It’s all in the voice…

Have I mentioned I’ve had a pretty shit year?

A few days before he race in February, I had dropped the kids off at school and was out shopping when Andy called. He never calls me when he is at work. He usually just texts. The last two times he called it was to say he was laid off. So, him calling during work hours was a red flag.

He called to tell me his Grandma died.

He sounded eerily normal and I know his aversion to emotions and emotional outbursts so….I just did my best. He didn’t know what to do. I’ve been through this a few too many times the last few years so…he asked me what to do. I told him to research his bereavement quick and then go be with his family.

The conversation was longer than the above paragraph makes it sound. He was unsure about a lot of things and I was just doing my best to help. I offered to go with him to be with his family and he said no. So, business as usual for me. I did get out of work a few hours early so I could pick up the kids and talk to them.

I sat them down and said “I have to talk to you about something.”

To which BigSki immediately says, “Who died? You have your someone died voice.”

I wanted to laugh and cry all at the same time. Laugh because his sarcasm is so me and so spot on. Cry because a 7 and 9 year old should not know their mom has a someone died voice. We’ve had a few too many of these discussions lately.

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Run the Year- February Run!

I’m behind again. I know.

Honestly, it is so hard to write these days. I feel so out of it and distracted! Trying to get back at it! Trying to give myself things to push towards and look forward to.

Kind of like my Run the Year goal and one 5k per month goal.

That brings me to Feb!!!!

The Average Joe 5k!

For those of us who are….well….Average! Yes, that is snow on the ground and yes there was ice! But….it was 30* before windchill so that is a plus! It beats the 3* with a negative windchill we had at the zoo in January! Plus, there were no shirtless glass cutting nipples old men! Everyone was properly bundled up with no chance of hypothermia….or poking someone’s eye out with their nipples.

We had my son’s basketball tournament followed by my nieces bday party later that day and I did NOT want to be hurting so….I took it easy! It wasn’t my slowest time and it wasn’t my fastest time.

Our traditional starting line goodbye selfie!

I finished below average and he finished above average. Looks like we aren’t so average after all. Although….I’d rather be above average than below!

Yes…I am sticking out my tongue and yes…I am wearing heart leggings! It was my February run after all and February is the month of Valentine’s Day. So, hearts it is!

Our traditional finish line photo!!! 🙂 I’m a hot sweaty mess!!!

People ask me why I’m doing this. So, I will leave you with this….

Fixing Miss Michelle’s stinky feet!

At work today…I wasn’t just a teacher. (Not that anyone is JUST a teacher…) I was the baby teacher, one year old teacher, two year old teacher, three year old teacher, lunch lady, and office personnel. I worked in many different rooms and wore many different hats. It was a bounce around the center kind of a day.

Our center has been hit with the cases of the nasties that are going around. Us (and sooo many local schools) have been hit with strep, stomach flu, Influenza A, and a ton of other nasty colds and sicknesses. If it is not one thing…it’s another. I can’t even tell you how many EXTRA hours have been put into extra cleaning. We’ve been doing everything possible to keep it at bay and at least keep the staff from getting it. Alas, the holding pattern is over. The damn has broken. We have had at least 2 teachers out sick every day.

Those of you who work in daycare know what kind of chaos this can mean for the remaining staff. Especially if there is no one available to take their place. We had two teachers and our secretary out today. Luckily (although I feel guilty saying that) we had a few kids out today too so we are able to do some adjusting and make the day work! Voila!

This just meant that I was the jack of all trades or the woman of many hats today!

During my brief stint in the two year old room today, the kiddos were playing with tools. They were fixing the other teacher. He told them to “Go fix Miss Michelle.” And there came the swarm of small children towards me asking what they can fix. My creativity failed me and I asked them to fix my legs/shins because of my shin splits and my wrist that is oddly sore after my am run. The kiddos decided that in order to fix my legs they had to stick their tools down my boots. I warned them that their toys will be stinky because I have stinky feet. This prompted an immediate…

“Fix stinky feet!!”

Which of course turned into all of them saying and soon they were chanting it and using all sorts of tools to attempt to fix my stinky feet…

I don’t know if it worked, but at least they tried!

One small step, one big change

So, when I signed up to do the “run the year” 2018 in 2018 all year long running challenge…I don’t know what I expected.

