The Happiest Place on Earth

Tonight we are heading to Disney World. To say that I am excited would be the understatement of the world. I have been feverishly planning, packing, re-packing, researching, and organizing since we decided that we were going in February.

Disney holds a very special place in my heart. I spent many a family vacation there as a kid and a college student and a young adult. My dad had conventions and business in Orlando a lot and we reaped the benefits many times over. I love everything about the Disney experience and I cannot wait to see it from the eyes of my children.

I will be a full circle moment, indeed.

I will be picking Shawn up from work and we will be driving until we cannot drive anymore. We are hoping to make it to Orlando by mid-afternoon and spend the rest of Saturday lounging by the pool and resting for the start of our big adventure on Sunday. There will be meals with Mickey and friends as well as the princesses, meeting Buzz Lightyear and all the Playhouse Disney gang. Our goal, like my summer goal, it to just have fun!!!!

Hopefully I will have time to post some pictures and a few words while we are there, but no guarantees.

AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH….I can’t believe this is happening!

Target is Awesome

Who doesn’t love Target?
I think if your don’t you are kind of un-American.
Not really, but who doesn’t love that place?

Where else can you go for an hour of clean family entertainment and also pick up a gallon of milk, a hose nozzle and tampons?

Megan always asks to go to Target to look at toys and today I was in the mood. Not that we didn’t have a full day before Target, but it was the icing on the cake so to speak.


20130625-221612.jpg why, yes, I did take pictures of my kids in the Target parking lot

I spent almost two hours in exercise classes today. I am hooked on Cardio Mix which is like kick-boxing, step aerobics, and weight training all in one. Boy, am I sweaty at the end of it. I also love Power Core and Muscle Max. I get such a high in those classes. If you would have asked me in January if I would be going to aerobics class everyday at this point I would have given that a big hell-to-the-no. But I am finding that fitness classes are giving me that push I have needed to move forward in my weight loss. Since I spend zero time lifting weights on my own, it gives me a great opportunity to learn technique and get a really awesome work-out in on the daily.

I also love the companionship and the team effort that happens in class. Even though the are all working at individual fitness levels, there is something about being “in this together” that makes me want to join in, work a bit harder, and push myself to a level that makes me proud.
I was thinking today as I was doing like a million and one chest presses, “you deserve this…you owe it to yourself to push yourself harder than you think you can, your results will be a reflection of the effort you put forth at this moment.” Those words were so true, so clear. My journey is mine. I am the owner of my life…not my husband or my kids or my mom or my friends or my boss or my students…it is just me. I deserve better than I give myself on most days. I need to stop and recognize that I, too, am deserving of all the love and the graciousness and the hard work that I give everyone else.

That is deep. It feels good. I feel good.

Finally, I tried some chicken sausage per my friend Beth’s suggestion. I have to say, I loved it. I ate it with eggs this morning and pasta this evening and it was darn good. I need to find some more food variety in my life. I eat the same things over and over again until I am sick of them. I am so bored with chicken breasts. Tomorrow I am going to try a black bean burger that I picked up in the freezer section last night. I am hoping for the best. I do love a great veggie burger.

Until then, have a great night. Does anyone have a great exercise class they would like to share?

Monday Happenings

Another great weekend is in the books. I know being off all summer means everyday is like a weekend day, but it is different when Shawn is working during the week…weekends are really for family time.

This weekend was packed with smiles but also a bit of sadness. We spent time hanging with friends and going to our church festival which is always a blast. It is so nice to see my students and their parents in a relaxed setting. Megan and Tyler loved the rides and the games and just being the center of attention with everyone. I don’t know about you, but growing up church festivals were not a “thing” in my town, but in Cincinnati they are big, like really big. I had to reel in my obsessiveness and just put the kids on the scary carnival rides. In the end, Shawn was more nervous about it then I was!

The dad of one of Shawn’s friends died on Friday night. He had suffered cancer for a while. We went to the wake yesterday and will be attending the funeral today. This is the second funeral I have attended of a friend’s father who has lost his life to cancer since my dad died. It is hard because I know exactly what they are going through and even more so, I know what the years to come bring. It is rough.

The circle of life, I tell you, sometimes is is awesome, but sometimes it sucks.

In other news, I went 936 calories over my goal for Saturday. Not good. Even when I am on great swing I still have setbacks. I am human, I have to accept the choices I make and own them and move on.

It was a hard week for me on the diet/exercise front because my mom was here. Not that she is a bad influence, but I am a creature of habit and it is hard when my schedule gets messed up . I will say we did a ton of active things with the kids…things that a few months ago I would have skipped because it would have been too much walking, too hot, excuses, excuses, excuses.

I am ready for this week…we will be knee deep in getting organized for our BIG VACATION which we leave for on Friday. So exciting!!!!! I post coming this week about where we are venturing and what we are going to do.

