Celebrate the good, Deployment thoughts

Another ring in my tree…

Today is my birthday. My husband has been gone for 315 days. 45 weeks. And this. This “holiday” is the last one he will miss. (At least for a while!).

That took the sting out of his absence I think, and I can say I had a wonderful birthday. My coworker’s spoiled me and I felt so very loved. My daughters made me cards and pictures and we enjoyed a lovely dinner tonight. 

But one moment in particular stood out for me, and it was when I read a comment from my blogger friend, Jane over at 50statecanuck.com wrote. She was admiring my strength over this last year and said I was the trunk that held my family together. And it was in that moment I realized that all this while I HAVE been strong. I finally really have started to believe it. But more so, I have such gratitude for those that helped water my tree. The small handful of gardeners that made time to add sustinence to my life will be held close to my heart for a lifetime. Pic from Pinterest

So here’s to a new year, and another ring in my tree. 



weekly wrap up

Still keeping the faith

I haven’t had a lot of time to write, but really wanted to highlight this past weekend .  If you read my last post, you read that I am still keeping the faith in regards to my career progression.  While nothing has changed since my last post, my faith still remains strong.  #Godhasaplan

This past weekend was my youngest daughter’s 10th birthday.  The big 1-0, double digits baby.  She was more than thrilled to say she is finally TEN YEARS OLD, so I planned a wonderful weekend in the city not only to celebrate her birthday, but to give my daughters and I time to recharge our batteries.

I took Friday off from work, and we headed down to the city at around 10 a.m.  After getting slightly lost once arriving to Chicago, we finally found our hotel.  We stayed at the Wit hotel in Chicago, and I highly recommend it for any future visits.  They treated us like loyalty, and we are just good ‘ole normal middle class folks.   #winning  We spent the weekend eating great food at places like Sienna Tavern and Bottlefork, went on an awesome architecture tour via boat, and shopping ’til we dropped almost literally.

So here’s our weekend wrap, mostly in pictures.  I wish I had words to describe this amazing weekend, but there really aren’t any.  Sure, we bickered some as of course to be expected with 3 woman with each other non-stop for 72 hours, but mostly we bonded, laughed, joked, and there were even a few tears from me as we sang Happy Birthday to my youngest, knowing her Dad would be sad having to miss this day. My heart broke a little, but my daughters helped me find my smile again.

First day at lunch at a place called O’Tooles
“Cocktails” at the roof top bar at the Wit
Us at dinner at the Sienna Tavern
A signed copy of Fabio Vivani’s cookbook!!
Wouldn’t be a birthday without Dylan’s candy store
Day 2 at Navy Pier
Views from our tour
More gorgeous views
Us on the way to Bottlefork for dinner
Shopping at the MAC store, hehe!
Never too old for fun!
Fireworks show at Navy Pier
Worn out after a long weekend, LOL

While there wasn’t much working out for me last week other than my daily plank, we logged over 12 miles of walking this weekend so I’ll take it.  I’m wrapping up with Holly and Tricia for the weekly wrap since these ladies rock, and I’ve missed linking with them.  Please head over and check them out! ❤


How was your weekend?  Do you explore the city you live in?  What is your favorite touristy thing to do?


Have a great week!



A Trifecta of Birthdays

I didn’t run this weekend.  Nope.  Not one single mile.  This past week I haven’t felt 100%, and between party planning, work, house cleaning and cooking for my daughter’s birthday party I was only able to manage one 4 miler this past week, two walks, and one strength training session.  And guess what?  I am totally ok with that.  My stomach seems to get very angry when I am under stress, so I did what I could to keep moving.

Monday-4 mile run in terrible humidity

Tuesday-2 mile walk

Wednesday-cleaned my house and got ready for the bday party

Thursday-1.5 mile walk and stretching and painting my front porch (that counts, right?)

Friday-The birthday weekend started so no workout!  I had to work late, so found myself zipping through town to pick up a gift for my friend Jitka’s surprise birthday party.

Friday night was just a blast.  We all planned a surprise party for my dear friend Jitka.  Seeing her face as she walked in the door of the restaurant was priceless, and the sheer joy could be felt throughout the room.

Debra, Jitka and myself cheesin' for the camera
Debra, Jitka and myself cheesin’ for the camera
Sushi with great friends...doesn't get much better!
Sushi with great friends…doesn’t get much better!
My amazing group of friends
My amazing group of friends

Saturday I was up early to get ready for my youngest daughter’s 8th birthday party.  My parents were driving in, as well as my sister and her family and so many awesome friends and neighbors.  Slight drama ensued as my toilet lid broke off the night before, so after 2 trips to Home Depot (note-universal toilet seats go by the shape of your toilet.  I learned my bowl is ROUND, not oval, LOL), a trip to pick up balloons, and picking up the cake and we were ready to get this party started!!!!

make a wish!
make a wish!
This little person took the time to read each and every card.  She has such a big heart.
This little person took the time to read each and every card. She has such a big heart.
THIS...this is what makes my world go 'round...family, friends, and fun.
THIS…this is what makes my world go ’round…family, friends, and fun.
My wonderful parents...
My wonderful parents…
Bouncy houses make everything better, and the adults even had fun bouncing!
Bouncy houses make everything better, and the adults even had fun bouncing!

