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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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?
ūüíó Michelle

Holidays

I think I found it…

I wrote my last post, pretty down in the dumps, wishing the Christmas fairies would sprinkle their dust on me.¬† I was being a bah hum bug, and truly was getting on my own nerves.¬† But last month, after some shifting of funds, saving money, and using the hubbies travel points we were able to schedule our 3rd annual family trip to Chicago during the Christmas season.¬† The kids had no clue…they kept asking, “Aren’t we going to Chicago this year for Christmas?” to which we would just smile, and say, “Maybe not this year…”

For the last couple years we haven’t traveled past a state or two, having gone to Michigan last summer for 4 days, and Chicago a handful of times.¬† We don’t spend money on fancy hair cuts, and have cut out all luxuries to include massages, nails, cable, and eating out at “regular” restaurants for the most part.¬† I cook at home more times than not.¬† We are truly frugal, shopping consignment for clothes, and EBay for many gifts.¬† BUT…we don’t cut out good food, or nice places to stay when it comes to our family.¬† We simply believe it’s important to teach our kids to be frugal, but also appreciate the good things in life.

So to get a deal of half off at The Drake Hotel, and be able to use points was a win/win for our family.¬† Our kids have always begged to stay there, but as most know, a one night stay can cost a pretty penny.¬† Saturday night we advised the girls to get to bed early, and pack an overnight bag.¬† They were GIDDY.¬† “Where are we going?”¬† We just smiled.¬† Pulling up to the Drake was priceless, as the girls just were beside themselves with joy.¬† And THERE…was my Christmas spirit.¬† I finally found it…in my children’s laughter.¬† YAY.

So here are some pics from our 24 hour trip to the city we’ve grown to love.¬† Chicago.¬† Despite the gray, overcast, and dreary weather, I found myself coming alive this weekend.¬† And all due to my family’s joy of being there, with, me.¬† We enjoyed good food, shopping, and some much needed down time.¬† Oh…and we walked 5.1 miles just on Sunday!¬† Win again!

Beef shank for dinner at Quarntino!
Beef shank for dinner at Quarntino!
Say Cheese!  At Eataly!
Say Cheese! At Eataly!
The city looked AMAZING this weekend.
The city looked AMAZING this weekend.
My people.  The mirror to my soul.
My people. The mirror to my soul.
Fondue from Quarntino  YUM even though I don't do cheese often.
Fondue from Quarntino YUM even though I don’t do cheese often.
Yes, this is Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio's initials carved in on their wedding night.  SO COOL
Yes, this is Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio’s initials carved in on their wedding night. SO COOL
Roasted Octopus from Quarntino.  More winning.
Roasted Octopus from Quarntino. More winning.
Our tradition to buy an ornament each year in Chicago left us with THIS. Love.
Our tradition to buy an ornament each year in Chicago left us with THIS. Love.
yes, I got the 15 year old to sit on Santa's lap...More winning.
yes, I got the 15 year old to sit on Santa’s lap…More winning.
Sisters...my heart!
Sisters…my heart!
And here is where I found my spirit...in these two little people's eyes...joy.
And here is where I found my spirit…in these two little people’s eyes…joy.
Eggs benedict from Bar Toma.  DELISH.
Eggs benedict from Bar Toma. DELISH.
True love...TRUE love.
True love…TRUE love.
Zappoli's from Quartinos...have you been there?  You MUST GO!
Zappoli’s from Quartinos…have you been there? You MUST GO!

Sooooo…at the end of the day, besides being tired, I find myself full of Christmas spirit finally.¬† We were able to spoil our kids at the mall due to being TRULY frugal all year, and seeing their faces made my heart melt.

And yes…there was mad jumping on the huge bed in our hotel room, just to add to the fun.¬† My kids were LAUGHING and my heart sang.

There it is… my Christmas spirit.¬† I am so glad I found it. Family…food…feel good stuffs.¬† YAY.

Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays everyone!

‚̧ Michelle

Friday

Searching for my Christmas spirit this year…

Thursday I received a text from my sister.¬† I yet again, for the second year in a row, ordered the WRONG gift for my youngest nephew…and I also shipped said gift TO my sister, not my home.¬† The news nearly sent me over the edge, and between that moment and the lack of sunshine for the last MONTH it seems, I found myself in tears.¬† I was ready for this season to be OVER.

This…isn’t me.¬† I LOVE Christmas, the magic the season provides, the thrill of lights, glitter, and lovingly wrapped gifts usually gives me SUCH joy. But this year is different.¬† I am stressed, tired, and over the entire season hearing my kids ask for expensive gifts our budget just can’t provide.¬† It HURTS not being able to spoil my kids during this season…but I got them what I could, and have their presents wrapped neatly under the tree.