Shout out to one of my second mamas…My BFF’s mom who is having hip replacement today. Pat, you will be in my prayers and hopefully the prayers of some of my Internet friends too!!!

here are some pictures from last week…if you are local to Cincinnati, Sawyer Point and The Cincinnati Children’s Museum are great options if you’re looking for something a little different to do!







Life is Good

Life is moving way too quickly. I feel like June is slipping through my fingers in the most glorious, wonderful way. Our days and nights have been packed…just the way I like it.

I have two major goals for the summer:

1. Lose weight by exercising and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
2. HAVE FUN!!!!!

I must say, I have been killing it.

It has been so freeing not to wake up to an alarm clock. It’s funny because I still wake up at the same time as I was waking up during the school year on most days. But, the art of having a slow morning is my favorite, I would say I have perfected it! I will not say that I am lucky to be a teacher, because I have worked hard for that status. But, I am blessed that I am in love with a profession that allows me to stay home in the summer. Lovely.

My major goals for the summer are an exciting and fantastic work in progress. I do not go to bed at night if my goals have not been accomplished. I will give a full report on my exercise and lifestyle goals at some point this summer…but not just yet.

For now, we are gearing up for our first family vacation, just the four of us, since, well, ever. Oh, and it is a doosey. I will go more into detail on those plans early next week.

Excitement is in the air and I am loving life right now.



A Great Weekend

We had a fabulous weekend that went by at a pace I was comfortable with…not too fast, not too slow. On Saturday morning, Shawn declared that it would be a “stay-cation” day in which we would stay in the area but pretend we were on vacation.

I started with an awesome Muscle Max class in the morning. Megan went to the Kids Cardio class and Tyler stayed in the Kids Club (Shawn slept…he does work second shift, you know!). That class SLAYED ME! Oh my, I felt muscles I never knew I had…more on my love affair with classes at the gym in another post.

When we got home Shawn was just finishing up with mowing the lawn and we took about 15 minutes to clean up and get changed for the pool.




As the pictures show, we had a great time. Many of our neighborhood friends were also there so it made for a fun day for both the kids and the adults. We stayed at the pool way too long (remember, we are on vacation and staying at the pool until early evening is mandatory!). We all changed and headed to dinner at the local pizza place. We never go there and when you are inside it does feel like you are on vacation. After dinner we finished the evening with a very “vacation-ey” type activity..PUTT PUTT!


So. Much. Fun. We came home at dusk sunkissed and exhausted. It was a such a great day and just what the doctor ordered.

For Father’s Day Shawn golfed in the morning and then we headed to his parents house for a BBQ with the family. When we came home it seemed like most of the neighborhood was out in our park and we joined them for some baseball and running around. Then the adults and kids gathered for an impromptu campfire.

It was a lovely weekend. Truly one of the best weekends we have had in a very long time. I know I have said it before, but I just love the summer so much. And this weather is to die for!! I know I will be cursing the heat in the next month or two but right now I have zero to complain about. It made Father’s Day a bit more bearable for me and I did appreciated some really kind words Shawn spoke at the end of the night. Love my guy!


Lessons from Father’s Day

It has been 974 days since I lost my father to cancer. I have thought about him every one of those days, multiple times a day. There are so many times that I still want to pick up the phone and call him. He was the first person I always called with anything in my adult life. He always listened, I mean, really listened. It can be for something silly or something sad or just to hear his voice. I think his voice is what I miss the most.

Father’s Day is always the worst holiday for me to get through. I try to keep positive for my kids and my husband, they deserve a great day. But, on the inside I am ripped to shreds. I miss my dad. When he died, a part if me died as well. He was the greatest man I ever knew. He taught me how to ride a bike and drive a car…but his lessons about enjoying life’s journey are the ones I like to keep in my back pocket. He loved hard, he worked hard, he played hard and he lived life not as a dress rehearsal. He was a good great man.

This Father’s Day I celebrated my family, and I loved spending the day with the four most important people in my life. I laughed, I cried.

I miss my dad. I love my dad. I want him to be proud of me and the legacy that I have continued.


Last Night’s Dinner…Amazing

I would like to preface this post by saying it is not sponsored by Bertolli. Let’s be serious, no one is sponsoring this girl for anything at this point. HA!

So, last night I decided to try the Bertolli Classic Meal for Two, tomato florentine and tortellini with chicken, that has been sitting in my freezer for bout three months. I couldn’t decide what I wanted for dinner for a few reasons. First of all, I had lunch with one of my BFF’s and it was a big one and a very high calorie, delicious one. I also went to work out in the late afternoon and sometimes after I have a hard work-out I don’t know what I have a taste for. Finally, I am trying to clean out the fridge, pantry and freezer for the next couple of weeks and that means one thing and one thing only…nothing in the pantry, fridge or freezer will sound good. Ever.

Well, let me tell you, it was a very pleasant surprise. I loved it. I cannot even begin to explain how delicious it was. It was a combination of all of my favorites in a soup. The tortellini tasted fresh and the spinach was well cooked. Oh, and the chicken even tasted like something I just made and not that funky chicken you sometimes get in pre-packaged meals. Delish.

