Meg's (Ad)Ventures

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Then and Now

I absolutely adore my sister. She's funny, bright, kind, giving, gorgeous, musical, artistic....the list goes on. She is truly one-of-a-kind. I mean, really...who else can own a nickname like "Pickles"?!?!

This picture cracks me up every year when I come across it at Christmas because it truly captures our relationship; then and now. :) Me: slightly dorky in my kilt and knee highs, braving weird Santa for my sister and posturing a thought. Kristen: adorable with her bouncy curls and likely holding my hand because she thinks she's  protecting me!


Being Kristen's big sister is such an honor. I am so proud of the woman she has become and the inspiration she spreads to countless young people (and us!) each and every day as an elementary principal. She simply is the best!

I will always hold her hand and wear the dorkier outfit...even when we're old and gray.

And for this, I am thankful.



Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Lift

This.



May they never be too big (in size or in attitude) for their daddy to lift.

For this, I am thankful.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Traveling Laughter

This week will bring me across the State of Michigan 4 times. Yeah. That's a ton of driving.

Thankfully, I don't have to travel by myself and I also don't have to do much of the driving anymore. However, despite not being in the driver's seat, the whole process of being in the car for hours upon end can be rather exhausting.

It's times like today, that I am reminded how grateful I am to work with people who make me laugh. Laughter is truly the key when spending tons of time crammed in a car together...and even more so when you don't listen to the directions on the GPS and find yourself lost. ;)

And for this, I am thankful.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Worry Tomatoes

We have a worrier in our house. Her name is Sofia. It is something we've known about and dealt with for quite some time. Sometimes, her anxiety runs quietly in the background of her life and other times it seems like it can be absolutely suffocating for her. It's so painful to watch. In my own struggles with anxiety and depression over the years, I have found that being informed is sometimes our best weapon in moving forward confidently and non-stressfully in life. It's this exact reason why we are committed to helping Sofia now.

Recently, my mom shared a book with us to try out with Sofia after hearing about it from a colleague. I was nervous (go figure) as to how she might react to reading it together but to our surprise, she totally dug it! 

What to Do When You Worry Too Much takes a really straightforward approach to understanding that worrying gets worse when we feed into it...like a tomato plant. Seriously. It's the best analogy and one that made complete sense to our sweet kiddo. 


We had a garden this summer that happened to contain two MONSTEROUS tomato plants. Sofia was largely in charge of tending to these plants. I remember at one point she was completely taken aback at how big and over-bearing they were. She was proud of how well her plants had done, but a little stressed at how to handle a 6-foot beast. We also had more tomatoes than we knew what to do with! 

Thus, "tending to our worries", can have a very similar effect to tending a tomato plant...it can easily overtake our gardens; our lives. 

We've read a few chapters already and Sofia is on board. We couldn't be more pleased and I'm so glad to have a simple support to offer guidance and understanding. It is our hope that our kind, wiser-than-she-realizes daughter will develop a life skill set that will not only serve her but help her help others in the future. 

I'm confident this will be a successful journey. With so many people in our lives that love and support our kids, we have no reason to worry. ;)

And for this, I am thankful. 


Sunday, December 13, 2015

Simple


Sometimes days are just easy. 

I'm learning that not everyday has to be filled with events or monumental moments. Sometimes the greatness of a day can come from its simplicity. Like today. 

And for this, I am thankful. 

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Coffee for 20 Years

If I think hard about it, I've been having coffee with some of my friends for over 20 years now. Whoa. It's always taken on lots of different forms but it's always entailed a unique opportunity to connect to those I care about.

Now,  "coffee" looks like this: A half gallon of milk, a bag of miscellaneous breakfast groceries, and pajamas. That's all that is needed when you have been friends for over 20 years.

A 9 am doorbell welcomed Kate and Marissa -- two of my dearest friends in the entire world.  In a completely rare occurrence, our schedules lined up and that meant time for coffee and catching up.

My heart is full today after spending the morning with these ladies. Their friendship is one I will forever treasure. It always amazes me that time has no baring on where we are in our lives. We always pick right back up where we left off. It's like magic. It's easy. It's the truest of friendship. And I am beyond blessed to have these women in my life.

And for this, I am thankful.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Hard

I've learned a lot today. My mind and heart are tired. The day is done and tomorrow brings a fresh start. 

And for this, I am thankful. 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Surprise Reunion

You never know who will walk through the door. 

Today, I was running a training and couldn't shake the feeling that I knew one of the women in the room. I happened to see a list of people and that's when it clicked...she and I had gone through our masters program together! Once we both realized who the other person was, hilarity ensued. We both squeezed, then laughed, and in unison said, "What are the chances?" Everyone in the room laughed. 

It's always nice to have a familiar face in the room when leading learning. Reconnecting with an old friend was just an added bonus. :)

And for this, I am thankful. 

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Once a Teacher, Always a Teacher

Tonight was the last class of the semester with my secondary methods students at Aquinas. I can't believe it's already done! This was such a special group...one that I feel excited to send out into classrooms because they really do have what it takes to change the world.

For our last class, we focused on happiness, resilience, and success...not just in the classroom but as young, growing teachers. It was my hope that they would leave feeling confident, strong, resourceful, and just a little bit wiser to the world of education prior to their student teaching. 

Most importantly, I hope that these soon to be teachers saw that this course couldn't have happened on its own. With a co-teacher, this course was a gazillion times what it could have been had I done it on my own. Tom and I worked hard to make sure that our students saw that collaboration was key to a successful classroom. 

It was a great semester...one that I learned a ton myself! Here's to smiling faces, hand shakes, and "can I still email you?" closing moments. 

