17 in 2017

I’m a lover of lists and an even bigger lover of crossing things off the list. I make some type of list every day.  I love to use this pad to make my lists and it’s worth every penny to be pretty on my desk.  I have multiple lists and merge my lists and those lists get rewritten but the art of having a list is a way for me to hold myself accountable. Writing the list is theraputic.

I’m not about writing resolutions. I actually think they are silly. They set you up to fail. Like all those people at the gym in January who you never see again. Failed resolution.  Resolutions tend to be too big and too lofty and unattainable setting almost everyone up to fail me included so I stopped making them.

The one word thing doesn’t work either for me. How do you focus your year to a single word? I tried it. I tried it a couple of times actually and it just doesn’t work for me. I think every time I tried it, I forgot the word by February.

So, even though I am a month late, I am going to stick with what I know. I am going to make a list for 2017 with their status or reason.  The little things and the big things. I’m going to cross things off my list as I do them. I may not ­draw attention to them when I cross them off but I’m going to tackle them as my life list for 2017.


  1. Get Brady and Cate up on skis this winter.
  2. Get away with Glenn for our 10 year wedding anniversary.
  3. Take Brady on a mother son date.
  4. Take Cate on a mother daughter date.
  5. Try a new workout to me.
  6. Call my grandma, send her a package and send her a letter.
  7. Finish our living room instead of 75% complete.
  8. Make plans for drinks with an old friend.
  9. Organize, print and store pictures from 2009-2017.
  10. Pick up my camera again and just start shooting.
  11. Teach myself the basics of code.
  12. Do a huge purge of our basement.
  13. Simplify my closet and purge.
  14. Find a way for my family to volunteer.
  15. Come back to this blog.
  16. Be intentional with my time.
  17. Grow something.

So, the first step is creating the list right? Now it’s time to work on something. Anything.


Daring Greatly

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
~ Theodore Roosevelt

Brene Brown references this quote time and time again in her second Ted Talk, her book which I am currently reading which was a #1 New York Times Bestseller and in almost every speaking engagement she makes.   She spoke at my school two years ago and now she’s back again.

Everywhere I look I hear this quote.

And tonight, as simply as I wander downstairs staring at the pile of magazines I haven’t sat down and read, look at my counter cluttered with homework and mail that needs to be packed and addressed I am struck that today, on this day I am daring greatly.  A day that started at 4:40 in the morning for a one hour workout that is as much for my mental health as it is my physical health. A day that included teaching, meetings, drop offs, appointment scheduling, feeding, bath herding and reading, I am struck that this is what is means to be daring greatly.  Trying to do something, everything, and so often coming up short and erring in some way.

I am in the arena.

I am daring to be a change maker in education who refuses to believe anything but that every single day it is my job to change one students experience for the better.   I am daring to be the mom that I had growing up who loved me and gave me her full attention regardless of what else was going on in her life.  I am daring to be a wife that gives her husband the attention he deserves and the support he needs for us to parent together.  I’m covered in sweat, dust and blood and just trying to hang on.

I am the woman in the arena trying to have it all. And you know what, I still don’t.   And it’s not for lack of effort.  It’s not because I don’t try and want to do better or be more.  Some days I come up short as a mom.  Hell, most days I go bed telling myself I will be better as a mother than I was the day before.  Other days, I walk away wondering if my husband deserves better.  A better partner and bigger cheerleader.   And every day, I walk out of school thinking how I could inspire more, lead better and teach with more passion. And I feel like I failed.

But you know what?.  So what if other mom’s judge me because my kids go to daycare.   Or I don’t get a perfect meal on the table every night.  Or that I still have a couple pounds to lose. I am here. In the arena.  And I am daring greatly.  I’m daring to be in the arena “marred by dust and sweat and blood” to be here.  To live in the today.  To love hard. And be me.

{This post has sat in my drafts folder for 1.5 years.  It’s funny how much and how little things change in 1.5 years.}



This Space

I haven’t written in this space since early November.  That actually sounds about right to me.  I’ve written a lot of things in my head since then.  A couple of time I have actually put some things on paper.  I have never hit publish.  I guess in some ways I am a fraud.  I have always hated the people on social media, whether it’s Instagram or Facebook, who only show you perfect.  Their house perfectly in place all neat and tidy, their kids perfectly dressed and smiling at the camera and their perfectly crafted meals that are always organic and balanced.  I’ve always promised myself that I would show every side. The good, the pretty, the bad and the ugly.  And since November, I have not done that.  I’m actually not going to either.  Because while, I haven’t written here I have also realized that there are some things that are so personal, so close to your heart that they aren’t meant for this space.  Maybe that makes me a sell out or phony. Or maybe I won’t be back in this space for some time.  Because honestly, real life right now is really messy and emotional and complicated.  And I’m keeping that close. That’s all I have at the moment.  And I am going to be okay with it.