So as I left work Thursday, in a ball of stress and tears combined, I found myself turning in to the parking lot of Hobby Lobby to pick up treats for my coworkers and staff.¬† I picked out cute candy boxes with more than enough candy to fill said boxes, and cards and candy canes for my peers.¬† I needed to turn this funk around, ASAP.¬† I picked up my youngest daughter from daycare, explaining to her my plan, and she beamed.¬† “Mommy, can I help you assemble the boxes?” she asked…”Of course,” I replied.

So after dinner, showers, and homework we set up shop on the kitchen table. I expressed my lack of spirit, to which this beautiful soul exclaimed, “Mommy, you always say I am the happiest girl in the world, so let me share my Christmas spirit with you.”¬† I wiped away a couple tears, and we filled 30 boxes of candy with love, and spirit. I hand wrote on each box, and filled out cards taping a candy cane on each one.¬† I also made cookies for my amazing team of techs, PA’s, and Pathologists.¬† For I have to say, I work with the most amazing team of people, well, ever.¬† My pay may stink, but these people are rock stars.

who doesn't love sugar cookies!?
who doesn’t love sugar cookies!?

Today I delivered my gifts, wishing each person¬†a Merry Christmas, and ordered pizza for them all for lunch. And with each smile, I felt my daughter’s words resonating in my heart.¬† I took the spirit she gave ME, and passed¬†it forward.

Not much, but given with love!
Not much, but given with love!

At the end of the day, I received the most amazing gift and card from a woman I have come to love and cherish.¬† She saw something in me years ago, that I didn’t see in myself, and helped me find my confidence again.

Best. Gift. Ever.
Best. Gift. Ever.

My eldest daughter could feel the stress too…but came down stairs tonight to ask me to braid her hair. She is 15, and normally wants nothing to do with me.¬† But as I brushed her hair for the first time in years, I found myself choking back the tears.¬† I took my time, for I truly didn’t want the moment to end.¬† Ever so neatly I braided her hair, and she hugged me a little harder tonight.

I ended the night, watching a movie with my husband.¬† We watched “Haute Cuisine” on Netflix which was such a great flic.¬† It was about a cook who was hand picked to cook for the President of France.¬† GREAT movie.

So as always, at the end of the day I am found counting my blessings, not my misfortunes.¬† All thanks to the amazing people I have been blessed to call “my circle.”

‚̧ Michelle

Military, running

Weekend wrap up

Gosh, where do I start.  Some weekends can be just plain crappy (insert working the entire weekend last weekend here), and some weekends can be amazing filled with friends, family, food, and fitness!

The later was my weekend, THIS weekend.

We started out the weekend after me having to work several hours of overtime (something I try to AVOID at all costs, as I my family comes first) feeling a bit tired, but accomplished. With our unseasonably warm temps here in Chicagoland we made plans to have a fire and drink wine with our awesome neighbors/friends on Friday.  It. Was. GREAT.  We brought over a special bottle of Prosecco that we bought the last time we were in Chicago at Eataly, and enjoyed hours of laughter, conversation, and wine.  WIN.  What a way to start the weekend.

This would have never happened in Chicago last year!
This would have never happened in Chicago last year!

Saturday the majority of the day was spent last minute shopping for make-up and essentials as I was attending my first Army Dining out with my hubby.¬† After weeks of preparation buying the perfect dress to match his unit, to finding the perfect shoes, we were all dolled up and ready.¬† And yes…I felt like a princess.¬† For those that know me well, I NEVER feel pretty these days…but Saturday night, I felt my confidence returning…even if for just a moment.

briandiningout briandiningout1

After an evening of an amazing military traditional event, laughter, conversation and dinner we came home to enjoy a couple of glasses of wine.¬† This may have been the demise of my 5K today, but I could care less.¬† We had SOOOOO much fun.¬† And for once, in many years, I felt at home being surrounded by people in uniform even though I wasn’t wearing one myself.¬† Yet I found myself standing at attention in all the right moments, even while wearing this amazing gold gown.¬† ūüôā¬† #veteranproblems

Today was the day¬†we were to run a much anticipated 5K that my friend Karen from Trading In my Heels has organized and planned for the last two years.¬† It’s an untimed race with no actual bells or whistles, but the proceeds were going to suicide prevention and awareness which is a cause near and dear to my heart having battled with depression as well as losing several friends and family members to suicide.