Once a teacher, always a teacher. And for this, I am thankful. 

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Mary Did You Know

I usually keep my iPod on the shuffle setting when I'm driving to work. I like a little mystery to start off my day. ;) Yesterday, just as I was pulling onto the highway, a recording of Mary Did You Know came across the speakers.  I had no idea this song had been saved as a voice memo on my phone and mixed itself in with my library of music.

I hadn't heard myself sing in a while so it felt funny to suddenly be surrounded by my own voice in the car. But I listened...

Music does something to me. It feeds me. It uplifts me. It brings back memories. This song, in particular, affected me deeply when I sang it. I remember feeling different than ever before as I told the story within the song. Hearing it yesterday, brought me back to that moment. Something told me that I needed to hear that song yesterday.

This morning, the song came across my iPod again. Weird. I found myself feeling the say way today as I did yesterday when I heard it. I arrived at work and was ready to take on the day with the faith that anything is possible; that I am not alone in anything that I do.

I believe that everything happens for a reason...and I feel compelled to share with you. Below, you can listen to my recording of Mary Did You Know.

Faith, kindness, love and music.
For this, I am thankful. 


Monday, December 07, 2015

Impromptu Friendship

Making friends as a grown up is hard. I mean, really, there is every excuse in the book for why we don't or can't reach out to new people to put into our lives. I am completely guilty of this on occasion.

Tonight, I was reminded just how important it is to continue pursuing connections in our lives even as we get older. After our monthly PTC meeting at the kids' school, I headed out for a glass of wine with one of my board members. We had originally planned to talk about committee stuff but ended up just talking to talk.

It was a delight.

Sometimes I don't realize what I need until I'm in the midst of it all. I was reminded tonight of the power of friendship and the good it can bring to my heart.

And for this, I am thankful.

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Bowl Game Bucket List

I have always wanted to go to a bowl game...and this year, it looks like it might actually be a possibility!

MSU has made it to the National College Football Playoffs and will be playing in the semi-final game at the Cotton Bowl WHILE we will already be in Dallas!

We'll be working hard over the next few days to see about checking this item off our bucket list. :)

GO GREEN! GO WHITE!

And for this, I am thankful!


Saturday, December 05, 2015

Making Memories Stick

I slept in today. Like 10:15 slept in! I can't remember the last time I did that. Ah-mazing.

After a lazy cup of coffee and organizing a few items, we hit the road to go visit my sister and her husband in their new town. 

We've had so much fun today! Kristen and Penni just closed on a 1920's home just a few blocks from Lake Michigan. In their ever-DIY style, they found the perfect fixer-upper and have dove into renovating a really cool space. I am so excited for them!!

While Chris and Penni pounded away at crown molding, Kristen and I took the kids on a little St. Joe adventure: a visit to Kristen's new school, a ride through the lights on the bluff, and a pizza pickup from a hometown fav, Santonello's. 

I love being able be a part of these types of milestones in the lives of our family...even if it does mean eating pizza off of paper plates on the floor of a house in the middle of demo. Those are the type of memories that stick to the heart for a lifetime. :)

And for this, I am thankful. 





Friday, December 04, 2015

Why I Don't Do Guilt

It's been an insane week....travel, speaking engagements, parenting, friending, networking, trainings, wifing, learning, and decorating Christmas trees. As of my last post, I had written 84 consecutive posts of daily gratitude. My goal was one year.

Oops. 

I was feeling really guilty about not writing the last few days but then I decided I don't need to "do" guilt....especially when I have done nothing but invest in the growth of others and myself over the last week; when I have set an intention of servant leadership and gratitude in all encounters. 

Nope. I'm not doing guilt this time. I found moments each and every day this week where I was immensely grateful for the people and world around me and so look forward to sharing these memories with you over the next few days as I recount specific events here on the blog.

However, this moment is an excellent reminder of how important it is to release ourselves of guilt for reasons that are beyond our control. I feel like, as a woman and working mother especially, that guilt is sometimes equivalent to the shirt I put on each day. It's almost as if there's this societal norm to tell yourself you can do anything but when you can't do everything, you should feel bad about it. You shouldn't. Ever. It's a stupid weight we put on ourselves. And why?

How about we change the conversation so that we teach ourselves and model for our young ones that you really can do anything. With planning and the right mindset. You can do anything with support, thoughtfulness, delegation, and prioritizing. Through these steps, the extras and bugs on the windshield of life, if you will, filter out so that the "anything's" really do become everything. Now wouldn't that be cool?

That is the kind of message I was my daughter and son to receive. 

For now, I am going to close my eyes and fall asleep immediately. This is something that only happens for me when my mind is calm and I can be at peace with where I am in the world today. 

And I am.

And for this, I am grateful.


Sunday, November 29, 2015

Elfing

It's Elf on the Shelf Time.

Holly and Jolly have made their appearance a few days early thanks to my inability to remember where I hid them at the end of last year. Whoops! It sure kept Chris and I on our toes as we came up with stories on the spot about how they magically appeared in the Christmas bin.

Due to the early arrival, their first night of mischief was pretty non-existent. In fact, they gave Nico and Sofia a gingerbread house. Chris has been running ideas through his mind for months on what these two elves will be doing over the next month. It's always a great time. :)



I'm off to go support trapeze making and note writing...

Cheers to late nights and lots of elfing.
And for this, I am thankful.


Saturday, November 28, 2015

If You Can Dream It

I believe in dreams...in making them a reality. Reality doesn't happen without plans, however. It takes intention from the mundane to the magnificent. Intention can lead us on quite an adventure when we stop to truly be present in our decisions, our moments.

