moving forward, Thankful

Saturday unexpected fun and Thankful #9

We had no plans this weekend which is sometimes fun. I have been battling bronchitis and now allergies for nearly a month and rest was something I welcomed. I woke up this morning with a cold pill hangover but was told my daughter had made plans to go to the mall with her friend. My husband told me they weren’t leaving for an hour so I quickly made some tea, showered and got ready. I wasn’t going to miss out on some fun. We picked up her friend, and headed to the mall. Once the kids went on their way, we grabbed some lunch and did a little shopping. What a fun day! We also had plans for my friend Kandice that I was stationed with back in Texas to come over for dinner, so we stopped by the store on the way home for some last minute dinner items.

Today I am thankful for:

  1. The fact my daughter is finally making friends here. Middle school age is hard.
  2. Last minute date lunches with my hubby. We don’t get much time just for us, so today was nice.
  3. 65% sales at Dillards. I got two super cute Free People dresses for 65% off. Winning.
  4. Dinner with friends. For the first time since we’ve moved here, we had a friend over for dinner. Steaks, sautéed mushrooms, caramelized onions, bacon wrapped  asparagus and my cauliflower mash were a big hit.
  5. Positive outlooks. While this year may have started out rough, I am hopeful for better days.

Do you make time for date time for your significant other? What’s your favorite dish to cook for others? Are you an “on sale” shopper?


moving forward

Crazy it’s been a week and a half since I arrived in Florida.

It's been a crazy week and a half. Getting acclimated. Fining a house. Starting a new job. It's been hard and exciting and crazy all in one. But I can honestly say having a friend here has made such a difference. Today Kandice took me site seeing to Ybor city, MacDill AFB and we even explored the new area I'll be living. We of course had to visit my new house, too. Look at the gorgeous hibiscus. We ended the day eating dinner near where I'm staying at the Rooster and the Till and it was amazing. With the crazy storms coming it looks like we won't hit the beach this weekend but we made the most of this crazy weather.
My take away from the week is my new job will be challenging but amazing and that I love living in Florida. Lastly I'm in awe of life long friendships. Feeling so blessed.
Here are some pics from the week.

How was your day? Have your explored any new areas where you live lately?

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 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. 



Celebrate the good, Deployment thoughts

The final countdown 

Gosh can you believe we’re in the final countdown of this deployment??  I mean…We’re counting DAYS people!!  Ok, we’ve still got weeks in there but I can finally see the end. 

I also finally got what I think are the right shoes. Ladies and gentlemen meet my new Nike Pegasus shoes!  Aren’t they pretty!?  Haven’t had a chance to test them out yet but soon!!

My birthday is Tuesday and when my daughter and I got home from our fun day of shopping and going out to eat, THIS was on our front door step. 

Yup. That’s my hubby’s trunk from overseas!!!  Wooohoooooo!!

Also, it wouldn’t be a good post without pics of my beautiful daughters. These two ladies have been my rock over this last year and I couldn’t have done it without them, and the help from a couple close friends. 

 Lastly. This quote rings true as this deployment ends. 

I’ve learned a lot this last year. Who my friends are. How strong I am. And that above all else, my family WILL get through this time apart. I couldn’t be more proud of my daughters and my husband and his troops. May God continue to watch over us all. 

Thanks all for your amazing love and support over this last year!  I’ll never forget it!!

What shoes do you run in? 

Have gone through a life changing event and realized you don’t have as many friends as you thought?

Hope y’all have a blessed week! 


Deployment thoughts, weekly wrap up

Weekly wrap up and goodbyes

I had thought about skipping the weekly wrap again, but I really want to keep writing, too….so I decided to work on my weekly wrap during my lunch break today to at least get something brief out there…last week was a doozy, so bear with me.  So here it is, my weekly wrap up hosted by Holly and Tricia!  Make sure to head over and see what they are up to!



It finally became all too real that I will be without half my heart, my smile, my best friend for an entire year.