Let’s be honest, I had run a few 5k but was by no means a runner. After November’s events, I needed something. A goal. Something to push myself. Something to look forward to and challenge me. So, I did an impulse sign up. Probably an emotional one

Yes, I am running it with 3 other women. We are running as a team. While it does not require all miles to be split evenly…I still feel pressure to do my part. 2018 split for ways is still 504.5 Miles in a year. That’s running 1.4 miles every day. Not an easy task for me.

But….I’ve been running little by little almost every day. And when I logged into my run the year page to make sure my miles were being logged to a pleasant surprise! I had achieved a new milestone bib!!

Seeing that gave me a wow feeling and then I realized that while I did signup for it…I didn’t think I could actually do it. I’m one month into my year and I already have 1/5 of my share done. What a feeling that is. I CAN do it!!!

What I am trying to say is, sometimes things are hard. Sometimes they are harder than you actually anticipated. You may doubt your ability to do something or just yourself in general. When that happens…STOP. Stop and take a deep breath then do two things…

1) Remind yourself that you are stronger and braver than you think!

2) Do your best and forget about the rest!

The second is actually something I tell my students. As long as you try your hardest and do your best, that is all that matters. You may not always win. It may not always work. But there is “success” in failure. You’ve successfully learned one way not to do something and now can create new ways to try again. Or…you can sit back and think… “I could have just given up, but I pushed myself as hard as I could for as long as I could and I definitely did my best.” There’s pride in trying. There’s achievement in trying. There I not I’m quitting.

Besides, you may just fool yourself!

Minneapolis, MN travel advice needed please!!!

Alright peoples!

Hubby and I are Minneapolis, MN bound mid-April for some silly fun shenanigans! We are going to turn it into an early 10 year anniversary celebration!

Looking for some suggestions on places to go and things to do. Nothing too crazy. It’s just a weekend. We will be out there on a fri night for dinner and then will be coming home Sunday afternoon. Not a ton of time. So maybe something fun to do Saturday night. A few simple yet fun things to do during the day.

Thanks blogging world!

The Only Girl…

Back in October, BigSki has given up having a birthday party with friends to go on a vacation. It was a vacation complete with first airplane rides and beach fun and body surfing! No more than an extended weekend, but amazing none the less!

While he gave up having a big birthday party with friends, I did promise him a sleepover. Our October was booked, beginning of Nov was busy. We were planning for early December. Then my brother passed and we were busy with that and then Christmas and holidays and so many shenanigans. The never ending cycle of madness!

So, here we are….end of January having a sleepover that was meant to be for a birthday back in October. Yeah…bad mom.

I told him 2-3 friends. I contacted the parents directly to keep there from being any drama at school over invites and such. The excitement of this weekend has BigSki asking me almost every hour if his friends could make it.

Only 3 more days till my sleepover!

Only 2 more days till my sleepover!!

Only 1 more day till my sleepover!!!!

Yay!!!!!!!! My sleepover is FINALLY today!!!

Other parents out there…ya feel me….right?!?!

Then I start getting messages from one of the parents saying their son wants to come over NOW.

Ummm…not ready yet. Ha ha.

I told them I’d let them know if we were ready early. The. I had BigSki begging me to let them come over early.

Can they come now?

How about now….

Mom….when can they come over? Aren’t we ready YET?!

The time came and so did the kids. We had four 3rd Grade boys in the house as well as my 2nd grader and my husband. That’s a lot of boys. 6 males and little ole me was the only female.

Energy was high, Volume was loud, sports & video games were at an al time high (for our house) and fart jokes reigned supreme!!! It was a man’s world and I was stuck in the middle of it all!

Ok…it wasn’t so bad. I grew up with two brothers….I’m a tomboy myself. I wasn’t worried. Hubby was a little worried that we didn’t have any activities planned. I just laughed.

It went sooo smoothly!

Play w/ our new basketball hoop

Dinner (chk nuggets and fries of course!)

Wii sports and other fun party games

Root beer floats

Popcorn & Lego Batman from our cozy sleeping bags on the floor!

See…..EASY! Hubby was so pleasantly surprised he said he’d do more sleepovers again anytime! 🙂 BigSki was thrilled to hear that and is already thinking of who he wants to have next!

While it went smoothly with no issues, I don’t know if I’m ready for all the big kid sleepovers yet. I don’t know if I can handle my baby being so BIG.

What do you do when your kids have a sleepover? Do you plan anything special or just let the kids do their own thing??

