Meg's (Ad)Ventures

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.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

When Mom Guilt Doesn't Win

Tonight I was struggling with the guilt that often comes along with being a working mom. It's a rough space to be.

You see, when we chose to move back to Michigan, a big piece of our decision was based around the parenting flexibility working completely for myself would offer. What we didn't realize, however, was that working for myself would open doors that we couldn't have even begun to imagine. And so, here I was tonight...wrestling internally with the plight of so many working moms: loving your job, loving your kids, finding the balance between putting 110% into both.

So what prompted this episode of guilt this evening?

Today was one of the best career days of my adult life. I couldn't WAIT to share all the details with my family! Yet today, I also missed bedtime with the kids for the second time this week. Instead of sharing adventures of the day, there were tears, when are you coming home's and I miss you's.

My heart broke.

There is nothing more that I want in this world than for our children to feel loved and supported. Nothing. But do you know what else I want for Nico and Sofia? I want them to see a woman who is following her passions, making sacrifices, and committing to good and impactful work. I want them to see that independence also requires teamwork with those you love. I want them to see that while there is huge facet of my pursuits that are personally fulfilling, even more are designed to fulfill the dreams of our family.

This is a tall order but I am wholly committed to it!

I walked in the quiet house tonight to a husband sitting on the couch with a glass of wine already poured. He filled me in on his day which began with his bi-weekly men's bible study. He shared how they learned about Saul and his stories of being willing to sometimes just pick up and move on, trusting that God has a reason for challenges and moving forward without guilt. When I asked Chris how they connected these readings back to their own lives, he simply said, "We talked about you and then we prayed for you...for peace, for releasing yourself of mom guilt, and strength."

My, my. It was just what I needed to hear. You know, kids are exceptionally resillient. Nico and Sofia will wake up tomorrow and be cheerful, ready to have our special morning time together before school. They will also feel my love for them and see my excitement for heading off to work.

They'll be just fine. God truly does work in mysterious ways.

And for this, I am thankful.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

It's the Little Things

You know what? The little things matter.

And you never know who is watching.

When you least expect it, your heart will be warmed like mine was this evening.

#godblesstheinterns

And for this, I am thankful.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

900

Today's post marks the 900th post on this blog.

I started Adventures Out West when we first moved to Denver in 2005 to chronicle our new life and help our families stay connected. Over the years, AOW morphed from simple digital scrapbook to a platform of gratitude and honesty. And now, it even has an updated name. :)

Our First Weekend in Denver
2005
900 is a lot. But I feel like I am just getting started.

And for this, I am thankful.

Family Vacation, Mackinac Island
2015

Monday, September 21, 2015

Cartwheels

All day today my body ached. It wasn't the the sick kind of ache...but the kind that makes you ask yourself over and over again why you're sore. (I may have even grunted when getting up from my desk chair at one point.)

All morning I wracked my brain working my way through all of yesterday's happenings. I didn't work out or even lift anything heavy. Not only was I feeling OLD because I was sore but now I was also exhibiting this magnificent lack of memory!

And then it hit me. Cartwheels.

I was walking down a hallway at work and giggling like I was 8 again as I remembered back to yesterday evening  when Sofia "double dog dared" me to do a one-handed cartwheel and then really show what I had by doing a round off. The sun was setting, Chris was cooking dinner, the air was cool, and my daughter and I played gymnastics in the backyard. Perfection.

I am so stinkin' sore today.

And for this, I am thankful.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Simplicity

Sometimes, days are simple. And needed. 

And for this, I am thankful.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Keeper


Sofia started playing soccer in January for the first time. She loves it! As we watched her game today, I was so impressed by the way the girls were communicating with one another. It went beyond basic sportsmanship...the more experienced girls helped the less experienced ones by explaining positioning, they cheered one another after goals were made, and they helped each other stay focused during slower moments. It was really cool.

Sofia's team won today 5-1...the only goal scored during the last 10 seconds of the game and on her. She was bummed. Watching the girls pat her on the back and help her focus on all her other saves was heart-warming.

