Deployment thoughts, Uncategorized

What day is it today?

I swear I have lost my mind, and yesterday threw me on a roller coaster of emotions I had thankfully forgotten from our first deployment. Our final goodbyes for the year have been said, and I can honestly say that I am not sure how I survived the 60 minute drive home yesterday.  After being enveloped in my husband’s arms as we all sobbed, I just can’t put into words the raw emotion that we felt.  My daughters and I simply hung on to one another yesterday, and after tucking my youngest in as she cried herself to sleep, I knew I’d have my hands full this next year.

Even Sammy is missing him
He texted me this photo on his way to the airport. They were being escorted by veterans. SO cool.

So my sister challenged me, to keep busy, find a project,  and/or journal to help the quiet of the evenings hurt a little less.  So that’s the plan.  I’ve got several house projects to do on my list, and plan to write a lot more.  That’s the joy of my blog, it’s multifaceted, and not just about running.  Plus, it’s mine and I can write what I want to, LOL!!!

I still have to remind myself to breathe sometimes.  I have to choke back the sobs more times in the day than I can count.  But with each day that passes, it’s one day closer to his return.  And I am reminded daily of all the blessings in my life.  I walked in to work this morning to find this on my desk, a beautiful gesture from my entire staff.  #allthelove


I also received several texts, got a dozen hugs, and this awesome gift from my friend Kelly.  I wish I had words to describe how grateful I am for all the awesome people in my life.


And as the day came to a close and my kids played outside while I did laundry and cleaned I received a text from my oldest. “Mom, come outside and look at the sunset” She loves the sunrises and sunsets nearly as much as I do.


As we watched the sun set into the horizon, we hugged each other tightly and she whispered, “Love you…” and held her even tighter.

This will be a very tough year.  But we love each other so very much, that I believe in the end it will help us get through this even stronger.  The crazy emotions of the week have brought on a pretty terrible headache so I put off my workout for another day because I just can’t bear to be down for the count.  I’ll get back at it in no time.

Who’s your biggest supporter? Do you have beautiful sunrises and sunsets where you live? What’s your latest workout?

Cheers!!  ❤



Deployment thoughts, Recipes, Uncategorized

I can do hard things.

This morning started out a little rocky.  I woke up from a terrible nightmare as my husband reached to kiss me goodbye this morning WAY before the birds (or anyone else for that matter) were awake.  I laid in bed, practicing my deep calm breaths as my heart raced a million miles per hour.  Would he be ok over this next year? Will the Nanny’s first day go well? How can I help my 16 year old cope with, well, being 16?  Ugh…

Several deep breaths later, I was up and getting ready for work.  The Nanny arrived promptly on time, and everything went quite well for our discombobulated first morning.  She texted me as soon as my little got on the bus, and I sighed a HUGE sigh of relief.  I had a busy day at work, but was in awe of how many times I smiled, and was reminded of how far I’ve come in life.  It really is true.  You control your mood, no one else.  #learninglessonseveryday

I drove home from work in a crazy snow storm, picked up my little from after school care, and we headed to Home Depot. See, our front light went out, we were out of sidewalk salt, and my daughter’s bathroom toilet lid broke right off.  Guess since it was the original one from 1989, it was time to replace it.  These are ALL things my husband normally takes care of.  Although he isn’t handy, he does do all the hard things that I haven’t had to do in over a decade usually.  Yet it’s time I figure out how to be on my own again, and do all the hard things.

As I lifted the huge bag of salt from my Jeep, I reminded myself that I CAN and WILL do this and be stronger for it.

My mini and I cooked our version of Jambalaya for dinner in preparation for an evening of shoveling out above said snow, and here’s a quick recipe.

Jambalaya Ingredients

4 links of pre-cooked chicken sausage, sliced into coin shapes

1 cup of precooked shrimp, chopped into small pieces

1 large can of crushed red tomatoes (use the spicy ones for added kick) with the juice

1 can of black beans, strained

2 stalks of celery, chopped

2 small white onions (or one large), diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

Creole seasoning to taste, salt, pepper, and chives

Fresh chopped Parsley to garnish

In a deep sauté pan heat 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, and sauté the garlic, onions and celery until slightly tender. Add in the tomatoes and beans, and simmer for 20 minutes.  Add in the chicken sausage and shrimp until heated through, and serve over your favorite rice or quinoa.  I used a brown rice quinoa blend that I cooked according to the package instructions.  I even had a little help from my mini.