1.28 Quote


Out with ’14 and In with ’15.

I find myself every year around this time thinking about the year in review and the new one in front of us and what I want from the next 365 days and myself.  I know the critics say that resolutions are dumb and no one follows through and this is not the time to change things up or refocus. I call bull shit to that.

Last year, I made this list of 14 things I wanted to accomplish before the year was over and I came up short- like really short.  And for a couple of months, specifically this fall, I was really upset that I wasn’t going to accomplish everything on that list.  I spent evenings beating myself up about it and whining to Glenn that I hadn’t done a lot of things.  Then, I looked again at the list and realized the trivial things that didn’t get done like learning Photoshop or reading the classics don’t really matter. I  thought about what we did accomplish and I felt pretty good. And added to that when I thought about the things we’ve done that I haven’t written about or things that have been accomplished as a family or by myself that I haven’t documented, I feel really pretty great.

We survived the Polar Vortex, got Cate some much needed glasses, made a trip to Florida that was so awesome, survived a kitchen renovation, taught Brady to ride a bike, spent a summer swimming at the beach, ate lots of ice cream, conquered the monkey bars, celebrated birthdays, cooked our first Thanksgiving and had a magical Christmas.  All in all, 2014 was pretty great.

As I think about 2015, I know this much.  I want to embrace the moments.  I want to be intentional with my time and my decisions.  I want to walk away from the things that force me to second guess myself and my choices.  I want to put my energy where it matters and in the people I love the most.  I want to document our life in a way that forces me to embrace the imperfections and take daily or weekly pictures. I want to nurture myself, my marriage and my kids. And, I hope that this space comes to be a place to remember it all.

Happy New Year friends! Make it the best one of them all!


Life Updates

I find myself wanting to write a lot these days. Sometimes to just get something out of my head that I can’t seem to make sense of that putting on paper will hopefully become clearer or about specific events or moments that I want to remember forever.

Since, I last gave you an update we have hosted our first Thanksgiving quite successfully.  My parents joined us for a few days and we smoked a turkey on the Big Green Egg and had all the sides you could want.  My mom made a new corn casserole recipe that was to die for and I even think the turkey and wild rice chowder we made on Monday was worth talking about.

I got to spend a couple of hours shopping with my mom.  I love shopping with her but I love talking to her uninterrupted in person more.  Her clothes advice isn’t too shabby either!

We’ve all been a bit under the weather since Thanksgiving.  The throw up from Brady has been the worst of it.  While throwing up he wasn’t upset about being sick he was sad he missed slipper day at school.  It was pathetic and adorable all at once.  We have all had the sniffles, Cate’s I think might be a sinus infection or in her ears. It’s bad and she sounds awful.  She’s had it for over a week and the snot is now yellowish/green.  I am just praying we are healthy for the holidays. That my only wish right now.

We decorated our house for Christmas inside and out and it just makes me happy. Plain and simple.


We have two baptisms this month so we are going to have lots of church and family time in December.  We survived the first one unscathed and in all honesty our kids were amazing.  True troopers between being in the car, sitting in church, sitting thru a long meal and driving home.

I’m hoping we’ll survive the next few weeks and get some good quality family and down time after Christmas.  I think we all need it.

I’m not giving up writing here. So, bear with me as I get my fingers on a keyboard again.  Who knows when I will be back but I really love this little space.



The Ring

I remember like it was yesterday.  We were going to spend the day downtown eating at the Taste of Chicago and with the purpose of ring shopping at some point.  He was nonchalant about it.  Like it was no big deal.  I remember when he suggested it, I acted calm and cool but down deep I was thinking about what this meant.  Forever.  This guy. A guy who got me.  Humored me. Put up with me. And at his core, loved me. We knew that we saw a forever together.  And he knew that I needed to have a say in the ring that I would wear forever.  He knew that I would want to pick it out and that it was important to me to have a say in the style, the cut and all.   We laughed as we did it and talked about what I liked and didn’t as the jeweler slid ring after ring on my finger.  It felt weird on my finger.  Heavy.  Misplaced.

I picked out that ring almost 8 years ago today.  I knew the minute I saw it I wanted it to be mine.  Mine because I loved the solitaire stone and the band with diamonds on every single surface of it.  I knew one band and at some point two would complete the most beautiful piece of jewelry I would ever wear.  The piece of jewelry that would be with me for the rest of my life.  I knew that because of my attachment to things with tradition and history that I would be sentimentally attached to that ring the minute I got it.  And I was.  And still am.  It represents the beginning of a life with a man I am madly in love with and the life we have created together since I got that piece of jewelry.  I wore that ring to buy houses, have babies, teach and coach kids and everything else that comes with life.