That is why Chris and I decided to place a dream board in our kitchen. This dream board is also an adventure board...after all, dreams often require adventure to achieve them!  It's a space where we can dream together as a family and be reminded on a daily basis. This is a space where we can dream individually and together. It is a judge free zone.


The kitchen is often labeled as the heart of a home. Ours is no different as we spend a TON of time here between cooking, eating, homework, games, and chats. There is a pulse in this area of our house. This wall with our board lies in the center of it all  and its placement was purposeful -- to drive us from day to day with intention, purpose, grace, humility, confidence, and kindness. This truly will be the heart of our home.

I placed Walt Disney's quote, "If you can dream it, you can do it" at the center as our reminder that anything is possible -- especially when you have a family that loves and supports you. The kids are absolutely dying to put their ideas up and we are excited to dream with them.

Dreaming together...for this, I am thankful.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Content

What a full day! Chris was off lending a hand on a work project so the kids and I got busy around the house with all kinds of odds and ends. This afternoon, I met a friend and her kids at one of those every-square-inch-of-building-is-padded places so the kids could run around and get some energy out. Lots of fun. One exhausted mama. 

I'm sitting here now, in a quiet house because Chris took the kids on a movie date. I've painted my nails, watched trashy tv, and just chilled. And now, I am one content mama. 

It was a full day along the entire spectrum. And for this, I am thankful. 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

An Interesting Lineage

Our family has a bit of an interesting lineage. William Bradford, the first Governor of the pilgrims and passenger on the Mayflower, is our direct descendent. If you really want to get nitpicky, he's my great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather. It's always been fun passing the story along to classrooms and new family members that come along. 

Today, my Uncle Bill did something really cool as we stood around the kitchen ready to say our Thanksgiving prayer. He had done some digging and found an image of the Mayflower Compact. Before praying, he read the compact and asked us all to think about the immigrants in our lives -- we are all connected to at least one. 



I had never read the Compact and found it actually quite moving. These people had NO idea what they would be facing. They just believed in God, community, and building a better life. 

As should we all. 
And for this, I am thankful. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Traditions

Traditions are important. They help grow memories and long lasting bonds. One of my favorite things about moving back has been the starting of and the developing of traditions with the kids. 

Today, the kids spent the afternoon with GranMary making gift tags (a Daniel tradition) and the evening prepping for Turkey Day with my mom. 

They both were so gleeful when I saw them and I know will keep these special moments with their grandmas near to their hearts for years to come. 

And for this, I am thankful. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Ain't No School But Old School

Me: How was Girl Scouts tonight?

Sofia: It was awesome!

Me: Really? How come? What did you do?

Sofia: We got to break apart an old computer...you know, like the old box kind.  

(Chris and I started to chuckle)

Sofia: Why are you laughing?

Me: Because you said it was old. 

Sofia: Yeah, it was really old! It was from the 19's!

Proud to be from the olden days...and have a daughter that makes us laugh.

And for this, I am thankful. 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Above All

There were all kinds of moments that I ticked off in my mind today as ones to remember in terms of gratitude.

I worked with a lovely group of teachers; innovative, creative, kind, kid-focused. These are the kind of teachers we all want our own kids to have. I just loved every second of our time with them.

The ride home with my team was full of reflection, planning, brainstorming, and collaborating on the phone with others. Windshield time was non-existent today. I like when each moment is maximized!

Our dinner was a team effort -- every person in the family contributed to getting the meal on the table and Nico even tried a tomato. This is huge people. HUGE.

But tonight, I am most grateful for the squeals of laughter floating up the stairway. I am holed up tight in my office prepping for a few big meetings tomorrow. But I know our kids are happy. They are safe. They are loved.

And they feel loved.

And for this, I am thankful.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Saturday, November 21, 2015

A Day of Green

It must have been fate.

Today was our day to trade in our Prius and our original plan was to go with a different car. After many lengthy discussions and a variety of test drives, we decided to stick with our tree-hugging, gas saving Prius. We did do a little upgrade so I could get heated seats. ;)


When we got home, MSU was up against the undefeated Ohio State. While every Spartan knew a win would be possible, I'm fairly certain there was a collective holding of breath throughout most of the game. But then, with 3 seconds left, a field goal was kicked for the win!


It was a day in which GREEN was favored all around.
And for this, I am thankful.

Friday, November 20, 2015

And Scene

The week is done. Time for some family lovin'.

And for this, I am thankful. 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Theresa the Great

We seriously have the best babysitter ever. I mean EV-VAH.

Theresa is kind, hilarious, creative and most importantly, loves on our kids. She has come through for us on so many occasions and we couldn't be more grateful. Today, she even went through Sofia's closet and dresser with her to help her reorganize and clean!

We found a gem and we love her.
And for this, we are grateful.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

An Almost Ted Talk

Someday, I would love to have the honor of giving a Ted Talk. To be part of the community that helps inspire millions of people to do good in this world would be beyond comprehension. I keep track of ideas that come across my mind that might serve as interesting topics and often imagine what the experience would be like. 

I want to be part of something greater than me. I want to lead and inspire. I want to inspire others to lead and inspire! :)

Today, after I finished a training with a group of 57 teachers and principals, I had a surprising encounter. As I was packing my bag, there was a tap on my shoulder. It was a man, a teacher, who had sat through the previous 2 hours learning with me. This is what he said:

"I wanted to say hi and give you some words of encouragement. Your job is hard! I want you to know that our entire table was in awe. We came to the decision that we didn't feel like were in a training. We felt like we were at a Ted Talk!"