Monday: I cried in the shower so my kids wouldn’t see how upset I was. And at some point during my pity party I forgot if I had washed my hair, so I washed it quite possibly twice, just in case…No one likes greasy hair. #losingmymind

Tuesday: I realized in a panic that I forgot to call my nephew the night before to wish him a happy birthday. While yes, I had sent his present and given him his card on Sunday, I still had promised him I’d call him. And I didn’t. #allthesuck #auntiefail

Wednesday: While in the midst of a conversation about the ever so important food network and upcoming shows, My husband loudly said, “You didn’t even hear what I just said, did you?” after seeing the blank stare on my face. Nope. Sorry babe. I didn’t hear a word. I was too busy trying to wrap my brain around being without you for a year, and how on earth I’d hold it together when we say our final goodbyes for the year this upcoming Tuesday (tomorrow).

Thursday: My nanny quit. Via text. Oh, and with NO NOTICE. “DON’T YOU KNOW MY HUSBAND LEAVES ON TUESDAY???” I begged, asking for at least 2 weeks’ notice. Nope. Sorry. That night, while my 16 year old drove us to dinner in my husband’s Honda, we were discussing the infamous Jeep wave. If you drive a Jeep, you wave to all fellow Jeep drivers in passing. Don’t be that guy that doesn’t wave. So while at a stoplight I spotted a Jeep and yelled to my daughter from the backseat, “Make sure to wave!!!” Wait. We’re in a Honda. Ugh.

Friday: The hubby and I escaped to Geneva for the day, eating, shopping, and just having a couple hours of just us. That night we took the kids to see Zootopia and to dinner and it was so nice to just hang out as a family.

Us having lunch
Us having lunch
Dinner with friends
Dinner with friends
He's my smile
He’s my smile
My hero
My hero
Even time for video games, lol
Even time for video games, lol

We spent the rest of the weekend interviewing new nannies (I think we found one, fingers crossed this time she works out), and spending time with each other and some of our closest friends. My husband’s departure ceremony was on Sunday, and I was then reminded for the gazillionth time how darn proud I am of him. If you could see the way the room just is energized when my husband speaks to his soldiers, you would be in awe. It’s just awe inspiring and I get to call him my husband. Man, I am one lucky gal.


Tomorrow, he leaves and we will start the year of firsts. First phone call, first letter, first month done, etc. And I’ll be counting down the days until he returns. Please keep him and his soldiers in your prayers this upcoming year. ❤

Have you ever had a family member deployed?  What’s your favorite thing to do with your family?



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!!
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!!!



Prairie State 2015 half marathon race recap!

I went into this race with NO expectations other than to finish, and most importantly HAVE FUN.  Those that have been reading for a while, know I took a good 6 week break from distance running after the Grandma’s Marathon in June.  This break wasn’t due to injury, but for personal reasons and a few weeks ago I decided it was time to get back at it.  I’ve done this race in the past back in 2013 so I decided as long as I beat my time of 2:14 (you can read the recap-HERE), I’d be happy.

A couple of my friends were also doing this race, which was an added bonus!  They invited me to join them for the 1 hour commute north to Libertyville, IL.  YAY!  We met up at Jitka’s house at 6 a.m. and headed north.  The trip was uneventful other than the cold front came through causing some pretty serious fog.  The sunrise was AMAZING tho…


The racing Gods must’ve been smiling upon us because everything worked out perfectly.  We had to park in a parking lot about 15 minutes from the start line and get bussed to the race.

bus bus2

We got to the race with about 30 minutes to spare, and thank goodness because the porta pottie line was LONG.

Crazy long lines with MAYBE 20 stalls.
Crazy long lines with MAYBE 20 stalls.

We made it just in time to pee, hug, and get into our respective areas in the shoot.  Jitka was going for a PR so they made their way to the 7 mm area, and I headed back to the 9:30 pace group where I normally feel the most comfortable.

start start2startingshoot

We started promptly on time (yet I wonder how many people were late as the bus situation proved to be quite a hassle for those that arrived later than we did…) and I felt great.  It was around 45 degrees with a slight breeze and I was thankful I had on my arm sleeves and a throw away sweatshirt.  After about a mile and a half, I tossed my sweat shirt and took off.  And took off I did-WAY TOO FAST having my miles be in the low 9’s.  This is FAST for me mind you, and by mile 5 or so I started to get a side stitch…no matter what I did, it was there, but I kept trucking along.  I saw my sister right before the turn around point which truly lifted my spirits and distracted me from the pain in my ride side.