As most of you know, I don’t like the cold.¬† I don’t sign up for races in the winter…but this one I NEEDED to do.¬† I got to see several of my running friends, AND I got to meet Wendy from Taking the long way home, which was amazing.¬† She is one of the nicest people I know, and such an inspiration to me and my life.¬† After several hugs, and easy conversation we headed to the starting line.

Me and my person
Me and my person
Wendy, Penny, Michelle and me!
Wendy, Penny, Michelle and me!
Misty, Theresa, and Cindy!
Misty, Theresa, and Cindy!

The race started promptly at noon, and I knew this would NOT be my best “race.”¬† I haven’t been running hardly at all…I haven’t wanted to between the cold, dark, and dreary weather.¬† So I took it slow, and allowed myself a couple of walk breaks.¬† Who’d a thunk you could lose your endurance so quickly? #runnerproblems

But we finished in 31:34, headed into Pal Joey’s who was hosting the race, and I was welcomed with open arms AND a Bloody Mary.¬† Score.¬† We ate some amazing pizza and had great conversations with Melissa and Jim, more of our running friends.

Nothing better than a Bloody Mary after a fun race!
Nothing better than a Bloody Mary after a fun race!

I couldn’t find my groove during this run, but that’s ok…I enjoyed the hundreds of runners, running for the same cause, dressed up in festive gear, and JUST having fun.¬† There was no “winner” no “age group award” just 3.1 miles of fun.

I ended the day with our traditional Sunday Supper, and baking with my youngest.¬† Win!¬† We had an Asian inspired dish of teriyaki, ginger, honey and garlic glazed salmon over bok choy and quinoa.¬† Delish.¬†¬† I also attempted a pumpkin cheesecake…not so sure about that one…lol.¬†#notabaker

My sous Chef helping me make cheesecake
My sous Chef helping me make cheesecake

sundaysupper12-14

Wrapping it up, it was the best weekend I’ve had this month.¬† Here’s to more weekends like this one!

Do you do “fun runs” for charity?¬† What’s your favorite thing to do on the weekend?

‚̧ Michelle

 

dedication, food, goals

Surgery and smiles, and some shrimp too…My nearly Wordless Wednesday post

I finished this hump day with a quick dready run.¬† I didn’t want to run (bite my tongue, I know) but needed to keep moving…

11-5running

During the work week meals are usually prepared within less than an hour.¬† This shrimp dish, prepared with a marinara sauce bought from my favorite local Italian market¬†to which I added –¬†saut√©ed garlic, onions, carrots, mushrooms, and celery along with added oregano, parsley, basil and crushed red pepper flakes was a WIN.¬† I served it over rice pasta, and it truly was a hit.¬† I love how the simplest yet healthy meals can make my family happy.¬† Who needs take out?

11-5shrimp

My daughter came to me last week in tears.¬† Her BFF had an injury…”Mommy, can you fix him?” She asked with tears in her eyes.¬† Sigh…I am not crafty AT ALL.¬† But I went to Hobby Lobby on my day off and purchased stuffing and a sewing kit.¬† “Yes, baby…Mommy can fix him.” Sigh…please, Lord.¬† Let this work…

THIS face...
THIS face…

So after dinner, we got our instruments ready, and our “transplant material” aka stuffing, laid out.¬† It was time for surgery.

The entry wound was located…and after finding an additional wound I knew we had to be careful…so every so slowly we stuffed, packed, and made sure each piece of stuffing we transplanting was in the correct place.

entry wound number one...
entry wound number one…
let the transplants begin!
let the transplants begin!

And after spending 15 minutes trying to thread the needle…we had great success.¬† It was time to start closing the wound.

Don't worry, no one was hurt!
Don’t worry, no one was hurt!

After 30 minutes of preparation and dedication, Pink Bear was himself again.¬† And my youngest daughter found her smile…

Mommy!  He's good as new!
Mommy! He’s good as new!

I can now rightfully say my resume has broadened…adding in the fact that I am now a Mom, a wife, a friend, a photographer, a Chef, a housekeeper, a maid, a lab supervisor, a runner, a mover, a shaker, and yes…a surgeon.¬† To stuffed animals only, LOL.

Today I left the stressors of life behind me…and I nurtured the needs of my kids.¬†Today, my youngest needed me.¬† And who doesn’t feel good being needed?

At the end of the day, I made time for me, my family, and with that my heart is full.¬† My decluttering for the day included not feeding into negativity although it was tough…

What have you done lately to ‘step outside of your box?’¬† Do you believe in decluttering both mentally and physically?

Day 5 and I am still on track for my November goals.  YAY!  How are you doing?

