Holidays, marathon training, moving forward

Merry Christmas!!!!

I hope you are all having an amazing holiday season!!! I am thankful to report I got a new Microsoft Surface Pro laptop for Christmas so I will be blogging more regularly!!!

I wanted to share a few pictures of our holiday weekend before I get back to cooking Christmas dinner!!




It’s been so nice having my 19 year old daughter home for the week. I will be so sad when she leaves on Friday.

In running news, while I have missed a few short runs, I am happy to report that my hubby and I finished our long run of 5 miles yesterday and I felt fairly good. I struggled with breathing for some reason, so we walked through my side cramps. My new knee braces seem to be helping.




Dinner is a standing rib roast that I seared off in the cast iron pan with butter, garlic and herbs. It’s slow roasting in the oven as we speak.

How did you celebrate the holidays? What’s your favorite holiday meal? Anyone else get some miles in?

Happy Holidays!! Cheers!



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, Uncategorized

Thinking Thursday

Since the news of my husband’s deployment I’ve gotten so many wonderful emails, cards, and even gifts sent to me by loved ones.
A daily devotional from one of my FB friends ❤
Out pouring of prayers, texts and phone calls have been welcomed with open arms on most days.  Because in all honesty even though I do get a daily text of “Love you” usually from my hubby, I have only gotten to talk to him a couple times as in “real conversation” talk in the last few weeks, and that makes my evenings very hard.  To say I am just hanging on by a thread or two pretty much sums it up.
Work stress is at an all time high, and of course parenting 2 girls one of which is a teen means my plate is over flowing.
Some days, I am ok.  Others…well, not so much.
Last night we had some window repair guys come to the door.  I begrudgingly opened the door to have them come in and give their shpeal about how my windows were old (duh, the house is 30 years old) and needed repair.  Would my husband be home later so we could discuss?  No, D-bag…My husband is deployed and I am the head of the household from here on out for the next year.  OOOOOOH.  Thank him for his service they said as they looked at my Grandpa’s shadow box on the mantle.
My Dad built this shadow box for my Grandpa, and it was given to me after my Grandfather’s passing.
How many tours has your husband done?   Two I said. I smiled and said thank you, and told them that I too, was retired military.  How many tours?  I didn’t go overseas…No comment from either gentleman.
Just a few of my accolades from over the years
They went on about the windows, and I could feel the fire burning in the back of my throat.  So often my service is disregarded, even by myself-but I’m allowed ha- because I didn’t “fight any wars.”  Not that they saw at least.  And that will always make me sad, because I joined the military in my junior year of high school on the delayed enlistment program TO GO TO WAR and fight for my country.  Yet here I am, almost 25 years later still working in a hospital job that was chosen for me by the military.
Miffed, I shook the man’s hands and bid them good night.
Several minutes later, my youngest tugged on my shirt as I cooked dinner to show me the card she and her daycare buddies made for my husband. As I pulled it out of the envelope and opened up the card I choked back sobs in seeing dozens and dozens of children’s signatures wishing my husband the  best on his deployment.
And at that moment I realized that serving my country also meant sucking up all my stupid pride and serving proudly as an Army wife.
I may have not had the career I fought hard to attain, but God puts us where we are meant to be.  I have to have faith that this is where I am needed, at least for now. Every ounce of support I’ve received is just another thread in the rope I’ll be hanging on to this next year.  Thank you!!
Deployment thoughts

Reasons to smile

Last week was difficult to get through, to say the least.  I think the week compounded by some crazy work drama that I was NOT expecting.  You know the old saying, “When it rains, it pours!” right?  Well, someone forgot her umbrella last week so I was drenched by the end of the week.

photo cred:
photo cred:

I was completely over myself, so Friday night we had “family movie night” and watched “Raiders of the Lost Arc.”  I then proceeded to have an extra couple glasses of wine, LOL, which led to an uninterrupted night’s sleep.  Something I haven’t had in weeks.  I woke up with a purpose, and that was to SMILE as much as possible over the weekend.

