A little imagination and a lot of hope

To piggyback on yesterday’s pretty pathetically sad post (I am TOTALLY blaming Mother Nature and the crazy rain we’ve been having in the Chicagoland area), today I am going to chat about what I’ve envisioned all along for my life. I always envisioned myself being successful. And not just holding a steady job, keeping my kids alive and make sure I pay the house payment each month.  No…I saw myself in a position that I wanted for myself. Maybe owning my own coffee-wine shop/restaurant, maybe working side by side with someone in a creative aspect, heck, maybe even owning a cute little shack/food truck somewhere near the beach where I would serve yummy food to customers that were lined up wearing swimwear and sunscreen. Can’t you smell the salty air and feel that wonderful breeze in your hair already?! I sure can!!!

South Beach, Miami



Either way, the dreams all had a common theme. It was me, doing what I love, and sharing that love with others. And while I didn’t have to use my imagination for this post, as these dreams have been a part of me since I was a small child, I am sharing these dreams with you as part of the Wednesday word post from over at Deb Runs! Today’s word is imagination! What do you imagine for your future? Do you have any dreams that some might call far fetched?



Celebrate the good, Uncategorized

Things I am celebrating…

Sorry for my absence as of late. My days are filled with work, and I spend my evenings with my hubby as we are still getting used to being around one another. Any spare time has been spent with my family. Thus, the blog and my running have taken a back seat…that will hopefully change soon!!

Here’s what we’ve been up to!!!!!

In the last month we’ve eaten tons of amazing food at some very wonderful restaurants, taken an amazing family trip to Disney, and I am currently stepping outside of my comfort zone at my job (time will tell if anything pans out, but I am still celebrating that I had the courage to go for it anyhow!).

I’ve also been cooking a lot more, especially Sunday suppers and I just finished the super fun MasterClass series by Gordon Ramsay. I’ve gone through the instructional videos once, having re-watched the “how to break down a whole chicken” video a few times and attempted my first breakdown on Sunday with success. It wasn’t perfect, but I did it!!

Had a little help from my hubby!!

I have not, however, been running. I haven’t quite figured out where that is going to fit in my already busy day, and I need to figure it out pretty quickly as training for the Chicago Marathon will need to commence before I know it. I think once the weather warms up a little more, and we continue to get more day light, it’ll be a little easier to make the time after work.

How have you all been? Tell me something that’s new with you in the last month or so!!





food, Recipes, Uncategorized

Spicy broccoli puree’

Here is the recipe for my spicy broccoli puree! Note, I failed to take proper pictures other than my perfect bite, so all but the first picture are from Amazon and Pinterest just to give you an idea. 🙂

The perfect bite!

Here’s what you’ll need:

2 cups of steamed broccoli or broccolini if you can find it. I think it’s a bit sweeter, but either will do.


Reserve 1 cup of the steaming liquid for puree

Calabrian chili flakes or crushed red pepper flakes to taste


1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder

salt and pepper to taste

1 pat of unsalted butter

Add the steamed broccoli, seasonings and butter to your food processor. Pulse on high until you get a creamy consistency, adding in little by little the reserved steaming liquid being careful not to get it too watery.

Serve with your favorite main dish!

Do you puree your veggies? What is your favorite veggie dish!

I hope you all enjoy this recipe, and I look forward to a lot more recipes to share this year!





My birthday present

The girls asked what I wanted for my birthday this year. That was easy for me to answer since the only other obvious gift would be my husband’s return. I wanted one last girls day in the city!! We took the train down, ate lots of yummy food, and went to the Shedd aquarium. Here’s our day (this past Saturday) in pics!!

And at the end of the day, as we near the end of this deployment I can say this: we’ve laughed, we’ve cried, we’ve fought, and we’ve grown. And we did it all. Together. 

Thanks for all of the love and support this year. I am so very thankful. (Sorry for the repeat pics, but wanted to document the day). I couldn’t have asked for a better 44th bday minus my hubby being here with us. 

What do you ask for on your birthday? Ever been to the Shedd aquarium in Chicago? 




2017 goals

I don’t make resolutions…I think it’s silly to wait until a specific day/new year to resolve to do something that you could do “today.”  I do like to make a list of sorts though, to encompass my goals for the year.