I was floored. Of course I thanked him and shared with him how one of my life goals was to someday give an actual Talk. He continued...

"After what we heard today, I have no doubt that will happen. Your passion is palpable and your tone and vocal inflection make you exciting to listen to."

Oh my. 

I have never in my life received such a compliment in regards to my presentation and speaking skills. It touched my heart. 

Most importantly, I knew I had done my job. I came to those teachers to inspire them to action; to be part of something that will change the face of education. 

And they heard me. 

I have a long way to go before my Ted Talk dream comes true but today was certainly a step in the right direction. 

I absolutely love leading and learning. 
And for this, I am thankful. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Progress!

have a Pinterest board called "DIY Didn't I Think Of That?"


...now I know. Home projects of this magnitude are a huge undertaking no matter what your skill level is. Thankfully, I have a husband who is creative, persistent and detailed. I am those things too but in smaller doses when it comes to working on the house. 

All is good though. We are making serious progress on our latest closet/entryway/dining room project!

And progress, my friends, is a VERY good thing. 

And for this, I am thankful. 




Monday, November 16, 2015

Grade Book

Tonight was a first for Chris and I: parent teacher conferences for TWO kids. 

We are SO proud of our kids. As we listened to stories about them, kind-hearted, genuine, giving, and dedicated were words used by both their teachers this evening. And while both Nico and Sofia are doing well in their academics, those qualities trump grades on my book any day. 

Our hearts are full tonight. 
And for this, I am thankful. 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Sign of a Great Weekend

It's been a full weekend. The hustle and bustle of activities and projects kept us on our toes from Friday night until now. The weather was gorgeous and we opened our windows for what will likely be the last full day of the season. *sigh* The fresh air felt incredible as we continued to chip away on our dining room/closet project. It's coming along beautifully and we are getting solo close to finishing! The kids played outside for hours, hardly able to make it through story time their eyes were so heavy. 

It was just a lovely day in every sense of the word. 

Everyone (including the cat) fell asleep early this evening...the sign of a weekend full of fun, laughter, and love. And for this, I am thankful. 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

The Village

I think it's appropriate that the area of our neighborhood is called "The Village". I mean, it does take one to raise a family.

I love our neighbors. Truly. We have been so blessed to have people surround us that are not only kind but trusting and helpful. Our kids are their kids; theirs, ours. Sometimes it's the last minute coverage for childcare and sometimes, like today, it's the simple lending of an ingredient for a recipe.

Our corner of the world is awfully special.
And for this, I am thankful.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Story Time

I love reading with the kids. I love the excitement they have around choosing just the right book for bedtime. I love reading with silly voices. I love listening to them giggle. I love that reading with the kids allows us to be present with one another. 

And for this, I am thankful. 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Pride

I love to talk about the work of my mom and sister. They are both incredibly talented and respected educators. What I love even more than talking about them is watching people in a room light up to the sound of their names. They too have seen and been affected by their awesomeness. 

Today I got to have a moment just like this; a moment to be a proud daughter and sister. 

And for this, I am thankful. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

New Arrival!

Our nephew arrived today!!! He is beautiful. He and Chris's sister are healthy. He is loved. 

And for this, I am thankful. 

Pics to come...

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Old Hat

Seeing a good friend and feeling like no time has passed...

For this, I am thankful. 

Monday, November 09, 2015

The 10/90 Rule

I found myself giggling tonight as I thought about how doing home projects can really serve as a metaphor for our lives. The big item that jumped out at me was how the last 10% of the work takes 90% of the time and effort. 

I spent nearly 2 hours just filling nail holes with wood putty tonight. While I was silently cursing myself for so dramatically encouraging this project from the beginning, it dawned on me: it's the details that matter. It's the finishing touches, smooth lines, and thrice overs that make the difference between just ok and awe inspiring. 

I'm glad to have a partner on this project and in life who appreciates attention to detail. This partnership is just kind of effort I am more than willing to invest my time in.

And for this, I am thankful.  

Attention to detail: Our "Ruler of Life" has been built into the frame of the closet cubby. :) More pics tomorrow!

Sunday, November 08, 2015

It's Not a Party Until Caulk's Involved

So we decided to do a little project. And by little I mean huge. 

We are always working on ways to make our house more functional, improve efficiency of spaces, and bring in cool designs. For a while now, we've wanted to make some changes to the back entry to our house. It is a perpetual tornado of shoes, bags, and papers with no organization whatsoever. It drives me crazy. 


There's a little shelf just next to the garage door (not pictured) that serves as the tower of computer bags, mail, and kids' papers. Chaos. 

When we first moved in, we had all kinds of ideas of what we could do to this space but over the last two years, other things have taken precedent. But this weekend, I'd officially had enough. While Chris and I sat at the dining room table planning out supplies and costs to work on our basement-finishing project, I suggested that we might first solve a need and immediate view versus a want and lengthy project. 

Bless Chris's heart. He agreed to switch gears for me. AND, we came up with an idea that not only will change the storage issues but also will extend a gorgeous paneled look throughout the dining area and back hallway. I'm pumped. 


There weren't any pre-made panels with the dimensions and designs we were looking for so we decided to DIY this bad boy. Chris and I teamed up from math skills to sawing to nail guns and caulking. 

We still have a few days left of work but I'd say we made a pretty good dent in this project. I'm SO excited to see how this all comes together. Tomorrow brings the last of the vertical boards, corner trimming, and the framing of closet space with a bench. I may get to work on our family dream board chalkboard wall too. Painting of the panel-styled walls is still a few days away. 



I'm so glad to have a partner who isn't afraid to get his hands dirty with projects. All those years of helping my dad on projects haven't hurt me either!