Today my finger feels empty. Missing something.  The symbol of our beginning.   Thursday it broke and so did I.  I was lifting a weight plate over my head laying on a bench while I working my abs and my hand wrapped around the weight it hit the floor harder than I anticipated.   The finger smashed between the plate and the floo. I heard a pop, felt an instant sensation of pain and saw blood. I walked out of Body Pump unsure of what happened.  I was shaking and scared.  I thought my finger was broken.  Never did I imagine my ring would shatter, diamonds would fall out and my finger bloodied as I maneuvered it off.  It hurt but my heart hurt more.


That ring that has been on my finger for more than 8 years in an instant was broken.  I called him before I even got out of the gym.

“My finger. My ring just snapped in half”.

“Are you okay?”

“I don’t care. My ring. It’s broken and it’s ruined. I am just so sorry”

“I don’t care about your ring. We can replace it. It’s insured. I’m worried about you.  Calm down. I can come home”

This man, my man is such a good soul.  I was so sad about my ring and he was only worried about me.  I sobbed knowing that the ring he bought with so many promises that were attached will never be on my hand again.  That the ring I wore in to the hospital to have babies won’t be on my hand as I raise them. That ring that has been a constatn accessory to my outfit whether it’s workout clothes or a black dress will never be on my hand again.

Yes, we will get it fixed and most likely get a new one.  The damage appears to dictate that.  And while a joke about an upgrade sounds fun, it’s that ring that I want.  The ring that started it all.



Hello Monday

Hello Monday! Last week was not one of my finest.  I could rattle off why and who I blame but it doesn’t do a lot of good so I have decided to embrace this week and be better.  So, I am starting to with some hellos to this week to get me off on the right track.

Hello five day school week which should allow me to get ahead and be present and maybe even play some catch up from last week. 

Hello Take Your Kid to Work Day. Teachers open up their classrooms and plan things that are kid friendly.  I am so excited to have Brady come to school with me.  He finally gets it and we are going to have a blast!

Brady 4.5

Hello getting a physical for the first time in forever this week and taking charge and care of my health.  I have yet to find a doctor since I moved up here almost 11 years ago that which has been a big reason why I haven’t done these things.  I am trying a new doctor and hoping this is the switch that I need.

Hello a kitchen that can at least be walked in. We have a ways to go and the little decisions seem to be the hardest for me to make but I can almost smell food being cooked and see the bright color of fresh fruit on the counter.

Hello to finding the grace to parent with patience this week.  I am struggling to be calm and cool when I need to be the most and I think I need to make daily and weekly goals towards being the mother I want to be.

Cate 2.5

Hello getting back on to my yoga mat after this past week of colds and allergies not allowing me to get there.

Hello Monday. Let’s do this.



Yours and Mine

This is our life

These are our days

This is us trying to find our way

Tthis is the love

This is the dream

This is us learning how to be who we are, who we are

Cause this is our life

I am currently flying at 35,000 feet after a series of delays on my return flight to Chicago.  The air is choppy and we are bouncing all over the place.  The sun is out which I haven’t seen since I left my home Thursday night.  The frustration of not leaving D.C. on time today has made me twitchy because I am impatient and there is nothing I want more than to tuck my babies in to bed tonight.  I know my husband’s tank is empty because every time before this trip, I have been the one home by myself.  It is exhausting and rewarding but it makes you appreciate marriage and co-parenting so much more.

I spent the past almost 48 hours snuggling a newborn and the quiet time with her gave me a lot of time to just be and talk with my sister in law instead of the chaos that I call my life right now.  I swear there is some secret society you join when you have a kid.  My SIL and I laughed until I cried about things, talked about tough stuff and spent the day just being together.   I even bought a rug.    I can honestly say I love her ,more than before and the mother she has become.  And she and my brother are pros at parenting.

This is our life

These are our friends

This is our family that grows and dance

This is our chance

This is our time

This is us making things to somehow leave behind

Wwhat will we leave behind to show

That this is our life

I kept laughing at my brother as he talked to his daughter about her body parts in the bath, told her sarcastically bad jokes when she was fussy and brushed her hair with the smallest brush I have ever seen before bedtime. But honestly, he is good. Damn good at being a dad and that makes me smile.  I knew he would be.  He has always had this ease with babies and a quiet calm that is soothing to anyone around him.

My SIL is a mom now. She’s in the club. And there is a softness to her that I don’t think was as obvious before.  Her voice instantly calms her daughter and she is gentle and loving and so easily a mom.