I was blessed to have my oldest niece spend the night, and today was her 15th birthday.  WHA????????????????  Where did the time go?  I woke up the eldest children early despite grumbling and we enjoyed a yummy birthday breakfast.

Jordyn and Jenna <3
Jordyn and Jenna ❤

My day ended with a much needed nap, and now as I sit here writing while listening to my laundry whirl in the dryer I find myself feeling so very  blessed.  Despite a rough week last week, it all came full circle and I realize I have the best friends and family EVER.  Ok, I may be partial, but it’s true.  I thank you ALL for being a part of my life.

❤ Michelle

moving forward, running

Marathons and Child birth

Two of the hardest and best accomplishments of my life, were definitely running a full marathon (x2), and childbirth (x2).
Here is how I think I looked during my first marathon…lol
I celebrate the later of these two accomplishments today, as we celebrate the 8th birthday of my youngest daughter.
Let me back track almost 15 years, to the birth of my first daughter.  The pregnancy was difficult, I had several miscarriages, my then marriage SUCKED, and I felt completely isolated and alone living far away from my immediate family.  Childbirth was difficult but my Mom drove out to be with me thankfully.  Despite my love for my first born, immediately I swore…I’d NEVER. EVER.  have more kids.  My body wasn’t made for this, and this one little gift from God was mine, and I couldn’t want for anything more…
Fast forward almost 4 years, and I met the love of my life who not only loved me, but my daughter as well.  A year later we were married, and a year after that we decided to try and have a baby.  Within the first month I was pregnant, and nearly just as quickly I lost the baby.  I wasn’t sure I could do this again…but we didn’t give up, and mid fall of 2005 we found out we were going to have a baby.
My pregnancy went without a hitch or hiccup.  I was healthy as a horse (and nearly as big as one too) and worked up until my due date.  Little Miss Sophia was almost a week late, deciding she would do things on HER time.  (And that hasn’t changed a bit, lol).  August 5th, 2006 my beautiful princess was born.
This post is dedicated to my daughters…may YOU never feel less then AMAZING-every-single-day.  For your sense of wonder, inner beauty, passion for life and quirky personalities amaze ME every-single-day!!!  Never, ever let the system squash your spirit!!!  At the end of the day, it’s the effort you put forth in life that reaps the benefits.  Be it in running, goals, parenting, careers, or relationships…it is ALWAYS worth it in the end.
Let there be cake...oh, and ice cream!
Let there be cake…oh, and ice cream!
dedication, goals, moving forward, running


Today I found myself waking up with very little sleep and my long run of 7 miles looming in the horizon…
Today I wanted to go back to bed after snoozing my alarm twice, but a reminder that I set for myself on facebook made me get up and run my farthest run this year, of 7.26 miles. I was blessed to run with my friend, Melissa K, as well as enjoy hugs, conversation, and a great cup of green tea with amazing friends.

Yup...pretty proud of those miles...
Yup…pretty proud of those miles…

Today I could have tackled house work, but instead I rounded up my mini’s while my husband was at reserve duty and spent the day going out to brunch and shopping for spring clothes and birthday gifts.
Today I allowed myself a one hour nap that although didn’t result in sleep, provided some much needed rest.
Today I fought with my wardrobe, truly realizing I have gained far too many pounds during this tough winter.
Today I looked away from the mirror, and found myself sad…I immediately smacked myself virtually upside the head as I know inner beauty beats out outer physique.
Tonight, I surrounded myself with a group of local friends that have moved past the often named “running friends” to “darn good friends” and celebrated the birthday of my sole sister Melissa while sharing laughs, good food, and even better conversation.
My running family
My running family

If I could quantify the value of the hugs, laughter, smiles, and love I felt today between my family and friends, I could tell you easily that I a millionaire ten fold, and twice again on Sunday…
I have hard times, bad times, times I wanted to give up…
But today…tonight…these amazing people reminded me why I keep movin’ forward. I don’t have to force anything…I simply have to remember that I have all of this awesome support because I do my best to give it back in return.
Today, I decided that if I want to move forward, I have to leave the negative behind me, and hang on to all the amazing people I have supporting me, because I have some pretty amazing people in my life…TODAY.

Keep Movin’ forward…

❤ Michelle