I love when ideas become reality through teamwork. And for this, I am thankful. 



Saturday, November 07, 2015

Mighty Girls and Strong Women

Booooooo

I just for finished writing a cute little post about our girls overnight with my mom, sister and Sofia....

And then blogger freaked out. And I lost my post. :(

Here's an abbreviated version because frankly, I'm tired. 

Last night and today were so much fun and were filled with moments that I will remember for years to come. I think what was most impactful for me, however, was having Sofia be a part of a time that was devoted to just the girls. That's important. It was important for her to listen to conversations, be part of conversations, and be seen and heard through it all. 

She's our little mighty girl and I hope to always be able to have special time like this to show her how much she is loved and matters to the world. I'm so lucky to have a mom and sister who have always modeled that for me and continue to do so for Sofia. 

And for this, I am thankful. 

Friday, November 06, 2015

Less Doing, More Loving

I absolutely love learning. In fact, when I have time to read, I prefer non-fiction books that focus on extending my knowledge in a variety of areas. 

My mom suggested recently that she, my sister and I read a book together and then talk about what we learned. With all that we each have going on, this book couldn't have been a better choice: Less Doing, More Living. The book is sooooooo good! Have you read it? If not, you should...or do what I do when I don't have the time to sit down with a book: listen to it! :) Audiobooks are a GREAT alternative for absorbing ideas. 



LDML is quick, totally practical and FILLED with tips and tricks to streamline your life so you can focus on what matters most...investing in you and those you love. 

It always feels good to expand my brain and it's so much fun to do so with my mom and sister too!

And for this, I am thankful. 

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Moments

The kids and I headed over to my mom's this evening for dinner and to help out on a few tasks around the house. As I came back inside at one point, the kids were sitting on the couch giggling and listening to my step-dad tell stories. It was precious. 

Being able to help my parents and have memory-making moments in the process are just the kinds of reasons we moved back to Michigan. 

And for this, I am thankful. 

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Leading With a Limp

Tonight I capped off 3 solid days of going a gazillion miles per hour by teaching my Secondary Methods course at Aquinas. Each month, I continue to be inspired by this group of future teachers. Inspired as I may be, I was still dragging my feet when it came time to head to campus. I was whipped and the thought of teaching for another 3 hours felt daunting. 

As soon as class began and we started to dive into the book we had been reading over the last month, I began to feel energized by their questions and ideas. The focus tonight was around one of my great passions in education: technology...and these kids had done an outstanding job of analyzing some of the most recent research. However, when one of my students asked a question in front of the group that I know was difficult to ask, I went from energized to impressed. It took guts to put herself out there and show that she was unsure of something in front of her peers. She set herself up as a leader that others could follow.

My student left class this evening with her head held a little higher (and a bit wiser too!). I was reminded this evening how important it is to put ourselves out there...to be vulnerable...to lead with a limp. 

And for this, I am thankful.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Sick Day

Sometimes things just work out. 

Sofia was sick today and needed to stay home as well as get in to see the doc. I was out of town and by coincidence, Chris had the type of day on his calendar that afforded him complete flexibility with where he worked. 

Our kiddo got some lovin' and some meds while her momma got some piece of mind while she was gone. 

And for this, I am thankful. 

Monday, November 02, 2015

#nerdalert a.k.a. Meghan Loves Google

honestly feel like the luckiest person in the room when leading a training. People come from all over the place -- all with different experiences, challenges, ideas, and stories -- and I am the one that gets to take all these moments in. I get to share them at the next location. I get to reflect upon my own practice as an educator and grow. I get to be the ultimate student from an incredible group of brave, innovative, and energetic educators. 

Today, marked my third anniversary at the MiGoogle conference. The first one I attended, nervous and not knowing a single soul. I decided to "invite myself over," as my mom's friend Nancy says in regards to networking. It was terrifying and sooooo not my style. It was at this conference, however, that I began the process of becoming a Google Certified Trainer and happened to meet just the right person for providing exposure throughout Mivhigan. Now, I lead Google trainings across the state and teach other educators how to become trainers themselves. 

I work with hundreds of people every year because of this side passion. It such an incredible honor to lead and learn with them all. 

I am one lucky Googly nerd. :)
And for this, I am thankful. 



Sunday, November 01, 2015

It Takes a Village

This week brings travel, trainings, speeches, parent meetings, school commitments, teaching, and the simple day-to-day to-do's.

That's a lot. This afternoon I was able to reach out to family, neighbors, and our sitter to help put together a patchwork of childcare for the kids.

We are so lucky to have so many people in our lives that love our kids and support Chris and I in our careers.

Feelin' the love.
And for this, I am thankful.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!!

Rain and cold couldn't stop these kids from costumes, candy and smiles. 

I, however, am a wimp and stayed behind to doll out the treats. Chris braved the wind and rain like a champ and had as much (if not more) fun as the kids.

All in all, I'd say it was a successful Halloween. No lost kids, lots of smiles, and a pile of candy for the parents to secretly sneak pieces of. ;)

One more holiday in the book of memories. And for this, I am thankful. 




Friday, October 30, 2015

Date Night

Grandma Camp has commenced which means Chris and I get a date night.

'Nuf said. 

And for this, I am thankful. 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Enamored with Edify

Wanna know what's cool? When your kid is completely engrossed in something that you had a part in creating. When your kid is loving what she is doing so much that she get inside the screen if she could. When your kid is learning.

I am so proud to be a part of the kind of work that has the potential to change lives...my own children's lives. 

And for this, I am thankful. 