Here are my reasons to smile over the weekend, via photos.

lunch with my daughters
lunch with my daughters
We found a new dress for our Chicago staycation weekend next month. We’re going to see “The Lion King” and S wanted a new dress! 12 bucks at Once Upon a Child! Score!
Because wearing deodorant for the first time warrants a pic, at least according to her, LOL!!
Because wearing deodorant for the first time warrants a pic, at least according to her, LOL!!
Back at it with my planking after a few days off.
Back at it with my planking after a few days off.

And this:

My heart is full, indeed.
My heart is full, indeed.
My new wrap bracelet, and daily reminder.
My new wrap bracelet, and daily reminder.

Thanks to my friend Teri for getting me up and out the door on Sunday morning.  We ran at a nice easy pace and both got a lot off our chest.  Having felt pretty alone the last few weeks this is JUST what I needed.  6 miles later, and we were both smiling.

How was your weekend?  What do you do to make yourself smile during tough times?

Have a great week, y’all!


moving forward

Weekend musings

I’ve had a bit of a trying week, one could say…after last weekend’s half marathon, my left lower butt cheek was really hurting (?? WTH), and my right knee-well, was being it’s normal cranky self.  So I didn’t run last week.  Not one mile.  And I am 100% ok with that fact.  And THAT.  Well that speaks volumes of how far I have come as a runner, and grounded person.  The old me would be going nuts by now…

Sometimes we become ungrounded though, and we need a bit of a wake up call in life in order to regroup.  I will keep the majority of the details of this wake up call private to protect those involved, but I can speak in regards to what happened to ME.  Because this is my blog and I can vent if I want to…


Just a few days ago I said some pretty horrible things in response to something that was said to me. #twowrongssodontmakearight  And in doing so, I realized that over the last 9 months or so I have turned in to a pretty selfish person.  I’d forgotten many of the things I had to relearn these last 4 1/2 years after retiring from the military and I got so self absorbed in finding/being ME that I forgot too, to be selfLESS.  Because that has always been a part of who I am as well.

I got a swift kick of reality this week.  But after lots of tears, and countless prayers I was given a second chance.  A second chance to rebuild and rekindle what was once a very solid relationship.  Cue more tears now…

I was also reminded of the many wonderful relationships I have in my life as I struggled with my ‘trying’ week.  So while I may not have ran a single mile this week, I feel like I’ve crossed a new starting line…and with that, I’ll keep movin’ forward.


Lessons learned: You can never take back words.  Ever.  Use them wisely and carefully.  Be KIND to everyone, but especially those you love.  Never let things fester inside you…COMMUNICATION IS THE KEY.  Festering is bad…very very bad.  And lastly…put forth effort into these crazy things called relationships.  Be it friend, family, spouse or coworker ALL these relationships weave a very intricate web in your life.  Nurture that web!!!!

Me and my friend Andrea, meeting up with Janel (center) to make sure she had her DO EPIC SHIT bracelet because she's running her first 50 miler today!  #friends
Me and my friend Andrea, meeting up with Janel (center) to make sure she had her DO EPIC SHIT bracelet because she’s running her first 50 miler today! #friends

Have you ever had a real life wake up call in regards to a relationship in your life?  How do you deal with not being able to run due to real life crazies?

Hope y’all are having a great weekend!!!



Wordless Wednesday-vacation in pictures!

Sorry I’ve been a bit absent. Between “life stuffs” and vacation, I’ve been focusing my efforts on my constants in life…family and friends. So here’s my vacation recapped in pics. I’ll tell the tale, soon.


I’ll add some descriptions, soon. But these pics truly captured much of the magic and happiness we felt on this trip. Thanks for the support!

❤ Michelle

marathon training, Recipes

Refocusing and a recipe

So wow…I haven’t blogged in a week.  My goal of 2-3 times of posting per week was shot last week.  And I’m totally ok with that.