Not sure which sparkles more, her eyes, or this dress? ❤
Dinner is served! Healthy AND Delish!

As we cleaned up the table, I got a text from one of my newest neighbors.  She told me her husband has a landscaping business, and plows in the winter.  Would I like him to plow my driveway?  I broke down crying, and thanked God for all he’s blessed me with through this deployment preparation.  He came over to plow, and I thanked him profusely as the temps are dropping, and I now only had to shovel my sidewalk and salt.


Next it was time to fix that darn toilet seat.  And who took the lead?  Yup…my 16 year old.  With a little help from Sammy…LOL!

My oldest asked if she could talk to me.  I froze.  What’s wrong?  She confided in me that she’s been struggling with feeling happy, and I was catapulted back to 10th grade.  I told her WE would get through this, and I would help her in any way I can to learn to find happiness even in the toughest of times.  And I was just so darn touched and honored that SHE CAME TO ME.  #allthetears

My hubby just got home from a very long day of training, so I think it’s time to wrap this post up.  But here’s your reminder, that we can ALL do the hard things, if WE believe we can.

Do you have a handy spouse?  What’s the hardest thing you’ve done lately?

Cheers! Keep Movin’ forward, y’all!

❤ Michelle

moving forward, Uncategorized

Angels, Blessings, and Clarity

Gosh, it’s been a while since I’ve posted.  I wish I could say that life has just been busy and that my days have been filled with work, running and everything in between.  But that would be a lie.  I haven’t been running since last weekend.  And I am in week 5 of marathon training!  What?  But just wait.

Monday morning I woke up like I do every Monday morning, and I went through my daily routine.  Something felt off, but I shook it off and hit the road.  My left contact was being snarky and I kept blinking and trying to get it to just chill out.  Finally I just sighed, pulled over and took it out.  It was blurred and irritating my eye and I wasn’t going to let it ruin my day.  I drove on, listening to K-Love Christian music radio and found myself being compelled to pray for my family’s safety.  I had no idea why, but when the pull comes from the big man upstairs, I follow His direction.  Little did I know what would happen later that very same day…

The phone call came just 5 minutes after arriving home with S.  We had our sandwich stuff spread out on the kitchen counter like a factory line knowing our time is short on Monday’s due to ballet practice being just an hour after we arrive home.  My phone rang, and J’s name came across the screen.  It was 5 minutes to 5 P.M. which is when she was due home.  My heart jumped when a strangers voice came through the ear piece telling me that J was in an accident and that I needed to come quick.  I grabbed S, and we flew out the door to the intersection where the accident took place.

We arrived at the scene just 5 minutes later, and as I sprinted hand in hand with S, I saw my baby laid out on a stretcher with a neck brace and I fell to my knees.  The police men steadied me as I knelt next to her, trying my hardest to be calm yet finding myself shaking uncontrollably.  She would be transported to the local hospital and as I started to run to my Jeep, Sgt. G. stopped me.  “Ma’am, you are in no condition to drive.  Let me take you and your youngest to the hospital.”  I smiled through my tears, and thanked him profusely.  This man was the first of many Angels I’d meet in the next couple of days.

As we flew down Randall Road, with the ambulance in sight just behind us I wrapped my arms around my youngest and prayed.  “Please God, keep J safe, let her be ok, heal her please,” among many other rambled prayers kept repeating in my head.  Please…I…I can’t lose this child who taught me to love life again.  I can’t be without my first born…I can’t.  As much as I complain about the struggles of being a Mom to a 15 year old girl, I would take it all back just for her to be OK.  Please.  PLEASE?!?

We arrived at the ER shortly, and as the officer handed me her back pack that had been cut off her so they could triage her I found myself without words.  He went to shake my hand and wish me well, but I hugged him instead thanking him for all that he did for us.  He seemed almost surprised, but promised me everything would be ok.