I am so glad that Sofia is learning to love a sport for all the right reasons. Each practice and game she learns more about herself, being on a team, how to persevere, and face new challenges with vigor.

Winning in a game is cool but learning to win at life is well, freaking awesome.

And for this, I am thankful.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Dear Time: Stop

As I was gathering my things to walk out the door this morning, Nico said to me, "Of all the moms in the whole wide world, you're the mom I love the most."

My heart nearly exploded.



And when I got home, snuggle time ensued. 
This kid. I want to freeze time.

And for this, I am thankful.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Debrief

I've said it a thousand times before: I am so lucky to be navigating life with my partner and love, Chris.

Tonight, after the kids went down, we sat and chatted for nearly an hour and a half. No tv. No music. No tech. No distractions.

Just us.

We both have a boatload on our plates right now. Just having a few minutes to process the ups and downs together is so important to the strength of our relationship...and unless we are intentional about it, it's easy to let these conversations slip by. Tonight's conversation was purposeful and opened our eyes to exciting adventures and challenges on the horizon.

We broke down our days to build up our dreams. :)

And for this, I am thankful.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Exit 52

I spend a lot of time on the road. A lot. Thankfully, I don't often have to travel alone anymore. I travel with a team which makes it a MUCH better experience!

However, there's something that happens when you work for a startup and spend lots of time in a car with the same group of people: bad jokes, stories, and laughter. (Notice "glamorous trips" is not included...startups are HARD work and we often rock my minivan across the Great Lakes State.)

One thing we often chat about is Exit 52: the park-n-ride where we most often meet to head out on the road. Exit 52 has been the gateway to many of our adventures (read: bad jokes and stories) and now serves as a bit of a soft spot when we all drive by it. In fact, we met there this morning for the first time in a few weeks and it felt oddly like coming home.

Each trip, we mentally take note of whatever shenanigans took place...not just for smiles and memories but also on the off chance that we pull them all together and someday write a book that would make you laugh until you cry based on our adventures.

Exit 52...Coming to a "someday" store near you.

And for this, I am thankful.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Drive for Design

During a planning meeting today, we were talking about adventures and encouraging others to come along on our journey. Fun stuff!

It got me thinking about my cousin, Miriam. My dear, sweet, bright, long-limbed cousin, Miriam. She's hilarious. And an explorer. Miriam has this charm about her that makes the rest of the world want to follow in her footsteps.

Miriam and John
http://www.mweirich.squarespace.com/blog-forte/

So I dare you. Try it! Miriam and her friend John, are currently on a cross-country tour exploring what our amazing country has to offer and documenting it all with photography, sketching and watercolor. Both are artists. Both see the world the way we all wish we could. 

Follow their cross-country adventures here

It is so rare to find people who truly inspire. I got lucky and had one put right in my own family. :)

And for this, I am thankful!

My Cousin and My Daughter = WHOA

Monday, September 14, 2015

2.81

You know what feels good?

Being outside. In the sun. During lunch.

My friend and co-worker, Cara and I made a decision last week that we were going to make some changes in our health by being active during lunch. Today was going to be the day to start. I realized about 30 seconds into our workout that this new daily activity is going to be far more than just
walks, runs, and exercises. This time is about getting back into shape, resetting my mind and being intentional about connecting with a good friend. I need that.

Today, Cara and I ran (a little) and walked and talked for 2.81 miles in 32 minutes. And it felt awesome.

And for this, I am thankful.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

A Day of Rest

Every square inch of my body hurts. Even my hair.

Today, I've bobbed back and forth between fevers, chills, aches and pains. I absolutely hate being sick.

There is a silver lining, however. It was clear my body needed to rest today. Because it was a Sunday and not a Tuesday, I could do just that. I may or may not have napped for almost 6 hours today!

...and now I'm off to do more of the same.

And for this, I am thankful.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Go Green!

Go White!

What. A. Game.

#sorrynotsorryducks

And for this, I am thankful.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Cheers!

Tonight I was asked to give a toast during happy hour. I'm not sure I've ever been asked to do that before in a public setting. All of a sudden, the strangest thing happened...I got nervous! When it comes to speaking, that kind of thing doesn't happen to me. Ever.