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Lifers

I have been fortunate in my life to have encountered women who have become life long friends. Some are single friendships while others are in groups. Whatever the form, these friendships have served as one of the most precious aspects of my life.

Every so often, an email or text chain begins and we cycle through all our lives, providing updates on families and the latest embarrassing mishap. These updates don't happen every week or even once a month. They happen when a moment strikes that can only be appreciated by the "lifers" and must be shared. 

I've had a few of those moments recently...conjuring up memories of days past, laughter, and dear, dear friends. So tonight, I am cherishing these moments. These friends. 

And for this, I am thankful. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Reality Check

Today was hard.

...and then I sat on the couch and watched my kids read stories to one another. 

Cue reality check. 

And for this, I am thankful. 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Crafty

Chris is crafty. I truly, truly love that about him. Tonight, as I headed off to bed, he was still downstairs carving the perfect pumpkin masterpieces. I know the smiles on the kids' faces tomorrow are going to be priceless. He is priceless.

And for this, I am thankful. 

Update: Chris just finished and even woke Sofia up to show her. LOL!!


Sunday, October 25, 2015

This Kid

This kid takes my breath away. From made up words (fansome - def. Equal parts fancy and handsome; elaborate in design and having an attractive, well-proportioned, and imposing appearance suggestive of health and strength.) to goofiness in the pumpkin patch to his tiny and beautiful voice when he sings. He is something special for sure.



Nico, for you, I am thankful. 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Self Care

I am not a napper. Every once in a while, however, I give in and let it happen. Today, all the conditions were right and I let myself drift off. An hour and a half later, I woke up feeling like a different person.

I have been thinking a lot about the practice of self care. Rest is a huge factor in being healthy physically and emotionally. It is something that I really really struggle with and have decided I need to work on. 

Today was a great first step. And for this, I am thankful. 

Friday, October 23, 2015

Home

I missed these guys!


Snuggles, giggles, and love.


Home. For this, I am thankful. 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Still Smiling

I've got one eye open as I write this. Today has been exhilarating, nerve wracking, hilarious, enlightening and absolutely jammed packed each and every minute. I've watched as eyes light up and teachers dream again about what can be done in their classrooms. I've brainstormed and tested new ideas with my team. We've all worked HARD. I love that we are impacting education. It's powerful stuff.

And for this, I am thankful. 

"It's been a long day, but Meghan's still smiling." Thanks to my friend Cheri for this great pic in Greektown after dinner!


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Reflection

Sometimes days are just good. The end. 

And for this, I am thankful. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Sprinting

I feel like I sprinted all day. It was a full day of meetings, problem-solving, celebrations, preparations and family routines. It was the kind of day that I realized I hadn't used the bathroom and it was 4 pm! TMI? 

But now, as I lie in bed with everyone in the house asleep, I can hear the soft rain on the roof. Suddenly my sprinting is being washed away and I can feel my body finally slowing down. 

Ahhhhhhh. 

And for this, I am thankful. 

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Misery Need Not Apply

Whelp! It wouldn't be fall in our house without an ear infection. We are so used to the routine by now that it takes me a nanosecond to know whether or not this kid has an infection. Not fun. 

However, tonight, I am choosing to look at the bright side of this situation. Here it goes...

I am thankful for having the experience to recognize quickly when our children have ear infections. 

I am thankful for a med center that is just minutes from our house which has always been filled with kind, knowledgeable staff. 

I am thankful that despite being in pain, Nico slowing down looks like this: 


I am thankful to have insurance that covers the needs of our family. 

I am thankful for the medication that was prescribed not out of protocol but out of a meaningful conversation as to what has historically worked best. 

It's been a long day of work and travel for both Chris and I. It would be easy to focus on the crappiness that is this situation. But tonight, I choose different. 

And a glass of wine. 

Perspective. For this, I am thankful. 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Simple Moments Have Big Power

Man. Sometimes I feel like I've blinked and the day is over. Sometimes that's great and sometimes it's...scary. What if I miss something? I don't want to be the one who misses the big stuff...or the little stuff. I've really been working the last few weeks on making sure that I am fully present, especially where my family is concerned. 

Today, I found myself in a moment that I never wanted to end. I was so happy. Like, to the core, euphoric happy so that time momentarily stood still. And you know what? There was nothing spectacular about it. My parents and brothers were pulling out of the driveway after a visit for Sofia's birthday, and Chris and I were laughing as we stood in the garage. We were holding hands, he gave me a hug and kissed the top of my head. I felt connected. Whole. It was simple love and a simple moment. 

Sometimes, simplicity can hold the greatest value. I was present today, allowing me to live in the moment with Chris...as tiny as it may have been. 

And for this, I am thankful.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Happy Heart

I'm exhausted. Actually, exhausted doesn't even touch how flipping tired I am. But ya know what? It's the good kind of tired. The kind of tired that one feels after having a great day. 

Today, after Sofia's soccer game, we hosted about 40 people for a team dinner/birthday celebration/MSU v UofM football watch party. It was a blast!! My heart was full having so many in our home.

Frankly, it was complete chaos but a riot all around. :) Kids ran everywhere. Parents laughed and crowed around the living room to watch the game and we ended the evening by making s'mores around the fire pit. 

My feet are tired but my heart and family are happy. And for this, I am thankful. 



P.S. VICTORY FOR MSU!!!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Happy 9th Birthday, Sofia!

Time has somehow managed to pull one over on us again. Sofia is 9 today. I remember thinking to myself when I was pregnant with her, "someday this kid will be a little person!" And Sofia is just that; a person. She's inquisitive, creative, kind, loyal, observant, funny, and rooted by her gentle soul. She has begun to carve out a little corner of the world for herself already and I can only imagine what's to come for this not-so-little one. 

