Our Simple Pleasures

celebrating life one moment at a time

What a great get-away to kick off summer!  Our only wish was that the weather would have been more summery, but hey, we’ll take time away when we can get it!

Tuesday – we arrived in Duluth and took a Vista Fleet Cruise in the harbor.   A huge red blob on the weather radar had us only staying in the harbor and not heading into Lake Superior.   The waves were fairly choppy and the weather was not the kindest for a boat ride!   We went back to the hotel and swam for awhile before eating our yummy homemade meatloaf and mashed potato dinners I packed.   After dinner, we headed out to Betty’s Pies for dessert.   That didn’t turn out very well, as Punky ended up eating way too much and puking at Betty’s Pies.   Thankfully, they were very gracious and kept thanking us for telling them about Punky’s mishap.  We headed back to Superior Shores and went to bed.

Wednesday – it was chilly!  We saw Leif Erikson Park and visited with Marlys Wolden.  We toured the William A Irvin ship and went to Grandma’s for lunch.   We  were so full from lunch we barely needed dinner.  The tour was fascinating.  The boys loved it.   I ended up bailing half way through due to the heights we climbed on the ship.  I was ok with that!   I did take the complete tour when we were on our honeymoon in 2003.   🙂   I was braver then, i guess.   We hit a few shops in Canal Park then headed back to the pool and our hotel.

Thursday – We hit Gooseberry Falls and had so much fun hiking around the area.   The boys just ate it all up!  Henry loves to throw rocks into waters so he was in heaven!  Punky and Keith took a small excursion over to see the falls up close while Mommy and Kirby just chilled on some big rocks!  It was all so beautiful!   We hit Two Harbors to recreate a photo I had taken in 2008 with Punky with Kirby.  We then headed back to the Twin Cities for baseball and tee-ball practices!

What a quick yet oh-so-fun get-away!   LOts of memories were built!


Such a fun trip!   Glad we have turned this into an annual trip with the boys.  ❤ ❤

Categories: life

Twelve more days until I can enjoy a whole whopping 79 days SCHOOL FREE with my boys!   79 Days!

During that 79 days, my boys and I will make a bucket list and slowly cross off items we do.   We will meet our new TWIN addition to the family (My brother and sister-in-law are due in August!)

It’s been a long 7 years since I have taken the entire summer off, and I am ready!!!!!

We will kick off our time off with a trip to Duluth with Hubby.  🙂   The boys and I are so excited!

Sometime next weekend, we will complete a summer bucket list for Summer 2017!  🙂  I am hoping to host each of my nephews for some time here as well!   🙂

I know we will be busy with Punky’s baseball and Kirby’s t-ball, but I have so many plans for the time around those activities!   🙂

12 more days and let SUMMER BEGIN!







Categories: life

It has been quite awhile since I have blogged, and I need to change that.   Blogging is where I find my peace… my inner reflections…and me.

I will not take loads of time here catching you up on our doings… that’s what Facebook is for, right?  And God knows, I never update Facebook!   😉

This weekend brings Spring Break 2017 to a close.   I can’t quite put my finger on my thoughts about that.  I seem to be an emotional mess right now underneath the Mom duties.

I took the boys down to Illinois to visit with my family.  My brain would not shut off…neither would my heart.

When I go home, it’s like I expect everything to be how I left it back in 1992 when I moved away for college… and it’s not.  I always see my parents as in their 40s… because I feel so young still.  But, they are not.  Hell, I am 43, so that wouldn’t make sense mathematically… but sometimes your brain doesn’t follow logic.

Things I really noticed when I was home…

I love watching my kids with my parents.

I love watching my kids period.   In a perfect world, I would stay home and be a mom.

All of our lives are so busy now.

I miss chatting with my sister as frequently as we used to chat…

I miss all the times I sat and chatted with my Dad as he grilled our dinner to perfection.

My brother makes me laugh incredibly hard.

I am head over heels ecstatic for my brother and my sister-in-law as they await the births of their TWINS!   🙂

I miss chatting with my mom as often as we used to chat…every morning on my way to work.