I took a breath and with absolute clarity, realized what was happening: these people I stood with...my colleagues, my friends...are people who inspire me so deeply, that I was terrified I wouldn't be able to find the right words to express these emotions. But, after I took a second and looked at their smiling faces, I knew just what to say...

"Cheers to the kindest, hard-working, collaborative, inspirational, brilliant, and weird people I've ever had the pleasure to work with."

I am so proud to be part of this team.

And for this, I am thankful.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

A Step In The Right Direction

My job provides me the incredible fortune of working with people who truly make a difference in the lives of kids. Currently, my team and I are working with an organization that provides services through schools to students who are homeless.

Today, I listened in awe as stories were shared of students overcoming unimaginable adversity to go on to college and thrive into adulthood. I also listened as it was explained to me the gross lack of funding that exists to support homeless youths in schools. Liaisons have little "cred" and families in need often go uniditifed or uncommunicated to the powers that be. It was sobering to hear.

My team and I are working on a project that has the capacity and the tenacity to change this! Improving communication, professional learning, and opening the door to resources to work with struggling families is just a small piece of what our project will accomplish. It is SUCH exciting work. Impactful work.

While this certainly won't be the magic bullet for ending homelessness amongst kids, it is certainly a step in the right direction.

And for this, I am thankful.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Present

Today was jam-packed! 

I woke up to a start this morning. I had slept through my alarm! Chris needed to catch a plane, lunches still needed to be packed, and the kids still needed to be woken up. It was going to be a running start!

I jumped out of bed in a panic and realized that Chris wasn't there. His suitcase was on the bed, but the house was quiet. Hmmm. I found him a moment later calmly working in our office; focused and totally chill about what time it was. He was right...there was no need for panic or rushing. I immediately relaxed. 

Nico had his first day in Young 5's. He and his best buds waited in line for the bus with more energy and excitement than I have ever seen before. Sofia was totally ready for the role of the big sister -- carrying the extra bag of classroom snacks, seating the boys on the bus, and making sure they all ended up where they needed to be when they got to school. It was precious.

Sofia was very serious about her duties this morning.
My mom and I continued our annual tradition of birthday lunch and shopping. We grabbed breakfast at my favorite restaurant near home, shopped around the new outlet mall and then had lunch with a friend near Reed's Lake. I treasure our one-on-one time. We are both so busy...it's nice to be reminded that slowing down with the people we love can and should happen. 

The day ended with the first night of a class I'm co-teaching at Aquinas College. We have such an awesome group of students!! I was so excited leaving tonight thinking about all the ways these "kids" were going to impact students. This class is their last stop prior to student teaching...and it's an important one. It's going to a great semester with this bunch! 

I closed the garage door at 9:50 tonight to find our babysitter smiling on the couch. With Chris away in Denver on business, she has been a God send. She has taken such good care of the kids and filled me in on all the day's details. She even proudly shared that the kids are developing a routine when they get home...and it's only Day 2 of school! 

Life is busy...but when I reflect on today, nearly every part included a moment in which I could really be present. 

And for this, I am thankful.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

A Shared Holiday

While I'd like to think that my birthday qualifies as a major holiday, today we observed a much more exciting and anticipated celebration: The First Day of School!

My kids are flippin' adorable. Seriously. We took the obligatory front porch shot:

3rd Grade and Young 5's
...and then, I took the obligatory, "don't-take-my-picture-in-the-bus-line" shot. Mom: 1 Sofia: 0




Nico was his usual self: ready for any kind of action...and a little miffed that he was going to have to wait one more day before he could ride the bus.


Watching them this morning was absolutely surreal. They've turned into little people; picking out the perfect outfit, agreeing to lunch menus, practicing phrases to include new kids at school and make them feel welcome....moving about their morning as if they've been this self-sufficient for years.

I realized very quickly that this very special morning was just about the best birthday gift ever. Why? It's hard watching your kids grow. I wish I could stop time at least 63 times a day. However, if watching them grow into kids who can lean into the world with grace, kindness, security, and confidence...well then I hope they grow to be 10 feet tall!