Well, because I’ve realized I’ve spent far too much time engulfed in the virtual world that I lost site of what matters most.  What’s that?  Why family of course.  MY family.  ❤

So with that, I’ve spent more time reaching out, hanging out, and hugging my kids just a little tighter.  Most nights we are wrapped up in blankets on the couch watching previous episodes of “Once upon a time” on Netflix…TOGETHER.  And it wasn’t always this way.  Before my daughter’s accident, more times than not we would all go our separate ways after dinner.  But now, we nearly rush to spend our evenings together most nights.

My training is also back on track, and I managed to log 26 miles last week, which is a distance PB for 2015.  I had my 15 miler on Saturday, and it mentally jarred me, briefly…I had forgotten how hard a long run can be, especially when your only distraction is YOU.  No one to talk the miles away with, just you, and the road.  My first few miles truly SUCKED.  No pretty way around it, but I kept going.  I’d stop to stretch every few miles, and at miles 6 and 11 I fueled with my Chia HUMA gels. Just when I wanted to quit, I looked back on my first marathon and how hard it was and how badly I wanted to quit.  But I had my awesome sister with me, cheering me on every step and I could hear her voice in my head as I plugged along the middle of my run.  Mile 11 I started to really fade as I had run out of Nuun and the temps were getting REALLY warm for how I was dressed.  (It was 38 degrees when I started and finished up at a balmy 61 degrees). Then Andrea, Carolyn and my hubby shot me texts and suddenly the spring came back to my step and I took off.  15 miles?  DONE.  And with the help of 7 cardinals, 2 blue birds, and countless squirrels and chipmunks that cheered me on for 2 1/2 hours, LOL!

Mentally one of my toughest runs this year.
Mentally one of my toughest runs this year.

We booked our family vacation for the summer today, and I am SOOOOO excited.  We are headed to Marco Island, Florida for 5 glorious days.  We haven’t had a real vacation (we like our Chicago/Michigan staycations, though!) in 3 years, so this is long overdue.

So today I spent the afternoon meal prepping and making healthy snacks. (Gotta get beach body ready! lol) I made Kale chips (not sure how I feel about them, yet lol) and spicy chickpeas to keep handy.  Here’s the chickpea recipe:

Spicy Chickpeas

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Rinse and dry two large cans of chickpeas

Place the chickpeas in a large bowl, and add the following seasonings:

1 teaspoon Tumeric

1 teaspoon Garlic powder

1 teaspoon Cumin

1 teaspoon smoked Paprika

Kosher salt

Toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and place on a cookie sheet.  Bake at 400 degrees for 1 hour and 20 minutes, tossing every 20 minutes.  YUM!


How was your week?  Do you take regular vacations? What’s your favorite healthy snack?  Have a great week, 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

goals, Uncategorized

Weekend wrap up and goals…

With not having much of a break last week, well, no break at all in fact-I realized I’ve been slacking on the blog the last few days. Ack…my bad!

Having had worked New Year’s day, I decided to make the very most of this weekend with my family.  I work next weekend, so we decided to do all the fun family stuffs.  Friday I came home from work to a wonderfully cooked meal of BBQ chicken and veggies by my hubby, as well as to find all of the Christmas decorations had been taken down and put away.  Score.  I was ready to move past the holidays.  Friday night we relaxed and watched the movie, “Big Night” starring Stanley Tucci and Tony Shalhoub.  It is an older film, from 1996, but the story was based on the relationship of two brothers who had moved to the United States from Italy to open their own restaurant.  At first, you think the movie is going to be about food but in reality it’s about their passion FOR Italian food, and the relationship the two brothers share.  Great flick, and I highly recommend it to any food enthusiast, or movie lover alike.

Rated 5 stars on Rotten Tomatoes!
Rated 5 stars on Rotten Tomatoes!

Saturday we decided to take the family to see MockingJay part 1 at the theater (GREAT movie), and have dinner at a place we haven’t tried yet that is located in Geneva, IL.  Local readers, I HIGHLY recommend The Patton house, which is on 2nd street in downtown Geneva.  We had bacon wrapped figs to start, and my entrée was a spicy salmon fillet over a sweet potato puree with a maple demi glaze.  To. Die. For.