**Other than the memes which were found on Pinterest….the rest of the photos in this post are my own. Please do not use without permission. Thank You!**

S-more S’mores please

When you end you weekend waterpark Christmas with a little something extra!

We stopped at HuHot for dinner on the way home. If you’ve never been, it’s fun! It’s all you can eat and is a unique buffet! Basically you grab what veggies you want and meats and sauces and put them into bowls. Then take them to the grill where these guys move around a circular grill cooking your meal and putting on a show! Flipping flippers and banging them away on the grill to their own beat. Leave a tip…they bang the gong!

While my kids aren’t fans of anything saucy…they loved watching the guys! It was lots of fun!

But the BEST part…..

Making s’mores at the dinner table with our own marshmallows and chocolate and Graham’s and even…..MINI FIRE!

Seriously…look at the pure joy in those kids faces! ❤️

Not your Average Christmas

When it’s comes to Christmas and holidays…I tend to dread them a bit. Why? We have a very large family. Hubby’s parents are divorced. So just between our parents, we have three Christmas celebrations already. Don’t even get me started on cousins and grandparents. Holidays are stressful. Who gets to see us day of and who has to wait. Many Thanksgivings have been spent cramming all 3 houses into one day. Can you say stress?While Christmas isn’t totally figured out, we do have a little bit more of a handle on certain things…which helps. It also helps that my mother n law and step father n law started a new tradition. With them each having 3 children and many of us being married with kids in the way…it made sense to do something different. Instead of gifts, we went to the Dells after Christmas (usually Jan) for our Christmas celebration & gift from them!

When BigSki was 3 months old (and the only grandchild) we had our first Christmas in the Dells. I’m sure almost everyone who has heard of Wisconsin has heard of the Wisconsin Dells! Heck…I ran into people from out of country who had heard of it! Water park Capital of the World!! Needless to say…it is not a dull Christmas! We spent time swimming and playing and doing water slides. We took turns fighting over who got to snuggle and float the lazy river with my itty bitty baby!

9 years later….our family have changed and grown just a bit….

BigSki is no longer a baby and is now the oldest of 7 kiddos! Their ages range from 3 to 9! Not a big gap!

We are now a big massive group of the parents, 3 married couples, one engaged couple, and two “singles”…one of whom brought their significant other. 13 adults total. Then the seven grandkids. Quite the house full!

We’ve gone from staying only one night to a weekend. We’ve gone from renting a little condo at the resort to a huge cabin! We no longer big and do a gift battle of random stupid cheap gifts, but a battle over our own homemade gifts! As our Christmas has grown…so have we!

I love our homemade gift exchange battle thing! We set a price limit and sometimes a theme and everyone makes their own gifts. We’ve had homemade wine, homemade Kahlua (me), pallet wine racks, Birthday hanging things, a coffee cup/wine glass rack, beer bottle plinko, bird feeders, etched glasses, and more! Every year the gifts get more creative and inventive! Hubby made the custom etched glasses this year. I made a handmade rice heating pad, rice hand warmers, and some essential oil roller bottles with some homemade blends! Mine wasn’t one of the most creative ones, but I’m not a big sewing guru so….I certainly busted my butt on them!

This year we ended with some homemade bird feed things (bird seed wreath lookin thing made in a circle jello mold) and a wooden ninja phone/tablet stand!

The battle is always fun! I love seeing what people come up with and sometimes it’s surprising what gets fought over. Lots of yelling and lots of laughs. It’s good we are in a cabin now because we are loud!!!!!

We even had an added bonus this year! My sis n law made us ornaments with our faces on them!!! Like for real….

This is sooo me…well before I chopped all my hair off! She had it made before then! I love it. So fun! I’m a big mombun rep! 😆

<<<<<<<<<<
eople that we have a Christmas in the Dells at a water park in January….they usually think I am crazy! Who waits till January to celebrate Christmas? Who does it at a water park? That is not Christmas! Well…it is to us!

We may not get to go on as many slides as we used to.

<<<<<<<<<<
more time watching kids swim and have less free time than we used to.

<<<<<<<<<<
t be any cute babies to battle over holding like there used to.

But….we still love it!

We love it and so do the kids!

<<<<<<<<<<
rate Christmas a unique way? What is your favorite unusual holiday tradition?

***All photos in this post are my own! Please make sure to ask before you share and don’t forget to give credit back to me if you use any!***

School Spirit is wearing me down

Last week was school spirit week.