Sharing my 35th birthday with a momentous day for the kids wasn't so bad. In fact, it was pretty awesome.

And for this, I am thankful.

Monday, September 07, 2015

The Prequel

I stopped blogging some time ago. July 20, 2012 to be exact.

Up until that point, I spent nearly every day reflecting on my day to find thankfulness in a world that can sometimes feel, well, thankless. It very quickly became my outlet, my therapy, and the way I cataloged memories. I have always been the poorest excuse of a scrapbooker, so blogging served as the ultimate multimedia substitute! :)

I'm not totally sure why I stopped writing. Let's just go ahead and chalk it up to the good 'ole "life" excuse, shall we? I'm good with that.

Until Friday night.

Friday night, after talking with a friend and my husband, I realized just how much I was missing out by not writing anymore.

There is something sacred about giving yourself just 15 minutes to think, be thankful, and reflective so when the 15 minutes is up you are present...not checking email 1000 times a day, or Facebook or Twitter every 10 seconds, sending texts while doing six other things. Present, observant, and the best of who you are.

I'm not sure that I've done the best at maintaining this kind of balance over the last few years.

I'm on a mission to regain what was lost. And, in an effort to fill in the (very LARGE) blanks from July 20, 2012 to now, I'll take you on a  little walk down memory lane. I need to "scrapbook" anyway. :)

To get started...you'll notice I've changed my blog title.

We moved! 
Leaving the Rockies was one of the most difficult decisions we ever made. It was, however, a decision that led us to adventures beyond our wildest dreams and has allowed us to be near our very dear families once again. And so, on June 26th, 2013, we said goodbye to our little condo in the Mile High City and made our way to Grand Rapids, MI.
We have trees!...and a yard. :) 
Sofia
Be still my heart. This child of ours has grown into such a strong, kind, intelligent, creative soul. And grown she has! Sofia is now eight years old and entering third grade on Tuesday. Each day she finds a little more of herself as she plays with neighbor friends, girl scouts, soccer teammates and the family. While we may be biased as her parents, she's one wicked cool kid.

Learning about pulleys at COSI. Spring 2015


Nico
This child. This child is one special little dude. Loveable, creative, HILARIOUS, and always moving at the speed of light, Nico continues to melt our hearts each day. On July 4th, he turned 5. 5! Time has flown since he burst his way into the family and will begin Young 5's on Wednesday. Don't worry, you'll get plenty of action shots.

Breakfast date with our little dude. Spring 2015
Chris
When Chris and I were 17, we went on our first date. I told him that night, over apple crisp at TGI Friday's, that I knew I would marry him some day. He chuckled, took a breath, and then told me that was the kindest compliment he had ever received. I still know after 17 years that my decision-making skills have never been more accurate. This man continues to cause my heart to swell. I love watching him be a father. He embodies strength, kindness, and selflessness. He is what I always dreamed my children would have as a father. His career has shifted a bit as he now focuses more on the estimating end of the construction business. Our move opened up an incredible opportunity with an outstanding construction firm and he is thriving. I am so proud of him.

A major bonus of being back in MI...MSU Football Games! Fall 2014

Me
Arriving in Michigan meant a change in career path for me too. Instead of teaching tweens, I made the shift to leading adult learning as an ed tech consultant. I focused primarily on training educators on the use and implementation of Google Apps and even got into online course development. These processes helped me become a Google Certified Trainer and have allowed me to work with thousands of educators across the Midwest. This work also opened the door to working with a startup company where I am now the Senior Education Consultant. Add to that my side gig as a distributor in the health and wellness industry and well, I'd say, my time away from home each day is rather filled. :) Learning to balance work life and home life has been a journey for me...one I'm sure you'll hear much about over the next year. I'll definitely say one thing though: I have never, ever, loved being a mother and a wife more.

I wear grown up shoes now. :)

So that's the quick update. There are many, many stories to tell and I can't wait to share them all with you.

And for this, I am thankful. :)