We had two more Angels greet us at the hospital.  Nurse Melissa, and Nurse Leah.  They tended to J’s every need, going out of their way to make sure she was comfortable for her entire stay, and during her CAT scan.  And when the news was delivered to us that she had skull fractures and bleeding in her brain and that we’d need to be transferred to a higher level trauma center, they made sure that I was ok.  I told my husband to take our youngest home to stay with friends, and he would meet us later at the new hospital.  And these two Angels helped hold me up when I just wanted to curl up and cry.  I will be forever grateful.

The next 48 hours were a bit of a blur.  We got checked in to the new ER, had more CAT scans which showed no improvement so we were moved to the Pediatric ICU. We were met by more amazing nurses and medical staff that treated us as of we were the only patients in the hospital.  I can’t say enough about the wonderful care we received.  Tuesday we had a repeat scan that showed the swelling had gone down and the bleeding had stopped.  We would continue to monitor for the morning, and were eventually moved to a regular room.  In comes my next Angel.

It had been 2 days since I’d showered, slept, or felt even half human.  I couldn’t cry anymore, and although my J was improving the fear that the tables could turn at any moment was (is) very real.  My sister texted me several times asking what she could do, or if I needed anything.  Then at around 10:30 she said forget it, she was on her way and not to argue.  She walked in the door, hugged us all and sat with us for a couple hours.  Seeing how tired I was she offered to drive me home so I could grab a quick nap and shower.  Mind you, she drove an hour FURTHER away from her house to get me home, well, because she’s just that awesome.  ❤

Tuesday night one of my co-workers came to visit for a bit, and it just reminded me of the amazing people I have in my life.  Countless texts, prayers, phone calls and reminders that J was being lifted up by EVERYONE were pouring in faster than I could keep up with.  She just HAD to be ok.  The doctors and nurses came in several times to check on her, and by Wednesday morning it appeared our prayers had been answered.  They hoped she would be ready to go home that afternoon.  She just needed to be able to eat, walk around a bit, and use the restroom. And that she did…she even got a little snarky which was a GREAT sign!!

So here we are, home from one of the toughest few weeks of my life, and I am humbled and grateful.  I haven’t gone more than a couple hours without crying both in tears of fear, and tears of gratitude for God’s graces.  I’ve counted, and recounted my blessings, and I have thanked everyone involved this week as many times as possible.

Looking back at the start of my week, I am moved by the fact that my vision was physically blurred and that I felt compelled to pray. And as I helped my 15 year old bathe tonight (for the first time in MANY years) I was moved to tears as she said quietly, “Thank you, Mommy,” after I helped her dress.  “Will you brush and dry my hair,” she asked?  I asked if drying her hair would bother her to which she said she’d let me know.  And it didn’t thankfully…So I gently brushed her hair, dried it on the lowest setting, and ran my fingers through her hair.  I turned the dryer off while her hair was still damp to which she said, “A little longer, please?”  I smiled through my tears, thanked God yet again for his healing and protection to my amazing little girl, for my amazing family and friends, and for the Angels that abounded through this tragic event.

Our road isn’t cleared yet, as we have follow up with Neurology, Ophthalmology, and Pediatrics to make sure she’s healing and progressing.  But at this moment, my vision has never been more clear. My baby is going to be OK.  God truly does work miracles!!!!

My J.  <3
My J. ❤

Thanks for all the thoughts and prayers!

Keep Movin’ forward, y’all!

❤ Michelle


I have and am, ENOUGH-Living the dream!

This weekend was a blur to be honest.  But it was a wonderful weekend I have to admit.  I am having a hard time forming my thoughts, so please bear with me.

My husband had reserve duty this weekend, which means the household is my responsibility.  It is one that I have taken on, and have been doing for over 15 years of being a single mom/Army wife.  I’ve done my fair share of bitching, whining, and complaining.  Yes.  I suck sometimes.  But this weekend was different, and let me tell you why…

First, I spent the weekend with my girls, shopping, eating, and getting pampered as we got our hair done.  Our awesome friends/neighbors came over last night for a pre-celebratory drink, and my sister and her family came to my hubby’s ceremony today.  Stack on the feelings of happy and bliss because my cup truly is over flowing.

Me and my girls!
Me and my girls!


