Meg's (Ad)Ventures

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.