What is Spirit Week? It’s a week of dress up days. Each day has a different theme and you use that theme to plan your outfit accordingly for that day! Basically, you play dress up all week! Growing up, I remember Spirit week leading up to our pep-rally as awesome and fun and good times. We loved dressing up and having fun with our friends. I remember spending hours trying to figure out the most awesome thing to wear! Then there’s the pep-rally! So much fun! I looked forward to it all year!!!

This year is the first year my boys school had Spirit Week. They had a pep rally, but none of the week long fun leading up to it. When I heard they were doing it, I was so excited! The kids are going to love this as much as I did! Then, I saw the list of dress up days.

Monday- Fave college sports team day

Tuesday- Fake an Injury Day

Wednesday- Professional Day

Thursday- Superhero Day

Friday- Blue and White Day

Minus Monday & Friday, all I see is way to much effort.

Monday….We have lots of Wisconsin Badger gear because of my brother Mike so…done. (Bad mom forgot to take a picture)

Tuesday…. Fake an Injury Day. This one I wasn’t a big fan of. Number one because my brother was handicapped. Number two because I don’t think it’s appropriate to make light of injuries. It’s teaching them that it’s ok to make jokes about people and their injuries…that it’s not important or hurtful. Number three…. because I don’t see why we need to teach our children to fake anything. Why teach them that faking an injury is ok? Needless to say….is a rough patch, But…I’m not about to let them down. I searched all over for different things they could use. LilSki ended up using an brace from when he broke both bones in his arm last October. I ended up finding some gauze wrap stuff for BigSki for his arm.

The part that REALLY got me was the kids that had beautifully done makeup to look like shiners or stitches. Time and care and extra effort put into special bandages and steri-strips. The kids looked great. Their injury looked fantastic! All I could do was look at my kids with their bandages arms and wonder if I should have tried harder. Then I remembered I was late for work and off I went.

Wednesday- Dress like a professional day. A professional what? A professional whatever-you-want (that’s appropriate for a Lutheran school that is) to be.

Meet my little professionals…

BigSki’s request to be a writer didn’t shock me. However…LilSki’s desire to be a scientist did. Alright google…whatcha got. I pulled up the google and looked up “kids scientist costume”.

Lab coats and goggles made a frequent appearance. Well, I didn’t have any of those an no way to get/make something like that in time so….new strategy. The kids got a “Tasty Science” kit for Christmas which has some test tube thing in them so…score! I tried to get him to go with a “mad scientist” look. Like the professor from the movie Flubber after an invention exploded in his face.

I’m talking spiked hair, goggles (swim ones cuz that’s all I got), and maybe some black smudges on his face. No dice. So, I made due with what I had and he looks pretty cute! Maybe not scientisty to some, but it’s all I got!

Thursday- Dress Like a Superhero Day!

Now this is a day I can get behind! I am all about the positive themes! Plus, I have to avenger obsessed children and a whole hoard of hero Halloween costumes! This one we got covered!

We got LilSki as Rocket from Guardians of the Galaxy bringing his new baby Groot with him because…when is Rocket every really without Groot! They are best buddies! Face it…I wanted to have a mom win by letting him bring it to school! Not often mom gets the win in our house! BigSki I was hoping would go as Starlord since we have that costume as well and it would complete the theme, but Alas…the boy is Batman obsessed (can’t say I blame him…he’s my fave super hero too) and HAD to go as Batman!

I was all for a nice easy day that didn’t require running around to look for something, make something, or improvise!

Friday- Blue & White Day/ School Spirit Day

Another somewhat easy one! Just wear school themed clothes! We bought the kiddos new gear for Christmas with BigSki starting basketball! So, that’s what we did! I also used an old blue eye liner pencil and wrote on their faces with it! Team name and for BigSki I drew a basketball and #5 (his number) as well!

Sadly, another “bad mom” moment…I forgot to take a photo! Honestly, we had Spirit Week and were packing for a weekend away for our final Christmas of the year so I got distracted and forgot. So here’s a pic of me sporting school colors in support of my boys!

Spirit week is over. While parts of it were fun, I am glad it is. It showed me that while I want the kids to dress up and have fun…I am not one of the pinteresty moms that is going all out making special outfits/costumes for their kids. I’m the mom that helps them find it, but encourages the kids to do it themself. Maybe I’m lazy. Maybe I’m encouraging independence and self motivation/creativity/reliance. Who knows. But I will say that while I LOVE Pinterest and have made many meals and some homemade things from there….I will never be a Pinterest mom.