I have always preached to do what you love, and do it with passion.  I have not always lived this statement, but this last year has been different.  I’ve cooked more, ran a lot, and chased dreams that still have yet to be caught.  But mostly, I have smiled more this last year than I have in the last 5 years.  Because I realized something…

I AM enough.  I HAVE more than enough…

And this is greatly due in part to the fact that I have the most amazing family and friends, well…EVER.  I’ve got a job I enjoy, a roof over my head and food on my table.  And did I mention the best family and friends ever?  Oh yeah, I said that already…lol

Secondly, this weekend was my husband’s weekend to shine.  And shine he did.  He took command of his first unit.  I always joke and say he loves the Army more than me, (totally kidding) but this afternoon as he spoke to his soldiers, his face was all lit up and shining…you could FEEL the energy, and my heart sang a little song just for him…HE is doing it.  He is chasing his dreams, and achieving SO much in his career and I simply couldn’t be more proud.

My hero...
My hero…

To wrap it all up, I finished the week with a total of almost 8 miles of running, my ab challenge, and a smile on my face.

What brings you the most joy in life?  Are you living and pursuing these passions?


Keep Movin’ forward, y’all!




Support 2 ways…

First off, as a caveat to my last post, I had it on my heart to post about something near and dear to me.
I don’t mean in just tough times, because I’ve found that for many it is almost easier to be there for someone when the times are tough and the dark lined cloud of gloom is looming over your head for what seems like eternity…You know those times…Right?
Yup…we all do. 
But what I’ve found is how hard it can be to support others in CELEBRATING their triumphs when you yourself have the impeding cloud of doom following you.  Jealousy can set in, and being able to be happy for other’s success is well…hard to do sometimes. 
I caught myself recently fighting the demon of jealousy to the death as I was SO tired of feeling that way.  Someone else will always have more money, be taller, be smarter, have a more glamourous car/home, be able to take vacations, you name it!
No more!
No more!
SO. freaking’. WHAT I say to you, dark demon of jealousy that causes the impeding cloud of doom to follow me.  BE GONE I say.  BE GONE.
I have a pretty darn good life.  Despite debt and student loans I’ll be paying until I die, the rest of my life is pretty amazing. 
So in the future, my goal with movin’ forward is to celebrate my friends and family member’s joy, and let that nasty cloud rain on someone else’s parade!
Secondly, I’ll be doing my AB challenge again to start the new year off and build a strong core/support for my body as full blown marathon training starts mid February! 
2nd Annual AB challenge!
2nd Annual AB challenge!
Who’s with me?
❤ Michelle
moving forward

Christmas injuries

So our Christmas morning started out like most. Presents, laughter and breakfast all while snuggled in our Jammies. I loved seeing my kids faces so happy with joy as they unwrapped the gifts that were neatly wrapped under the tree.


My hubby got me a Mandolin, the fancy Chefs version and I was giddy. I just had to give it a try with a freshly washed potato. It kept slipping off the safety guard so I thought, meh, I can do this.
And yeah. I’m an idiot.

I took a huge slice off of my thumb and a swift trip to the ER was in order.
Lots of tears of disappointment were shed and yeah…looks like I won’t be cooking for a while. The fact I am one finger typing this is a miracle.


My hubby saved the day as always preparing dinner and I got the best get well soon card from my daughter.


Lessons learned over the last 24 hours include:
1. I have the best family and friends. I received countless texts and facebook messages wishing me well.
2. The people who truly care for you will be there in the darkest of times. I was so upset, and in pain, but can’t even describe how thankful I am to have such amazing people in my life.
3. Christmas Day doesn’t always go as planned. But in the chaos there is a certain peace that comes with the constants we have in our lives.
4. Taking a shower and getting ready with one hand is. Hard. Thanks to my
Hubby for helping me shave my left arm pit. Lol. Yeah. He’s that amazing.

At the end of the day despite my bruised pride I am counting my blessings.


Despite being side lined from running for a few days I am truly looking forward to 2015 with new challenges and blessings.
How about you? How was your holidays?
💗 Michelle

moving forward


Nearly 42 years ago, I was born on January 17th with a weight of 2 lbs, 11 (?) ounces…My due date was in March some time (St. Patty’s day I believe?) but I decided to bless the world with my presence early.  WAY early in that day and age and upon my arrival my parents told me I was said not I wouldn’t live.  They baptized me in the hospital, as well as giving me my last rights. And then came the on going wait…

But after several weeks (it may have been months, the story sadly is not fresh in my memory) in the ICU, in an incubator, I was sent home.  I fought hard to live…to breathe…to BE.