Last year my goal was to survive 2016. And I can proudly say, I DID. Amidst broken vacuums, running toilets, blown out furnace (while living in Chiberia), my dog going through severe depression, teenager angst, pre-teen wanna-be angst, holding down a career where I supervise one of the largest pathology labs in the greater Chicagoland area, and maintaining a house…yeah. I survived. It wasn’t always pretty. There were meltdowns and crying fits a many. In about a month I hope to wash my hands of the stress of this year, and focus on all that I achieved. But I wont count my chickens before they are hatched.  We still have a month or so (give or take) to go before my hubby returns. And then we will have the reintegration period which I know can be hard. But I digress…


THIS YEAR I’ve got a few goals in mind. First being, training and running the Chicago marathon in October.  I swore I’d never do that race again, but, well, it’s Chicago and it’s the 40th anniversary of the race so I couldn’t help myself. We’ve already got a hotel booked so that will help tremendously with the logistics of packet pick up and getting to the start line which was one of the main reasons I never returned to the race that “popped my cherry” so to speak. The race where I became a marathoner. It was such a life changing day, and even though my sister won’t be running this time with me physically, she’ll be there with me every step.

My sister and I at the finish line of the 2012 Chicago Marathon

Secondly, I plan on really getting back in the kitchen. I’ve ordered a couple text books, one from the Culinary Institute of America, and one on sauces that came highly recommended from a few Chefs I know so that I can better learn more about this passion of mine. Sure, I am a good cook, but if I ever hope to open my own restaurant (pipe dream more than likely but it doesn’t hurt to try)one day, I need to hone my craft. The ultimate goal is to be in the food industry in a creative aspect be it cooking, plating, photography so I think studying these two books will really help.


Lastly, my goal for this year is to do my best to live each day to the fullest. Slow down, take deep breaths, let ALL the anxiety this last year has caused me GO and move forward with my wants and needs, even if just a little. While I have done my very best to do this over the last year, I know the last year was lived for my kids and my husband alone. Any needs or wants I had, took a back seat. Everyone needs a little something for themselves, so I am looking forward to a little ME time again. I just haven’t figure out what that ME time will be yet, LOL. I’m hoping more running, more cooking, more writing, and lots of time with my hubby and family this year. More focusing on what I have, not what I don’t have. More light, more traveling, more sunshine both outside and in my heart. You know…all the good stuffs I’ve sort of shadowed this past year.:-)

What are you goals for the year? Do you make New Year’s resolutions?

Cheers!  Thanks all for reading and commenting!



Lost and Found, 2016

While I’ve taken a step back from blogging, I still continue to read some of my favorite blogs-even when I can’t comment.  A lot of people are writing their 2016 year recaps, and that got me thinking about all I’ve endured this last year while my husband has been deployed.  Immediately, “Lost and found” came to my head which is where the title of this post came.


A lot of things were lost this year.


I’ve lost a lot of friends. There. I said it.  While harboring anger has been my method of choice for the last 9-10 months, I know I need to just get it out of my system and move on.  When the news of my husband’s deployment came, the outpouring of love and support I received in the weeks prior to his departure was a God send. I thought, “Ok, with all this support I will get through this without a hitch. I GOT THIS.”  But after he left, as the weeks and months passed I can say I was more than shocked how many friends basically fell off the face of the earth when it came to being in my life at least.  Because my ability to go out, go running, pretty much do anything but work and raise my kids 98% of the time ceased, so did said friendships.  And that made me so very sad.  BUT…I’ve got a small handful of friends who didn’t give up on me, and continued to support me even if it was just via text or phone calls and I NEED to focus on that.  The harboring anger is too hard.  While I will forgive, I will say that I won’t allow my heart to be hurt anymore in the future.  I can’t ever forget…this year has been far too hard to ever forget.


I’ve lost my temper more times than I care to admit. Fits of anger and sadness overcame my body so much so I’d find myself curled up in a ball on my bedroom floor, sobbing. And I didn’t like that feeling of helplessness at all.


I’ve lost my motivation to run, cook, or do any of my favorite things. What little free time I have is spent cleaning, taxi’ing kids and just being around for them when they need me has taken everything else out of me.  My oldest daughter has found her solace and peace with her friends, and I get that.  She’s 17.  But my youngest wants to be with me, all the time, and while I know a part of me knows that is because her Daddy is gone, the other part of me is celebrating because she WANTS to be with me.  I haven’t been able to focus on anything else.


I’ve lost my ability to make excuses for people. No explanation needed.


I’ve lost hope, on more occasions and in more situations than I care to admit.


