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First day hiccups

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After a delightful New Years Day, it was back to work for me yesterday. Lucky for the kids, they still had one more day until they headed back to the classroom... or so I thought. As I was backing out of the driveway, I looked down the street and thought, why is the school bus here? Uh oh...

Turned out, John was back to school yesterday; it was Caroline who had one more day off. The occasional differences between the public school calendar and the Xavier private school calendar catch me off guard! Thankfully, Justin was able to get him to school in time for second period to start, but the poor kid was exhausted by the end of the day. We'd let him stay up until almost midnight on the 1st, watching football, because we thought he could sleep in the next day! Mom of the Year, and it only took two days...

After a mostly unproductive first day back at work for me - it's always hard to get the brain back in gear after ten days of vacation - I came home to the best part of everyday, …

Wonderful start to 2019

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I have high hopes - and high expectations - for 2019. I have learned enough at this point in my life to know that I should be wary of putting these hopes and expectations into specific words; instead, I will find the delights in each day, the big and the little, the 365 ahead of us. To that end, I think today was a wonderful way to christen the new beginning of 2019!

I enjoyed my last sleep in of the holiday season before going back to work tomorrow, eventually rolling out of bed around 7:20 so that I could shovel the driveway one more time before heading to church. The snow was surprisingly light and powdery, making it quick work for me and Justin to clear a path for the car.

We swung by John's friend's house where he'd spent the night, and I was pleasantly surprised that he was actually ready on time as we'd instructed him!

When we got to church, I looked over and saw the choir there, and realized I'd forgotten about being there early! I debated for a brief second…

New Year's Resolutions in 2019

It's that time of year again, when we race toward the last day on the calendar and begin turning our thoughts to the opportunities that lie ahead when we flip the page. As I have for many years, I've been noodling on my goals and challenges to lay out for the next twelve months. I managed to finish almost all of the to-do's I laid out for 2018, and I continue to love the sense of accomplishment that comes with achieving these goals! I did, however, also place enough stress on myself with the recipe-per-week resolution that I'm rethinking the level of commitment I'm willing to make for resolutions in 2019. To that end, here is my plan for the last year of this decade:
Improve my Spanish. I've already checked out some CDs from the library and I plan to listen to them while I get ready in the morning! I also have a Playaway audio book that I can use in the car, so Caroline and I may work on this one together on the morning ride to school.Learn and memorize a new pi…

Closing out 2018

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As most people do, when the year winds down and we approach the last day of December, I take stock of the year that was. This has been a wonderful year in so many ways, a challenging year in many more, and through it all, I feel so lucky and blessed to live the life that I do.

There were many things, big and small, that made up this year, and I did not take the time to write about nearly enough of them. Because of that deficit, I've made up my mind to do better in 2019, formalizing this intent in my New Years resolutions (to come tomorrow!). I did make good on most of the resolutions I set out for myself in 2018, and there was so much joy and fulfillment in those accomplishments, too.

In this first full year we've spent in Wisconsin, we've settled into our new routines and community, but continue to try to find our place. It isn't easy to move, but it had been enough years since our last one that I think I underestimated the breadth of challenges it would pose. On top …

What it means to be a Veteran

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This past Friday, I was the guest speaker for a Veterans Day program at a local school, 33 years running and a fixture in the Fox Valley community. Today, as we celebrate Veterans Day and mark 100 years since the end of WWI, I'm sharing my remarks here.
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Good morning, esteemed guests, faculty and students of J.R. Garretts Middle School. I am delighted and honored to be here today. A special thank you to Mr. Scholz and Mrs. Kane for giving me the opportunity to join you as we observe Veterans Day, a day recognizing each of us who have served this great nation in our Armed Forces.
I’ll begin by asking: what do you think it means to be a veteran? Very literally, it means a person who has served in a military force. And, of course, there are many different branches of the military and ways that one can serve in the armed forces. Beyond the dictionary, though, what does it mean, deep down and in the fiber of who I am? The answer to that question is found in the beginnings…

My 1st Door County Century Ride

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Not all of my adventures happen a long way from home; Wisconsin has an incredible variety of things to do, and when the weather is nice, Sconnies take advantage of it by planning countless outdoor activities, races, and challenges to attempt.

As part of my New Year's resolution to complete four endurance events, I looked for ideas beyond my regular marathon and triathlon endeavors. Long distance bike rides have been a part of my training plans for several years, and I really enjoy cycling as both a workout and an enjoyable way to be outside! Several years ago, I rode in the Tour de Cure in NW Arkansas with friends from work, completing the metric century (100k) distance not long after I completed my first half iron distance triathlon. Googling endurance events in Wisconsin, I found the Door County Century Ride, a long standing event in the beautiful thumb of Wisconsin. I signed up well in advance, as 2018 was the 40th anniversary and it sounded like something I definitely wanted t…

Grand Canyon Rim to Rim, Part 4 - the climb out (Bright Angel Trail)

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Sunday morning, the alarm went off... and it was a simultaneous chorus of HOLY MONKEYS MY LEGS AND FEET ARE KILLING ME!! I honestly am not sure how we actually got out of the beds... all of the body was screaming. All of it. Shannon had us all supplied with Motrin, thank goodness, so we rucked up and headed out. NATURALLY! What else would West Point Women do?! First stop was the canteen, where a full, hot and delicious breakfast was ready for us to sit down family style. A little throw back to our cadet days, eating with strangers and shoveling in the food as fast as we could!

Thank goodness Melissa kept pushing us to get going early both days to avoid the heat as much as possible - in fact, we had to use our headlamps on Sunday morning for the first 15-20 minutes or so.


Our headlamps had the side benefit of illuminating not just our path but the wildlife, too.... including the bats that were everywhere as we trekked through the Bright Angel campground that stood between Phan…