My sister got this pic, love it!
My sister got this pic, love it!

By mile 10, I decided I need to walk it off, so I walked for a good 3-4 minutes.  Thank goodness, because mile 11-12 were all slightly at an uphill incline which totally kicked me in the tail.  The last mile I kicked it up, and it felt great knowing I was almost finished.  My buddy Mark ran me in, and this was AFTER pacing Jitka to a PR of 1:37, AND second place in her age group…AMAZING!!!

Happy Finishers
Happy Finishers
Last push!
Last push!

All in all, it was a great race with a few tough miles. I finished in 2:08:06, and keep in mind Dickson Chumba won the Chicago Marathon yesterday with a time of 2:09:25, ROFL…Sure puts it all into perspective, doesn’t it?  LOL!!!

We finished the day with my favorite post race drink-a Bloody Mary!  We also enjoyed a yummy lunch, and then headed home.


lunch lunch2

I come out of this experience reminded of my true passion and love for running, as well as an appreciation for my friends that love me, well, even when I am not the easiest person to love.  A cool little fact, is that I met Jitka at this race 2 years ago, and we’ve been friends ever since!  ❤

How were your races this weekend?  Did you do anything fun with friends or family? What’s your favorite post race meal?

Have a great week!!

❤ Michelle

marathon training, Recipes, Sunday Supper

Weekend wrap up

I’ll start this post with the fact that I was supposed to be on weekend duty at the hospital.  Once every 5 weeks I am deemed in charge of the entire laboratory and it’s mind blowing and scary all at one time. amazing peer and friend offered to take my duty knowing I should be home resting with my daughter, and not enduring unneeded stress.  I couldn’t thank her enough, so left her a card and a Starbucks gift card on her desk for the weekend.  Good friends truly rock.

We had a very quiet weekend filled with normal housework, laundry, and snuggles.  I’ve learned a hard lesson that I’ve wasted far too much time stressing over cleaning and mundane chores.  So it’s been glorious snuggling up with my girls to watch a show, or take an extra 20 minutes after my J’s shower to brush and dry her hair. No…I’m never too busy for that.

This morning I had 12 miles on deck and had planned to run the miles with my friend Debra.  She texted me early at 7 am notifying me the stomach bug from hell was still in the house.  Crap.  I knew Janel was meeting me for a couple miles, but could I do 12 on my own?  You’re darn right I can, and had the help from Melissa, Seth and Janel for the first couple miles,  and my sister texting me at mile 10 that I better run faster so I could be DONE faster, LOL! It worked, I finished my last mile in 8:45 with an over all average pace of 10:06.

yeah. Did that.
yeah. Did that.
I have pretty cool friends.
I have pretty cool friends.

I came home, made some bacon and eggs, and took a very long shower as I was frozen to the core.  Despite the 30 degree temps, the wind-chill made it feel more like 17 degrees and I. WAS. COLD.  After my shower I crawled in to J’s bed, and we watched Netflix for 30 minutes.  It’s SOOOO good to see her on the mend, and able to do more ‘stuff’ each day.

Sunday Supper rolled around and I decided to make fish tacos with homemade guacamole and red cabbage slaw with a side of twice baked beans and roasted veggies.



3 avocados

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 plum tomato, chopped

1/4 red onion, diced

juice of half a lime

Seasonings: kosher salt, pepper, cilantro, cayenne pepper to taste

Combine in a food processor-pulse until mixed well, but still chunky

Red Cabbage Slaw

3 cups of red cabbage, thinly sliced

1/4 red onion

juice of 1/2 lime

splash of vegetable oil/rice wine vinegar

Seasonings: salt, pepper, and cilantro

Twice baked beans

In a sauce pan add one can of red beans, one can of black beans that have been drained and rinsed

Add 1 clove of garlic, 1/4 cup of diced poblano peppers, and salt, pepper, and smoked paprika to taste.  Heat until tender, and transfer to your food processor.  Puree on high, then transfer to a baking dish.  Top with shredded cheese and toppings of choice.  Bake at 375 for 15 minutes or until cheese has melted.