I miss my grandma.  She’s been gone for almost 3 years now.

Crazy how much life changes in three years.

Going to 5:00 Mass with my parents was eye opening…..so many people from my childhood and yet so many new faces.  So fun to see the people I remembered, but then again, realizing how time sure does fly by…

I think the best time I had with my parents was when we went out for pizza… just me and the boys and them… I just felt such a serenity and peace – happiness.  I wish I could have bottled it.

Just watching the pure love my kids have for their grandparents… it’s almost magical as their love is so pure and awe-inspiring.   They talk about them all of the time up here, but when they are with them, magic happens.

The car ride I had with my boys – to and from Chicago.  Such fun singing, listening to podcasts, talking and laughing!   It was fun to answer all the questions about when I met Daddy and all about our wedding.

My nephews! I love them so!   I love the time I get to spend with them each over the summer!   They are such cool kids and my kids adore them!  🙂   Can’t wait to add to the cousin pool with my brother’s and his wife’s TWINS!

Sitting and paging through my childhood photo albums Mom made for me.   Wow.   I am so incredibly lucky to have so much of my childhood documented.  As I paged through the pics and quickly scanned some photos for myself, I kept think of how the pics looked so much like “This is Us”… and that made me sad and happy….and teary.

Watched the season finale to “This is Us” with my mom and dad.  Life is way too short.  I keep thinking of William and his advice to Randall before he passed away…“Roll all your windows down, Randall. Crank up the music, grow out that fro, let someone else make your bed.”  Perfect advice.

I love my hubby.  In the time I was away, we never spoke on the phone as when the days were winding down, I was chasing a certain kid and making him get to sleep.  When I would lie down and go to bed, I would think about all we’ve been through and where we are going and my heart smiled proudly.  I have a good guy, and I love him completely.   I’m sure he enjoyed his days of peace and quiet while we were gone, but it is so nice to be back in our “normal” and our “crazy.”  (And it is CRAZY!)

In my head I always strive for enjoying the little things in life.  The moments that make me heart sing, my eyes smile, and my inner-self beam… they sure do happen often. More often than I used to notice.

But, as spring break comes to a close, I need to remember that those moments only get realized when I take care of myself and de-stress the craziness around me…and THAT is what I will take away from this fantastic spring break.

Life is short.  “Roll all your windows down.  Crank up the music, grow out that fro, let someone else make your bed.”

Thank you to my wonderfully awesome family who once again opened their arms for us for the  5 days we were home!  Can’t wait to see you in 22 sleeps for my Dad’s 70th Birthday Celebration Weekend!

Love you guys!










Categories: life

wow.  Tomorrow kicks off my 21st year teaching.  How time flies. (Don’t remind me that my 1st class of second graders are all now getting married and having kids!)

tomorrow kicks off a new adventure.  Back to the classroom after 6 years being in the lead role for our department.  I’ll be teaching three Alt Skills classes and an Alt ELA (Reading/ENglish block class).   I AM PUMPED!

I don’t even remember the last time I had a Labor Day weekend like this one.  Relaxed. Calm. Refreshed. Ready to go!

Tomorrow Punky will venture on to fifth grade.  Can’t believe he’ll be at my school next year!   Kirby will still be at Kristall’s for daycare.   She does such a fantastic job with the kids, and this will be the year where Punky will be a “big kid” and hopefully step into a new role helping his friends.   We decided in the last week to hold off on preschool with him.  I have no academic concerns, but I just can’t fathom him turning 18 then a week later leaving for college.  I also don’t want him to be the “young kid” when he’s in middle school or high school, as those kids tend to stand out.  So, next year he will do preschool, and then the following year, he will start kindergarten.  This way he’ll be about teh same age as Punky was when Punky started.   No reason to rush a childhood in today’s society!

So, tomorrow I embark on a new adventure.  One I have great passion for and great ideas.   I step foot into my classroom…and hopefully make real connections with kids and help them to be better people.