And in a way, I feel like I’ve lost my hubby and oldest daughter all in one year (even though I know that’s not true) and the emptiness that statement brings to my heart cannot be described in words. I’ve lost him due to this deployment, and I’ve lost her as she starts gaining more and more independence. I miss them both, dearly…


But I’ve also found a lot of things.


I’ve found that I am tougher than I thought. Despite a couple breakdowns, both physically and mentally I have battled through a lot of things this year. Broken snowblowers, toilets, furnaces weren’t going to beat me. Add in car accidents, multiple nannies quitting and raising two girls on my own and I give you a whole new level of stress that isn’t for the weak.


I’ve found that I’ve got a few amazing people in my life. Between my neighbors who are like family to me, and a couple pretty amazing friends that didn’t quit reaching out to me even when times were tough, and I’d say I am pretty blessed. My friend A. has texted me every single day, for 42 weeks now…that’s 42 weeks she’s set a reminder to tell me goodnight “NNT” and allow me the opportunity to reach out to her if I needed to because we all know how rotten I am about asking for help or reaching out.  She’s driven in a blizzard to have dinner with me, because it’s so few and far between that we are able to get out.  She’s been there for me. And that speaks volumes.  My friend J. has called, texted, and FB’d me as well as doing sweet things like leaving mums on my front porch this fall.  My family has also been amazing, calling, texting, and my Dad has been awesome about helping me around the house when they come to visit.  There are others, too, of course…but these are the standouts that didn’t give up on me and for that I’ll be forever grateful.


I’ve found that I can function on just a few hours of sleep. And while I may look like a train wreck, I can say that I have wrapped 95% of the Christmas presents because I stayed up late last night doing so!


I’ve found that running and cooking will always be there. While I’ve only run one race this year, I still have a love for it and look forward to training for the Chicago marathon next year.  My husband will return, and my cooking will commence as I am sure he won’t be as appreciative of soup and sammiches every night, LOL.


I’ve found that you have to pick your battles. So my kids aren’t star athletes and they don’t get the best grades.  So what? Their happiness is the most important thing, and I remember how hard it was to be a teenager/young girl. The best medicine is always support and love, even if it’s tough love, all while motivating them to do their best in everything they do.


I’ve found that not being on social media as much is something I need to do for my own happiness. Because it’s too hard to hear how people are always too busy for you, when you are seeing pictures of them out and about with all their other friends.  Social media can suck like that.  And I don’t need that in my life.  So I’ve started trying to not check it during the day, except maybe at my lunch break.  Baby steps, right?


I’ve found that even though my oldest daughter and I butt heads, we love each other. That little woman is truly 90% me at her age, and that terrifies me because of the struggles I had growing up.  I often remind myself of how I felt at that age, and try to approach things at a different angle so she doesn’t withdraw even more.  This of course after I’ve flown off the handle which let me tell you, NEVER works when trying to communicate with a teenager.


I’ve found hope. Nearly as quickly as I lost it. Every. Single. Time.  And that counts for a whole lot if you ask me.


I’ve found that I really can…do hard things. I may not always do it right, or do it well, but I haven’t given up yet.


While I will happily bid 2016 goodbye in just over a week, the things I found truly outweigh all that was lost.

One of my favorite memories of 2016


How was your year? Highlights? Lowlights?






Thanks for all of the kind words lately. While I’ve struggled with things to post about, I thought I’d share a thankful post in pics. Here goes. I was lucky enough to host thanksgiving and my sisters family came to spend the day with us. The hubby called. TWICE. Lastly I took my daughters to the city this weekend where we are all the food and caught all the sales. The picture of Sophia with Santa is heartwarming. See, she asked him to bring her Daddy home safe. He even got teary. And of course no thankful post would be completely without a pic of Sammy. 