The rest is pretty cut and dry.  I roasted my carrots and red peppers for 25 minutes at 375 degrees and grilled my fish for the tacos.  All in all? Delish, and healthy.

While on my run today I was reminded of so many things.  Why I love to run, how thankful I am for the support my family has, and that we need to focus on those that lift us up, not those who tear us down. And for a moment, I felt myself nearly flying.


How was your week?  Log any miles?  Make any good food?

Keep Movin’ forward, y’all!

❤ Michelle

marathon training, Sunday Supper

Week 4 of training, complete!

Overall week 4 of training went off without a hitch.  Despite little sleep, I managed to get in my weekday runs, strength training, and even a shake out walk today.  I also finished my week off with a couple hours of yard work, which included glimpses of spring!

Green little sproutlings made me SOOOO excited today!
Green little sproutlings made me SOOOO excited today!

But back it up a little…sorry, I am getting ahead of myself-LOL!  Yesterday was my scheduled long run, and I had 11 miles on deck.  I hadn’t run long outside since November, and my nerves were pretty high.  My friend D offered to meet up with me at 8 a.m. as she was starting at 7 a.m. and I could sleep in a little while she started out since she needed 18 miles.

Despite saying we would both wear our FVM jackets, the rest of the outfit was NOT planned, LOL!!
Despite saying we would both wear our FVM jackets, the rest of the outfit was NOT planned, LOL!!

It worked out PERFECTLY.  The sun was out, the temps were nearly perfect and I couldn’t have asked for a better morning.  Despite being much faster than I am, D offered to slow it down so we could just run, chat, and leave it all on the trails for a couple hours.  And that’s exactly what we did…we kept it a 10mm pace, which is my ‘sweet spot’ to run in where I am pushing myself yet can still glide along easily while holding a conversation.


My ITB is starting to feel the miles, so I did have to stop at stretch it out several times.  A quick stretch though, was what seemed to do the trick and I tried to ensure we weren’t stopped for more than a minute each time.  The run was amazing, but I am guessing this is greatly due to the company I was in.  ❤

Since the hubby is working all weekend, I decided to take the girls to see the new Cinderella movie.  I LOVED it. They did, too!  I highly recommend seeing this film.

Always time for silliness!
Always time for silliness!

Today was a busy day of Fox Valley Marathon planning and my fellow Co-Directors of Volunteers and I met up with the Race Directors for a an overview of the new online tools we will be using.  Can’t wait!

I finished the day, as said previously, by working on my yard, raking, walking, pulling up dead stuff and yes…scooping a winter’s worth of dog poo.  Gross is all I can say.

Tonight’s Sunday Supper was Red snapper that I pan fried, served with a broccoli slaw with pancetta along with a cauliflower and leek mash.  Delish indeed!!!

Love our Sunday Suppers!
Love our Sunday Suppers!

I’ve posted how I prepare Cauliflower mash previously here and just added a chopped leek to the mix.  YUM!

Broccoli Slaw 

One bag of pre-chopped broccoli slaw

2 teaspoons of Mayo with olive oil

A splash or two of rice wine vinegar

Kosher salt and pepper to taste

1 cup of pancetta that has been browned with garlic and chopped mushrooms (drain on a paper towel)

Mix well and let chill for an hour before serving

Red Snapper

Dry your fillets with a paper towel and season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.  Heat a non stick pan with cooking spray and just a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil to medium/high heat.  Cook skin side down first, add a pat of unsalted butter and flip about 4-5 minutes and brown the other side for just a minute or two until the fish is completely cooked.  Finish with a light sprinkle of kosher salt.

As the weekend draws to a close, I am counting my blessings.  I truly couldn’t and SHOULDN’T ever ask or want for more in my life, than what I have today.

Did you all get your long runs in?  Were you able to get outside this weekend?  What’s your favorite healthy meal?

Have a great week, y’all!


❤ Michelle