‚̧ Michelle

 

food

Tuesday truths-part 2…Family and Food

Two of my all time favorite things are my family, and food.¬† If you have been around my blog for a while, you have read of my trials and tribulations, but more so the glue that held my life together this last decade or so…

My family.¬† No matter how near or far we are physically, we always come back to one another welcoming each other with open arms.¬† Here are some good shots from my eldest nephew Jack’s Confirmation this past weekend.

Jack receiving his Holy Confirmation
Jack receiving his Holy Confirmation
Jordyn and Jenna
Jordyn and Jenna
Sophia and Julia
Sophia and Julia
James and Sophia
James and Sophia

A couple weeks ago, we were blessed to have our pictures taken by Missy Donovan Photography based out of Geneva, IL.¬† WOW…I can’t stand my picture getting taken, but the sneak peaks today were amazing.¬† Here’s one of my favorites, so far…

Yup...these people.  Crazy, goofy, silly, serious, driven, moody, and best of all-TOGETHER
Yup…these people. Crazy, goofy, silly, serious, driven, moody, and best of all-TOGETHER

I’ve been slacking with my cooking since my MasterChef audition, so decided to keep our dinner¬†tonight simple.¬†¬† In 20 minutes I prepared jasmine rice according to package instructions, adding salt, pepper and thyme.

Too easy!
Too easy!

While the rice was cooking, I sautéed garlic, shallots, and Portobello mushrooms in a wide pan.  I added a teaspoon of pomegranate infused vinegar, and 2 tablespoons of veggie stock and let reduce down.  After ten minutes, I added chopped asparagus and cooked for 5 minutes until still slightly crunchy.  Lastly, I added the shrimp that I marinated in the pomegranate vinegar, olive oil, and salt and pepper.  The shrimp was precooked, so I simply had to heat through.

Serve the shrimp and veggies over the rice, and you’ve got a healthy meal in less than 20 minutes.

Shrimp over jasmine rice
Shrimp over jasmine rice

Do you have any go-to recipes  you use during the week?  What size family do you have?

 

‚̧ Michelle

dedication

Two things, Tuesday…

Tonight marks the eve of school starting in the Chicagoland area.  My oldest starts her journey in HIGH SCHOOL tomorrow, and my youngest starts her 3rd grade year in elementary school.

Firstly…

My nostalgia is at an all time high, so I spent the evening helping the girls clean their rooms, pack their bags, and pick out their first day of school outfits since my work hours don’t allow me to see them for more than a few minutes in the morning.¬† I choked back the tears after just hugging my eldest “J” wishing her a good day at school tomorrow.¬†“Don’t cry, Mom” she said…”I’m not crying” I responded despite choking back the tears.¬† ¬†THIS girl, who has given me more grief than I care to admit, holds a special place in my heart for it was just her and I for nearly 4 years.¬† I divorced shortly after she was born, and from then on out it was me and her.¬† Her.¬† And me.¬† And we make a pretty darn good pair despite butting heads more days than not.

My youngest is my spit fire…my little zest for life who could care less about schedule or time.¬† Her passion for life makes my heart sing, and my head hurt as I struggle with teachers to get her to focus vs. daydream and want to create.¬† I don’t want to squelch her zest, but reeling it in the last few years has caused me more stress than I care to admit.¬† How does one balance this passion?¬† I know, with time…she’ll get it.¬† But in the mean time, her passion and smile keep me singing…both on the trails and in my home. Look at these smiles…life. is.¬† good.

girls

Secondly…

I have reclaimed my love for running with a partner.¬† And this just isn’t any ole partner.¬† It’s my husband.

I came home from work today tired.¬† Last night we were hit with crazy thunderstorms and I slept all of maybe 3 hours.¬† I wanted to crawl into a tiny little ball on my recliner and nap.¬† Yet as I walked into the door after work, there was my husband ready in his running clothes and welcoming me with a smile and a kiss.¬† I ensured the kids and dog were fed, and changed my clothes for our 5k run that was on our training schedule.¬† It was hot. Nearly 90 degrees hot.¬† But we ran.¬† I had a hard time the first mile, but settled in quickly at a 9:30ish pace.¬† Not where near where our race pace needs to be, but less than our long run pace lately.¬† And I found myself running, singing, dancing to my own beat…settling in on a cadence only I know…we stopped a couple times to drink, complained about the humidity, and continued on.¬† And despite the humidity, we smiled…high fived.¬† And moved forward. In just four weeks we¬†will be crossing the finish line for my husband’s first half marathon.¬† And I am in awe already of his dedication for training.

hubby

So my two things Tuesday encompass family and friends.¬† You know…the ones that are always there despite all time lows or all time highs.¬† And, a little bit of this…

friends

Sweet dreams, Movers.¬† Remember to hang on to those constants.¬† They won’t let you down.