***THE PHOTOS OF MY CHILDREN ARE MY OWN! The quote meme at the end I, myself, made for this post. But…the kids scientist photos are courtesy of Pinterest and the Flubber picture is from google and obviously not my own! Flubber is a great funny movie and if you haven’t seen it I recommend it! ***

Run the Year…a year long challenge!

After everything that happened end of last year….I needed something. Something to look forward too and plan. A challenge.

One of my son’s friend’s moms is a running fiend. Like…trying to run races in every state…multiple races a month…running fiend!! She was telling me that she is doing a different kind of race…a year long challenge. It’s called Run The Year!

This last year I have been doing more running. I ran 3 5k races end of last year alone! I’ve run maybe 5-10 races in my whole life and half of them were last year and most have been in the last 2 years.

A run for troops! 5k for the adults and a 1/4 mile for the kiddos!

Thanksgiving Day 5k run!!! No kiddos!

5k Run through Holiday lights. This was the day after my brother Mike’s funeral. A friend got me a button so I could make a button of my brother to wear when I run!

So, I thought it would be an interesting challenge. Why not?

What is run the year?

Basically you run 2,018 miles in 2018. The challenge started January first and obviously goes till December 31st! You can run it as an individual or you can do it as a team. As an individual you would have to run like 5 miles per day. I’m not quite to that level yet. For the team, you can have up to 4 people on it and each person’s miles ran contributes to the team’s total. It doesn’t have to be an even split either. But…it ends up being like 1.4 miles per person per day.

While I’m all about a challenge…let’s start a little smaller! Best part…I can sync my tracker with my Fitbit so I don’t have to actually log any miles! It does it all for me…cuz let’s face it…I would totally forget to log my miles!

I’m super excited because we are 14 days in and I already have 47.13 miles logged! 47 miles of my team’s current 112.35 total! That’s just under half the miles! I’m rocking this challenge out and am super proud of myself!! Maybe next year I can do it solo!

On top of the 2018 in 2018 challenge….I also made a goal to run one 5k per month for the whole year! Crazy? Maybe….but Andy and I enjoy 5k runs!

Today was our first race of 2018.

Our traditional pre-race selfie!

It was for our local zoo! For those who don’t know or don’t remember…I live in good ole Wisconsin and the run was an outdoor run…in a glorious 3 degrees. In other words….it was flipping cold out! You’re jealous, right?

The best part…there was like a 70/80 year old man who was running….IN SHORTS….WITHOUT A SHIRT!!! I wish I had taken a picture because it would have been a great “Only in Wisconsin” meme! I had thick leggings, two long sleeve shirts AND a sweatshirt on and this guy was in shorts and shirtless. Just the thought of it made me that much colder!

It was so cold that there were times I felt like my lungs were wind burned. I may need to invest in some sort of a face mask if I continue winter running in Wisconsin. (If any runners read this and have suggestions, let me know!) For running in such cold and just getting over being sick…I’m happy with my results. I finished in 36 minutes! No, that’s not fast. But fast isn’t how I roll.

These two memes that I found on Pinterest fit me and my running style to a T. For me, it’s not about speed. While beating my previous time is a bonus…all I care about is crossing the finish line. And I did that!!

Traditional finish line selfie!

Our Traditional Selfie at the Finishline!!

With it being a run named after a Gorilla…I kind of expected bananas at the finishline, but there wasn’t any. However, I cannot complain about the wonderfully warm and deliciously creamy tomato soup that a restaurant called Mo’s brought in! Sooo good and it completely hit the spot!

After the run we went into a few of the inside exhibits! My favorite was being the 4 month old baby gorilla!

Soooo stinking cute!!! I could have watched these two for quite a while!

It was a great day and a wonderful start to our 2018 race season! I’m hoping all races this year go this well or better! And the best part….

I got to run with my brother again! I’m thinking I am going to wear the button in memory of him for every race this year! A little tribute if you will!!

I’m going to end this blog with a question for any runners that may read this….Do you have any favorite races? How do you choose what races to run? What is your favorite race length?

**Memes courtesy of Pinterest! Run the year banner from their website posed with a link to the site! The rest are my own!**