My earliest memory is of me at around age 3, but I am told as an infant my Mother dressed me in doll clothes because preemie outfits didn’t exist back then.  My Father could place my head in his hand, and my toes wouldn’t reach the crock of his elbow.  I was TINY.

Yet my fighter instinct set in, and I was ready for a life of fighting, struggling, and movin’ forward.  Tell me I am not going to make it another day, and despite my initial want to throw in the towel I will fight back twice as hard as anyone else.

Looking back I remember so many times when I hit rock bottom (or so I thought) and I wanted to give up.  I’ve learned though…there is no ROCK BOTTOM…it’s simply a stepping stone to move forward.

I never quit.  And no matter the circumstance, I am constantly reminded by God up above that he gave me the blessing of life.  He saved me, more times than I can count and now it is up to me to save myself from the day to day life battles I encounter.  It’s up to me.  And I’m not ready to quit…in life, in training, in regards to my family and friends, in my career.  I won’t. Give. Up.

photo credit, World Prematurity Day on Facebook
photo credit, World Prematurity Day on Facebook

With World Prematurity day honored today, I am reminded of the life I’ve been given…and I won’t waste another second of this precious gift.  #keepmovinforward


❤ Michelle



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 ', 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


Three things, Thursday

I haven’t slept worth crap (is sleep really worth crap?  I digress…) this week.  I can pretty much pin point the problem, but it’s a good problem if that makes sense…

1.  I am breaking up with my love of my nightly glass (or 2 or 3) of wine.  For those that know me, you know I LOVE wine.  I love researching vineyards, checking out new wines featured in the “Wine Spectator”  magazine, and my husband and I enjoy attending wine dinners.  And so my habit formed, and I saw myself downing at least 2 large glasses in the evening, which of course let to a “good night’s sleep.”  But was it good?  Nah…I wake up feeling unrested, and sluggish.  Hung over?  Nah…I’m not THAT bad, lol.  But unrested regardless.  So this week with my goal of not only having fun training for my hubby’s first half marathon, I decided we needed to cut back on our other passion…sorry wine…you and I will still meet up, but at a lesser frequency.


tee hee
tee hee

2.  Sometimes, people will hurt our feelings.  I will leave this one a bit vague…but I will say I have a teenage daughter.  (Enough said?  lol)

Despite having a great day at work, my heart got the best of me, and I let attitudes and looks nearly ruin my day.  I went upstairs to change in to my running clothes, yet really I just wanted to sit in the bathroom and cry silent tears.  I splashed water on my face, got my gear on, and came downstairs to get ready with my husband for our 4 mile run.  Thursdays work perfectly for our run as we drop our youngest off at the Park District at dance class for an hour, which is just enough time to run and peak in and see her dance for a few minutes.  But my oldest saw my face…and knew I was upset after I finished getting ready.  “Mom, can I have a hug?”  Of course…I love my daughters dearly…#sigh


3.  My husband and I had a GREAT run.  Neither of us has been feeling very rested…between the wine, and working more hours than we can count, we decided tonight’s run we would take it easy.  We did our speed/hill work out Tuesday, so tonight we planned on settling in with him letting me dictate the pace.  My goal was to keep it under a 9:30 pace, with a desired average pace of 9:15.  We finished at a average pace of 9:18, and the best part?  Him looking at me nearly bewildered saying, “That was a GREAT run, and I felt like I could’ve kept going!”  WIN.  During our run along the Fox River we spotted several fisherman that had 6-8 fishing poles set up.  My husband remarked, “Just think, some of these guys are probably relying on those fish for dinner.”  And suddenly my piles of student loans and debt seemed very small…and I silently slapped myself in the head for always wanting more…

Oh, and my hubby has learned this lesson too during his long runs…LOL

Doh!  Embrace the chafe?  LOL
Doh! Embrace the chafe? LOL

How is your week going?  Do you use speed/hills in your training? How do you prevent chafing?  (I use good ole Vaseline)  Have you counted your blessings tonight?  There is still time…


❤ Michelle