are pancakes made by my husband and daughter in the shape of hearts and stars because "they're so much more fun to eat"! :)

Pancakes are good...in so many ways. And for this, I am thankful.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Day 339: Options

I woke up last night with a really nasty migraine. It was by far the worst one I have ever had and the kind that scared me enough to actually call the doctor today. The nurse I talked to was unbelievably kind, thorough and encouraging about options about where to go from here. I feel extremely fortunate to have a job that provides me with excellent health benefits so options actually are available to my family and I.

I'm getting a headache evaluation done next week and will finally have some treatment options for these nasty headaches. For this, I am thankful.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Day 338: Super Sleuth

I consider myself to be fairly resourceful. I'm an internet searching guru and if I don't know an answer to something, it doesn't take me long to find it - internet or otherwise. Sometimes though, I just get tired and don't have the time to do all the necessary digging.

Sofia's ballet studio has a dress code which requires her to wear a white leotard with pink tights. The first few classes they don't mind what is worn, but they encourage the dress code as soon as possible. I had searched around for the proper attire prior to her class beginning and came up empty handed. I knew that the studio store would sell them and decided to check them out when we arrived on Saturday. My heart sank when I saw they were $30. Seriously?!?! $30 for a piece of stretchy fabric that my kid is only going to wear for God knows how long?

I didn't buy it. I was determined to find something cheaper. Or, should I say, my sister was determined! A former dancer herself, she went into to super searching aunt mode tonight and called me up to tell me that she found an online dancewear company and would be sending Sofia not one, but TWO white leotards for $20! Woo hoo!

I guess resourcefulness runs in the family! It was so nice to not have to be the one to do all the digging this time. Thanks, Sis. For your super sleuth skills, I am thankful!

Day 337: Tebow Time

I woke up from an afternoon nap today to Chris and Sofia shouting in the bedroom, "De-fense! De-fense!" High fives and clapping were followed by giggles that echoed into the living room. The Broncos were playing in their first play-off game in 6 years and Sofia was soaking every second up with her Daddy. I laid on the couch and just listened to them for nearly 10 minutes. It was priceless.

I love that they share such passion together for the Broncos and secretly, I think it's awfully hilarious that Sofia has a little crush on Tim Tebow. :)

And for this, I am thankful.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Day 336: Curtain Rising

I'd be lying if I didn't say that I hope my children would find some kind of love for the performing arts as I did. Thus today, I found myself nervous as Sofia took her first step toward this love when she began her first ballet class. She has wanted to take ballet for over a year. We finally gave in over Christmas and Santa brought her enrollment into her first class. She was ecstatic and as she stepped into the studio today, she was no different.

I watched her on closed circuit television from the parents' waiting room with the delight. She followed directions easily and was surprisingly graceful as she glided back and forth across the floor. She had so much fun and was beaming when her teacher brought her out at the end of the class. Whether this class is followed by years of study and performance or sudden change to soccer, I don't care. Just seeing my daughter smile bigger than she ever has was good enough for me.

And for this, I am thankful.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Day 335: For You, Pickles

Today is my sister's birthday. I love her. I miss her. I'm so glad that I have her to share so many incredible memories with.

Happy Birthday, Sis. For you, I am thankful!

Friday, January 06, 2012

Day 334: Funkified

I'm in a funk. I still don't feel well, I'm tired, I'm lacking creativity at work and in my writing and on top of it all, I had a bad hair day.

But now that the day is coming to a close, here's what I'm realizing: It's not a bad thing to feel low every once in a while. In fact, it's important. It's important so that we are reminded of what makes our lives rich and fulfilling. I feel fortunate to have what seems to be an unending source of these reminders!

Tomorrow will be a good day, but tonight, I'm okay with feeling a little funky. And for this, I am thankful.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Day 333: ETB-ETR

We're up pretty early in our house. Like 4:15 early. And on a regular basis. Chris is usually the first one up and into the shower while I grovel in bed cursing into my pillow in awe that my alarm clock already went off. As a result, we do try and get to bed at a reasonable hour in the evenings to help these mornings run a little smoother. But, as most well-intentioned activities are, we often miss our early bedtimes getting caught up in the daily routines of dishes, clean-up of the toy minefield in our living room and catching up about our days.

But tonight, we are on track! We are early to bed so we can be early to rise. And that feels good.

Rest. For this, I am thankful.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Day 332: Tea Time

For as long as I have known Chris, he has loved tea. We used to go to coffee shops when we were in high school and college to hang out and he would regularly forgo a latte for a smooth tea instead.

Thus, when it came time to fill Chris's Christmas stocking, I knew just what to put in it: a new tea press, German Rock Sugar and four delectable flavors of tea. It was a hit! Ever since Christmas morning, our house has been filled with the aroma berries, chais and green teas. I love it...even more so over the last few days while I have been sick and my sweet husband has kept a warm mug near my side almost constantly.

Warm tea, sweet aromas and a giddy, tea-making husband. For this, I am thankful.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Day 331: No Brainer

Today, I am thankful for an anticipated morning of no thinking. I'm still not feeling well which means tomorrow morning could be rough. Thus, all the bags are organized and sitting near the door, lunches are packed and clothes are laid out. The only thing I have to think about tomorrow morning is how many times I can hit the snooze button before heading back to work. :)

No thinking in the morning is a good thing. And for this, I am thankful.

P.S. CONGRATS to the MSU Spartans in their 3OT win over Georgia at the Outback Bowl! It is a proud day to wear green and white!

Day 330: One More Day

What a start to the new year. I spent the day on the couch -- no, NOT nursing a hangover of any sort. Instead, I was sipping tea and buried under blankets trying to fight off a fever, cough and sore throat. I feel absolutely awful. So, tonight, more than ever, I am so thankful that I do not have to go back to work tomorrow. There is still one more day left of winter vacation.

Go away cough. Go away sore throat. Go away fever. You have one more day to vacate the premises.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Day 329: The Year's End

A new year is on the way. I am grateful for the experiences I have encountered, friendships old and new, and of course, family. It's been one of the most incredible years of my life.

And for this, I am thankful.