Happy Birthday, Sofia! Your dad and I couldn't be more proud of who you are and all that you dream to be. We love you and are so blessed that we were chosen by God to be your parents. 

And for this, I am thankful. 



Thursday, October 15, 2015

One Less Decision

Just the other day, I was having a conversation about things we can do to balance work life and home life. It can be a bit tricky at times...especially with two working parents. Dinner seems to always be one of the biggest challenges. In our house, Chris does the majority of the cooking but planning still has to take place. Sometimes just deciding what to eat, even in advance, is half the battle. Ugh. 

Tonight, we received a welcome reprieve from my mom who called to say she's like to pick up dinner and bring it over. Chris and I both have had a pretty non-stop week; taking one decision off our plates felt like it made all the difference this evening. 

Delicious dinner without any effort on my own house...for this, I am thankful. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Music Over Miles

Being away from family is hard...especially when little ones are involved. Chris's sister, Lindsey and her husband now live in Dallas. They have a little boy and another baby on the way! We miss them dearly and try our very best to talk and facetime as often as possible.

Today, I received a message from Lindsey with Kaiden singing a song to me. So stinking adorable! I decided to sing a song back to him...which he loved too.

Until it backfired!

Kaiden didn't realize that the video wasn't facetime and had an absolute fit when I didn't start singing another song with him.

Not soon after, we received a call asking if the situation could be remedied.


It was so special to be able to sing with our nephew. Chris even got in on the action with some "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" and "My Bonnie". We really know how to throw a party up in this joint. :)

We love being parents but tonight, thanks to different time zones and modern technology, we got to just be an aunt and uncle to our favorite little nephew.

And for this, I am thankful.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Wack Me Up

I hope that my kids never stop writing messages to Chris and me on their doors.

"Please 'wack' me up at 6:00 A.M. ~Thank you :)"

...even if it does mean I waking up a little earlier than normal. (Complete transparency: this morning included a 45 minute delay. LOL)

And for this, I am thankful.

Monday, October 12, 2015

From Herding Cats to Smooth Sailing

Sometimes, everything just falls into place and sometimes, it doesn't. Our mornings usually fall into the latter category with a sweet mixture of whining and herding cats to get out the door. Regardless, it is my special time with the kids and we still find ways to find joy in the midst of lost items and breakfast decisions. 

This morning, however, was different. I got up with time to spare, made lunches, smoothies, breakfast and coffee. When the kids woke up, all the stuff that gets in the way of clockwork mornings was removed from the equation. There was no rushing or whining or suddenly missing socks. It was sooooo nice! Even better was the effect it had on the transition to the bus stop and the rest of the day...for all of us. 

Mornings really can set the tone for the whole day. I was gently reminded of that today. 

And for this, I am thankful. 

I'm going to bed now so I can try to repeat tomorrow!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Master Tickler

Every home should have a Master Tickler. Squeals, giggles, shrieks, and laughter so hard it turns silent...that's the result of a the Master Tickler.

Daddy came home after a weekend away and the tickling ensued.

And for this, I am thankful.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Saturday As Is

Here's to staying in pajamas until after 11, morning coffee catch-ups, auntie silliness, sweet soccer moves, pizza parties, gorgeous sunsets, and fireside chats with wine. 

Sometimes Saturday's get to be Saturday's. 

And for this, I am thankful.  


Friday, October 09, 2015

A New Passion

Chris headed off on his first hunting trip today. While I'm not a hunter, I am thrilled that he has found something to be passionate about and committed to. His preparation for hunting with his bow has been methodical; each step well-thought out and purposeful. He has practiced. He has shown excitement. He has modeled for our kids how to start something new and stick with it. 

I wasn't a super fan of this new adventure of Chris's at first. I've come to realize, however, it is so much more than that...even if he will come home smelly after a few days in the woods. ;)

And for this, I am thankful. 

Thursday, October 08, 2015

The Giggly Feels

You know what feels good?

Laughing. 

You should try it and then do it a lot. We take ourselves far too seriously. 

I laughed a lot today -- at work, at home, and even by myself. And, despite a super long day with lots of mental challenges, I feel...great! 

There's something to be said about a giggle or two. 

And for this, I am thankful. 

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Next Gen Ed

I co-teach a course at Aquinas College for education students. It's the last course students take prior to entering their student teaching and is full of young minds ready to go out and change the world.

It's a real honor to work with this group of future leaders. Tonight, as I listened to the discussion around a book we just read, I had a moment of deep pride. The thoughts and conversations we so good! Like hair-raising good! These students are the real deal. They get it. They are creative and kind. They are smart and relevant. They believe in kids. They also know they too have so much to learn!

If this group is any indication of what our future teachers are going to be like, I can assure you that our children are in excellent hands!

And for this, I am thankful. 

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Lucy


Our cat, Lucy, has a personality unlike any cat I've ever had. Her favorite activity includes jumping up on the couch and sitting juuuust out of reach. She's super soft and snuggling up with her is Newley impossible. She'll let us pet her but snuggles on our terms are off the table. 

Except for this morning. This morning, just as my alarm clock went off, Lucy jumped on the bed and curled herself up right on top of my chest in full purr mode. I died.

It was just what I needed to start the day. Lucy redeemed herself, if only for a moment. 

And for this, I am thankful. 

Monday, October 05, 2015

Crafty Slumber

The bottoms of my feet are covered in silver paint and not because I'm the one who is crafty. 