It’s really easy when you are holding a newborn to send a text and tell your husband you want another one.  (Not that I did that…okay maybe I did.)  But, as I am flying high in the sky and looking down I am thinking about how blessed I already I am and content I am in our life.  My family and the life we are creating and living.  I have two kids that I am totally completely in love with.  And a husband that I love more every single day.  I am looking forward to what the future holds.  Disney. Sports. Friends. School.   As our extended family grows, I am acutely aware at the immediate family that is mine.  And I feel so lucky.

Cause i am so thankful

For each moment that we share

Right here is everything i need

I love our life and I love you so much honey

Thank you for loving me

Oh, this is our life

Straight or a mess

These are our memories in progress

This is our work

This is our hope

This is us learning how to cope

And laugh and cry

Cause it’s all yours and mine

This is our life

Lyrics by Mary Beth Maziarz “This Our Life” whcih was our wedding song.


Life Lately

Life lately has been inexplicably complicated and exhausting.

For starters, my anxiety is through the roof.  I don’t know what it is about change that just doesn’t sit well with me but it makes me paralyzed when my to do list is growing a mile a minute. The weeks leading up to change end up being stressful for all of us.   I feel the need to get so many things done before I go to school…like I am going to prison or something. One big trip to Costco, plan all the meals, organize the pantry, clean my closet, buy new clothes for everyone and yet I know I can do some of these things when I go back to work but I feel the need to get them done now so I can I was ready to return to work and had a productive summer.   I spend these week thinking about all the things that I need to do at school and how hard the transition will be on my two kids who have really settled in to being at home with me.  I am thinking about Cate as she transitions to daycare full time and how hard that morning drop off is going to be every single day.  I am struggling with how to find the ever elusive balance that comes with working and knowing that I didn’t make my health my priority this summer even though I vowed to do so.

Add to it, Cate has been a hot mess. This poor sweet girl CANNOT catch a break. She is covered in a rash from her groin to her neck and it is an allergic reaction to a medicine we were using to treat something else. (I have a whole other post coming on this one.)  She is scratching and so uncomfortable that two nights ago she made herself bleed in the bath. She says ouchie more times than I can count and my heart breaks every time.  Not to mention as a result, she is not sleeping.  Screaming, crying and up many times a night is enough to make me tired like having a newborn tired.

For good measure, Brady woke us up Monday night with blood curdling screams. We thought he was being attacked or was injured. It was a scream we have never heard from him. Our good sleeper was convinced that there were snakes and spiders in his room. His heart racing and his fear caused him to fly off his bed and he couldn’t be soothed. We lay with him, he screamed.  He kept showing us where they were convinced they were attacking him.   I finally agreed (if you know me you know this is a big deal) after an hour of chaos and fear and screaming to sleep with him.  Not to mention Cate who we finally got to sleep was awakened by his screaming.  He asked me every 30 seconds if I was there and if I saw that as he whimpered. He finally went to sleep sometime after 5 sleeping literally on top of me and was up at 7:30.

One highlight this week. I had pictures of my kids taken in a junkyard tonight and I have a feeling they are going to be awesome.


So, yeah that is life lately. Just keeping it real people. Happy Friday!


Currently v.2

This blog has been silent for longer than I would have liked. But, what am I to do when the days consist of swimming lessons, softball coaching, and dinner making, grading papers, and trying to keep some sort of order in our house.   Sometimes, even the things that I mean to do go to the bottom of the list and sadly stay there.  Currently…

Eating… healthy. Seriously, with spring break just two weeks away, I find myself craving healthy foods like fruit and vegetables. I think it may also be related to Glenn and I exercising more and wanting to get back in to shape.  The years of being pregnant and nursing were hard on my body so healthy eating is just a start but I am loving feeling better, sleeping better not to mention my clothes fitting looser.

Drinking…water.  I find myself drinking a ton of water at school. We have a great water cooler and some days when I am just tired of sitting and staring at my computer screen, I walk to the teacher’s cafeteria to fill my cup with ice and water just as a way of taking a break.  Seriously, in a day I drink Starbucks and water…just waiting for summer so I can start sipping lemonade again!

Listening…to the buzz in my classroom as my students work on projects. I just got done watching two videos kids sent me about wealth distribution in America and real estate agents and the seller’s interest.  Both were fascinating but I think what is more remarkable is listening to kids talk about them and being excited about this stuff.

Reading… “The Shallows” by Nicholas Carr. With the unbelievable amount of technology that is being used and brought in to schools, I am furiously reading this book to understand some of the research related to what the internet is doing to our brain. Have you read it?

Come back next week. I will have an 18 month update on Cate and pictures from the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade and party at my brother’s house! I promise I will try to write more… Happy weekend!