1-4pattonhouse 1-4pattonhousefig

Today was my day to go shopping at my favorite consignment shop, Clothes Mentor, with the gift cards I received for Christmas.  This store makes me happy.  What can I say…I showed up with a small bag of clothes (they buy back too!) for which I received 15 dollars, as well as had a 5 dollar coupon.  At the end of my spree, I bought a cute purse, Franco Sarto shoes, and several sweaters, shirts, 2 pairs of pants and a sweater dress all for $225.00.  18 items, at an average of $12.50 cents each, and keep in mind these are all high end brand names…Ann Taylor, BCBG max, White house Black market, Nike (yes, I had to get workout clothes too!) and Banana Republic just to name a few…yup…this girl came out HAPPY as a clam.  I used to love fashion, but found that over the last several years I forgot to pamper myself too…so although I can’t afford these clothes brand new, I sure can bargain shop!


I still can’t run as my thumb is still on the mend, but am praying one more week and I’ll be cleared to run.  Starting now, since my marathon training starts in about 6 weeks I will be eating A LOT healthier, and cutting back on my wine intake…scary, I know…but it’s needed.  I am going back to my high protein diet, as it truly made me feel healthier and stronger.  I’ve fallen off the wagon and have been eating far too much rice/rice pasta.  I’ll still have these yummy things once or twice a week…just not daily.  I was however able to cook Sunday supper tonight, which tasted great, but didn’t look very pretty…my meal prep looks much nicer…LOL!

My friend posted this on my time line today…LOL

My friends know my weakness all too well!
My friends know my weakness all too well!
Salad!  yum!
Salad! yum!
Prime Rib with my red pepper and carrot puree!  Plating is sloppy, but hey I only have 9 fingers.  LOL
Prime Rib with my red pepper and carrot puree! Plating is sloppy, but hey I only have 9 fingers. LOL
Meal prep for tomorrow's breakfast and lunch
Meal prep for tomorrow’s breakfast and lunch


With no true resolutions this year, I can say I have lofty goals of branching out, somehow…in my career, and in my life.  What that means?  I’m not 100% sure yet…

What are your goals for the year?? Do you make resolutions? Do you shop consignment?

Have a great week, gang!

❤ Michelle


Holidays, Uncategorized

Goodbye 2014

I read back to my goals for the year, as I am not one to make resolutions.  The beginning of 2014 was pretty tough on me…I found out I was losing my job, and we were buried deep in sub zero temperatures for MONTHS it seemed.  #Chiberia and I officially were NOT friends, and my miles and mood disintegrated at a very rapid rate.

BUT…spring came along, and I found a new job that I currently still am working at.  YAY.  I also PR’d my half marathon by a minute, at 2:01, trained for and ran my hubby’s first half marathon with him, as well as prepared for months for my Master Chef audition in Chicago.

Over all, it was a pretty good year.  My mileage isn’t where I had hoped, but I did lose 5 of the 10 lbs I set out to lose so I am pleased with that fact.  I also remained consistent with my blog, which was another big goal of mine.

Next year brings on new adventures of training for my 3rd full marathon, the Grandma’s Marathon that I will be running with my sister.  I swore I’d never run another full…but yeah.  We all know how that goes, right?

This past year I have been documenting my favorite recipes, and REALLY want my e-cook book to come to fruition this year…#fingerscrossed

For next year, I have a few personal goals that I want to keep up with that I’ll keep to myself for now, as well as over all I just want to keep movin’ forward.  I lived in the past for too many years.  I hope to continue to see my sister more often, as well as have ALL. THE. FUN. running another marathon with her on June 20th, 2015.

Lastly, I’ll share a couple of my favorite photos from last year!

Last year winter running buddy
Last year winter running buddy
Naperville Half, Nov'14
Naperville Half, Nov’14
MasterChef audition, meeting Kira!
MasterChef audition, meeting Kira!
Fox Valley Marathon sisters
Fox Valley Marathon sisters
Hubby's first half <3
Hubby’s first half ❤


Cheers, and Happy New Year to you all!!


❤ Michelle