Chris has been working so hard on a beautiful loft bed for Sofia. We were fortunate to be offered this hand-crafted loft with desk and bookshelves by some good friends of ours. Chris's artistic potential immediately flourished. He has sanded, stained, painted, and sanded some more for over a week out in the garage. The project is almost complete and I he called me into the garage to check out his handy work (hence the silver feet).


I am so excited for Sofia to have a place to cozy up at night that was not only given to her with love by friends but also crafted with love by her daddy. 

Slumber surrounded in love. I like that. And for this, I am thankful. 

Sunday, October 04, 2015

A Peek Into The Past

When my grandparents moved from Kalamazoo to Grand Rapids years and years ago, they had quite a bit more stuff than their living arrangements could accommodate for. Thus, it made sense to get a storage unit to hold all the non-necessities.

Over the years, the family has made regular visits to the storage unit making efforts to sift through the massive amounts historical must-haves for the Johnson's to either donate, pass on to a family member or toss. As you can imagine, it's quite a process.

Today was the last visit. That was kinda weird. Now that both my grandma and grandpa are gone, there's no reason to keep the unit. I met my mom, step-dad, aunt and uncle to go through the last boxes. I had anticipated hours of work but when I got there, they had already done most of it! What was left to do was actually pretty cool. My job was to sort through just a few boxes.

Within minutes, I suddenly found myself staring through a window to the past: gorgous photos of my mom and aunt as young children (you know, the kind that look like they were hand painted and not taken by a camera. Stunning.), silver candle sticks and serving platters with engraved monograms, and even a photo album of me as an infant!

I really felt like for the first time as an adult, I saw the world through my grandparents' eyes, saw what was important to them and what they loved. It was really, really cool.

This is a picture of my Mom and I just after I was born. Today was the first I had ever seen this photo. Isn't my mom gorgeous?!?!
Hello 5th Grade! Found this Northview Newsletter stuck inside a photo album. This was the Spring of 1992, folks. 

My all-time favorite picture of Bill and Genevieve. 

So much fun peeking into the past today. :)

And for this, I am thankful.

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Crisis Averted

Phew! Parenting crisis averted.

Sofia has some friends sleeping over tonight because their parents are attending an event. The girls were having tons of fun...and then it was bedtime. At bedtime, it was realized that a blankie was missing. Craaaaaaaap!

Seriously, this is every slumber party parent's panic moment. We looked and looked to no avail. No blankie and now, tears were threatening. Double Crap.

Thankfully, our little visitor only lives down the street. I was able to get ahold of her mom and our potential bedtime fail was prevented with the delivery of the coveted blankie along with a bedtime hug and kiss.

Next time, we'll check for that stuff waaaaay before bed. :)

I'm always learning as a mom of my own and temporary kiddos.
And for this, I am thankful.

Friday, October 02, 2015

Seasons

Fall is here.

I love the crisp air, bundling up, and the sound of rustling leaves as the wind picks up speed. We have some pretty massive trees in our backyard. It sounds like a wind symphony at times!

Watching the seasons change is so fascinating to me. I know it's dorky but it always brings the world into perspective for me. When things seem overwhelming, it's sometimes difficult to remember that it will pass. The change in seasons is always a good reminder that nothing is permanent...except change, that is.

I can deal with that. :)

And for this, I am thankful.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

It's Just That Simple

Sick kid, neverending cold, breakneck pace at work, and a whole list of other left turns to the day...

The day is done and tomorrow is a fresh start. Sometimes, it's just that simple.

And for this, I am thankful.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

See ya, Cancer!

Today, my father-in-law finished his 40th (and LAST) radiation treatment. David has been such a champ during the entire process and we are so excited to have our Gpa, Dad and friend lively and healthy again!

Here's to faith, perseverance, health and kicking cancer's ass.

And for this, I am thankful.

Celebrating the LAST treatment

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Sweet Nothings

Today, as I was running a training, my phone buzzed as it sat next to my computer. I tried not to let it distract me, but when it buzzed a second time as a second message came through, my words became jumbled as I spoke.

I smiled and made a joke about my husband sending me sweet nothings. The group chuckled....they didn't believe me and thought I really was making a joke.

Little did they know...


After all these years, he still takes my breath away.
And for this, I am thankful.


Monday, September 28, 2015

A Good Reminder

Friends that remind us to be kind to ourselves when the habit is to focus everywhere else instead...

For this, I am thankful.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Pump, Pump, Pump It Up!

video

Kingdom Cup Champions. Classy and motivated at every point.

The girls created this little pre-game pump up on their own as they got ready for the final rounds today. They believe in each other. They believe in giving their all.

And for this, I am thankful.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Intentionality

One of the things that I most appreciate about Chris is his intentionality to spending one-on-one time with the kids. Tonight, after an entire day filled with kids and soccer, he took Sofia to visit my sister and brother-in-law at their new place in St. Joseph, MI. They took Sofia out to dinner, walked on the beach and have spent time just with her. 


I called a bit ago to check in and say good night and was quickly fed "yeah's", "ok's", and "I know, Mom!" I was intruding...and it made me smile. 


I am so grateful for times like these for both our kids. They are each so unique and deserve that same level of individualized attention. 

My heart is happy tonight. And for this, I am thankful.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Timeless Fun

As a kid, I remember vividly my parents taking me to high school football games. They were so fun!! To be honest, it was likely the time in the bleachers that was the source of the fun...cheering along with the cheerleaders, dancing to the marching band, and standing down along the fence of the field to get an even better view.

I wondered tonight, as we sat in the stands of our high school homecoming game, if perhaps the way fun is found at football games is timeless?

:)

See below:


Memories are being made on cool fall evenings. And for this, I am thankful.