And, it looked like the picture. Yum. Go out and buy this immediately. Seriously, go. Now. Right now. Stop reading.

The end

Saturday Fun

In keeping with my random TV from my youth theme, let’s talk about Felicity. What a great show! Keri Russell changed the way I wanted to live my life…she was so introspective and I just, I just wanted to be her. Another character that had lots of drama and lots of boy trouble. Another show. that I want to que up and watch again.

Today was a great day. I started it with a Muscle Max class and ended it with Megan sleeping on my lap. Tyler and Shawn went down to the Reds game and Megan went to a Pirate Princess birthday party for a little one down the street. After the party I took Megan to a fair down the rode and she rode a pony for the first time.


The girl will not pet a dog but she was more than willing to ride the pony. Kids are funny that way. I also found a darling dress for her. She was just the sweetest thing all night long.

We ended the night at our favorite go-to store, Kohl’s. I found a great pair of workout shoes. I was in desperate need. My Brookes never did break themselves in, so I had to bite the bullet and buy something else. Asic’s this time. They felt great when I tried them on but only time will tell.

Tomorrow is the last day if soccer. I am planning a full post about how the season went. Hopefully we can it in an afternoon of poolside fun as well.

I hope all of you are having a great weekend!

Oh, and one more thing…Ty got his first blood nose last night. He got hit with a whiffle bat. He was fine and I am sure this is the first of many.


Neighborhood Drama

Do you remember that TV show, “My So Called Life”? I hardly remember any of the specific story lines but I do remember that I loved the show and I had to watch it. To this day when I see Claire Danes I always think of Angela Chase and Jordan Catalano. Weird, right?

Angela always had a lot of made up drama in her life. She was always sulking about something whether it be boy trouble or her classes or her parents. She just never seemed happy. This is the exact opposite attitude I have had all of my life so I am not sure what drew me into the show.

I am also not sure why I brought that up. But, I digress. Today I am going to talk about friendship and specifically making friends. I have said before that I really enjoying meeting new people and making new friends. I love learning the “story” of someone’s life and making connections with people through shared experiences. Friendship is something that I work at and doesn’t just happen on a whim. I foster friendships and I listen and take the time to get to know people.

I have a few really wonderful life-long friends, I have many acquaintances and people who are just coming into my life now, and I have a couple of former friends whom I shared commonality with at one time but for some reason that are no longer in my life.
I cannot ever remember having to deal with mean girls in my life. And if I did, I probably just wrote them off before I got to know them. Even as a kid I could not stand mean people and I just steered clear of the drama. I was too busy with sports and dance and socializing to have time for it.

So, it pains me to see that Megan, at age 3.5, is already having to deal with means girls in our neighborhood. So many times the “big girls” (5-8year olds) use Megan to play with until someone better comes along. They are nice to her only when it is convenient for them. It is pathetic to watch because Meg just wants to play and be friends with everyone. She still has an innocent spirit about her…one that I would like to keep intact at least until her 4th birthday.

I usually don’t say anything because I just don’t know what to say. I feel like it is the girls mother’s job to teach them about fostering friendship. I keep telling Megan “in order to have a friend you need to be a friend.” I just keep reiterating that she needs to be nice to everyone, no matter what.

Do other people spend time saying this to their own children? I know they do because there are also some very sweet, kind girls on our street and their moms are sweet and kind as well.

Today a girl came over played with her until another little one came over and then proceeded to say, “so and so is coming over to my house now. Megan can’t come.” I sort of lost it a bit. I told the girl that she was not being very nice to Megan and that was not a friendly thing to do. I also looked at a crying Megan and said, “so and so is not being a very good friend. Let her go home.”

Why do kids always gravitate to the mean ones?

It is going to be along summer. UUUUGGGGHHHH.

I can’t stand to see my girl cry. I just hate it. And I never thought it would start so early. I feel like crying myself. But I know this is just the beginning. I just wish my generation of parents could break the cycle of meanies. I wish we could band together and say, “no more.”

I can assure you that mean little girls will turn into mean big girls if we don’t teach them not to do it. Today’s playground bully can easily turn into tomorrow’s cyber bully if we are not careful. I have seen it in my classroom and I have dealt with both sides more times then I can even count.

I am not saying that I will not have to have my own very personal discussion with my daughter someday. She may one day need someone to tell her to be nice. I am not naive about that. But I know that I can be proactive in shaping her into the girl, young woman, and lady that I would like her to be. I want both of my kids to always have the golden rule in the back of their minds. I want them to think of a person’s feelings and how their own words can bring positivity or negativity to our playground, our school, our workplace, etc.

Today I took a stand for my daughter who was not able to stand up for herself. I will do it again and again and again. Whether you are a mother, a father, an aunt, grandparent or special friend. Be the voice for those who are too tender, too innocent to speak for themselves.

Will you join me in a peaceful pursuit of friendship for our kids?

because she is worth it, we all are