How was your thanksgiving? Did you cook? What are you thankful for? 



real life adventures, Uncategorized

It takes an Army

So I am sharing this from my Facebook, because I just couldn’t remain silent any more

On the eve of Veteran’s Day, I ask you to step back and think. Think of those who have fought for your freedoms, and remember that freedom isn’t free. Ultimately, IT TAKES AN ARMY (and the rest of the armed forces, naturally) to keep a country running smoothly. Not one person, not one race, not one religion, not one political party. IT TAKES AN ARMY.
So while everyone is out there bashing people’s choices and spreading hate, remember: You have chosen to feed in to the hate. You have chosen to move ahead angry and let the decisions of others dictate your actions. YOU.
One man or woman doesn’t get to decide how this country runs. So pray for the dedicated group of men and women that collectively keep our country running and see what you can do to make this country an even better place to live.
I chose to serve. For 20 years. My husband continues to serve and is deployed overseas. I simply cannot stand for all the disrespect on BOTH SIDES and am appalled and the riots and protests.
But I’ve still decided to keep positive. Pray for our leaders, both past and present that they will do what’s right for the people of this country I so proudly serve.
I’ve said my peace. #ittakesanarmy #youchoose
MSGT Michelle R. Dragoo, USAF (retired)


Happy Veteran’s Day to all the vets out there.  Your service is appreciate and honored.

Uncategorized, weekly wrap up

Weekly Wrap 10/31-11/6

Hey everyone!!  Last week was a bit of a blur and all for me, you know with the CUBS WINNING THE WORLD SERIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Ok, sorry…I was just so excited to see our Cubbies bring it home.  Sammy enjoyed the series as well. 🙂


Overall my week was pretty good. I did my best to stick with my winter goals and felt pretty successful in my first week.

Highlights were my five mile run on Sunday after a very long weekend at work and the Cubbies winning!  Even better, my hubby texted me during the game. He and his guys woke up at 2:30 am to watch!!



Lowlights were my mini fell and hit got a pretty good sized goose egg.  Thankfully the swelling has gone down and she’s feeling much better.


Also, I’m still planking daily.  I haven’t missed a day since May 1st.  This week’s longest was 7 minutes, for the 7th game of the series, naturally…LOL


I’m linking up with Holly and Tricia for the Weekly wrap!  Please head over and check out these awesome ladies!


What was your highlight/lowlight last week? Did you watch the World Series?

Have a great week!




race recaps, Uncategorized

Sycamore pumpkin 10k recap and weekly wrap up! 10/24-10/30

I am happy to report that last week I ran THREE times, did yoga once (hey, that’s a lot for this non-yogi) and did weights twice. Here’s a couple of my workouts:


We watched the Cubs take the pennant and have watched all the games since…and yes, I am very tired from staying up even later than I normally do, LOL!


My mini was sick with a low grade fever so we hunkered down and rested this weekend so she’d be better for Trick or Treating tonight. #priorities We did manage to carve pumpkins, which is SOOOOO not my thing (I am not a fan of Halloween in general, I know, bah humbug) but I put on my happy face for my youngest.  My oldest had no desire to carve pumpkins with us this year…her friends are more fun, ya know? The best part is that my hubby Facetimed us while we were carving pumpkins and having not been able to talk to him since the end of September, this MADE OUR NIGHT!!!!


I also ran my very first 10k (yes, I know I’ve ran 3 full marathons and I’ve lost count of half marathons) on Sunday and it felt great to be racing again (even though my pace wasn’t really fast, it was fast for me not running for several months and just starting back a couple weeks ago). The race was the Sycamore 10k pumpkin run and many people were dressed up in costume.  They had same day packet pick up, and a nice area for us to hang out inside while we waiting for the race to start.  The race went pretty well, despite some CRAZY winds the last 4 miles.  The first 2 miles were glorious as we ran through wooded neighborhoods.  The Fall colors were brilliant!  I was afraid if I stopped to take a picture I wouldn’t be able to stop again though, so I have only my memories to share with you, LOL.  But as we hit mile three and turned left to make the first turn of the loop, the wind literally smacked me in the face and I got a little nervous.  Would I be able to finish this race with this wind?  Ack…I kept positive though, thinking as soon as we turned the wind would ease up…I was wrong, it just blew you sideways, LOL…So I stopped to walk the 4 mile water stop, and walked for a good minute to catch my breath. I really wanted to finish the race strong.  So I slowed my pace, and just settled in. I saw my friend Mark at the 5ish mile marker, and he ran me in the last mile or so giving me encouragement and cheering me on.  It was just what I needed!  I finished in just over an hour (1:03) and for not having trained really (2 weeks of running) I was quite pleased.


Overall it was a pretty good week which will hopefully carry over in to my 6 day work week this week.

How was your week? Any races to report?  Do you like carving pumpkins/Halloween festivities?

Linking up with Holly at https://hohoruns.blogspot.com and Tricia at http://www.misssippipiddlin.com for the weekly wrap!