‚̧ Michelle

 

 

dedication, goals, moving forward, running

Monday truths and week wrap up

I caveat this post with a disclaimer.¬† This post (and all my posts) are simply a journaling of my thoughts, experiences, hopes, dreams, struggles as lived and breathed by yours truly.¬† They in no way are directed to anyone, nor are my opinions directed toward anyone other than…ME.¬† I share these said experiences as it helps me, by hopefully inspiring, helping, or provoking thought by others.

Moving on…

Ack, I haven’t blogged in a week.¬† Mind you, it’s always been in the back of my mind to take the time to sit down and write…but the time just escaped me last week.¬† My girls go back to school on Wednesday with my eldest entering high school and my youngest starting 3rd grade.¬† It’s been a scramble to get school supplies, shoes, registration, dentist appointments, physicals and lastly gym shoes with ‘free time’ being sparse.¬† But…we got it done…and Wednesday my first born will be walking the halls of high school where life will bring her challenges, heart aches, and success stories all wrapped up in four crazy years.¬† Lord help me have patience and strength to help her…My youngest starts 3rd grade (and pray her cold subsides, please!)…and I pray she finds her groove this year.¬† Prayers all around!

My hubby and I got in two amazing 4 milers this week, and I have now been using Myfitnesspal app for a week and am down 2.6 lbs.  YAHOO.

posted previously, but so proud...
posted previously, but so proud…
second 4 miler.  bam!
second 4 miler. bam!

Friday was our date night…it’s been a while, so we planned an amazing tapas style dinner at a local Italian place.¬† It was.¬† AMAZING.

Lemon cello cheers!
Lemon cello cheers!

We went to see the movie, “The hundred foot journey” and we both really enjoyed it.¬† Although I wasn’t pulled in emotionally by the acting, the story itself was profound.¬† It highlighted the fact that if you truly have a passion for something, you can achieve your goals!¬† A home cook turned Michelin (sp?) star Chef what???¬† Yup…GREAT motivator to not give up on my dreams.

Saturday we ran errands and finally after three years of living in our home bought curtains for our bedroom.  Baby steps, right?

The beautiful comforter is a handmedown from my parents...Love!
The beautiful comforter is a handmedown from my parents…Love!

Saturday night was carbloading for our 10 mile run.¬† I haven’t ran double digits since my half marathon in May, and this was my husband’s FIRST double digit run.

Rice pasta with meat sauce...win!
Rice pasta with meat sauce…win!

We got up before the sun on Sunday, and headed out to Geneva running outfitters for our 10 miler.¬† I was pacing the ten minute mile pace group.¬† And my Garmin died.¬† Just like that.¬† GAH….but thankfully one of my runners said he would pace us, if I would direct us…and we finished strong.¬† What an amazing group.

Pic taken from my friend Cindy..ack, do I really hunch over like that?  (I am in the orange)
Pic taken from my friend Cindy..ack, do I really hunch over like that? (I am in the orange)
And I got to meet one of my Movers, Sarah!  Awesome day!
And I got to meet one of my Movers, Sarah! Awesome day!

We got home early, pigged out, and tackled house cleaning.¬† I spent the afternoon on the couch watching “Divergent.”¬† GREAT movie.

I asked my hubby why he decided to run a half marathon while we shared a celebratory glass of wine…”To do something with you, of course.”¬† My heart sang.¬† After 11 years together, and 10 years (nearly) of marriage this man never stops taking my breath away.

This week marks my monthly 6 day work week…and tonight, after work I rushed home to shower, change, and head out to the marathon committee meeting and I still find myself learning so much that comes to planning a race.¬† Please, take a moment to thank your local race committee and directors.¬† It’s a job that doesn’t pay monetarily but makes you feel so darn good.

Gosh we look so serious.  lol
Gosh we look so serious. lol

At the end of the day, I find myself counting my blessings this past week.  My  family #truths:

We don’t have a lot of ‘disposable’ money.¬† We get our hair cut at Cost Cutters.¬† We shop consignment, 95% of the time.¬† We don’t take lavish vacations or have fancy cars or home(s).¬† But we do treat ourselves once every couple months to a nice dinner or a cool running outfit (for example).¬† We celebrate our laughter, and embrace our tough times…together.¬† We may get frustrated with each other…but we always work together.¬† We don’t compromise who we are…instead,¬†we figure out how we can meld together as a cohesive unit.¬† It’s not easy…

But we do it.

Together.

 

Have you ever volunteered for a race?

Does your family support your dreams?

 

‚̧ Michelle

 

dedication

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…
Cake!
Cake!
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