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I have recycled worksheet after worksheet.  I threw out busy work sheets on building character.   You don’t learn about character by doing work sheets.  you DO.   We are going to do projects – hands-on experiences – activities – secret missions – and SHOW people our new skills.   It’s all about learning how to enjoy life, relax, and love the little things.  This is an exciting year, and I am ready for it!


13769384_10153574890401786_2632481130427760746_nI am completely overwhelmed by the kindness of others!

I proposed a project on DonorsChoose.org and raised over $1700 in the past few days to get my students ChromeBooks for our upcoming school year.

A friend at church paid for a “bar-like table” for my classroom as I explore flexible seating options.

My kids helped me bring 2 loads of stuff over to school today to get the stuff OUT OF MY HOUSE!

A parent of a former student of mine dropped off magazines for my classroom as we have many projects planned for their use!

My position back in the classroom next year leaves me with TONS of time this summer to be with my kids.   What a blessing!  There’s not a day that I don’t thank God for our new “normal” around here.   I take in every. single. moment. with these two and rejoice in the time off that I have with them!  This summer is so stress-free and freeing not only to me, but to my family.   I had no idea how much I had on my plate.

It is so eye-opening to enjoy the every day little things….the tickles, the smiles, the questions, the explanations, the sports banter….and not be rushed and hurried and always- on- the- go.  It’s okay to stop what I’m doing and snuggle with a tired Kirby for 1/2 hour while we “chill.”   It’s ok to stop what I am doing and sit down with Punky and really listen to his ideas and comments about the world, sports, and life in general.   These two boys amaze me every single day, and I am so thankful that I have this time with them.  Such a different feel to this summer, and I absolutely LOVE it!

It is so freeing to know that I have almost a month left with these guys before I really start back to school.  It’s even more fun to see how excited they are to help me get ready for school.  Their excitement as they run to my new room is heartwarming.  I seriously have never in the past 6 years just lived in the moment during summer – there was always work to be done.

I am so unbelievably blessed and I am so thankful for all of the blessings I have in my life.  These two little boys are my focus right now…as it should be.    Thank you, God, for all of the eye-opening, life-changing,  and A-ha moments this summer.   I am truly blessed.


P.S. My FitBit has been acting up and falling apart.  I emailed them and asked if that was normal for an 8 month old purchase.   They are replacing my FitBit free!   WOW!   THANK YOU!  Another blessing! 









Categories: life

Wow!   Summer is half over!!!!   We have been very busy and enjoying every single minute of it!


We took out own little family vacation in Duluth.   Monday – Thursday of pure together time.   It was so nice.   Everything was beautiful, and I loved reconnecting with my boys after the crazy school year ended.   We had a lot of fun, and hope to return again soon!

Punky finished up his baseball season.  He will now be on the all-star team.   He has decided to hang up his football gear and play fall Baseball this year.   He will also play basketball again this winter.

My mom and dad came to visit us for 6 days!  We had lots of fun.  We took a boat ride on the St. Croix River.   We spent sometime in Stillwater, too.   We spent time at the Coon Rapids Dam.   We hit the cute stores in Anoka.  We had insanely planned on driving up to Itasca State Park to see the beginning of the Mississippi River, but that didn’t work in to our plans.   Maybe another time!  Mom and I took a Salad in a Jar class at the Thomas Reese Oil Company.  It was awesome!   I will be back there soon!

After mom and dad left, I knew I’d get sick as the stress of the end of the school year and then my trip to Duluth and their visit.  The second my body had time to relax—-a double ear infection and sinus infection.  Awesome.   😦


I spent the fist few days of this month on the couch…popping my antibiotics and watching as many Orange is the New Black episodes as I could stay awake for.

July 7 – 14th we spent in Orlando Florida with my entire family – Mom, Dad, my sister, her husband, their 2 boys, my brother, his wife, and then our clan.   IT. WAS. HOT!  Heat index predictions each day were 105- 109 degrees.   You would just walk out of the hotel at 9 AM and start dripping sweat.   It was insanely hot.  Despite the heat, we managed to hit all 4 Disney Theme Parks as well as a day at the Kennedy Space Station.  We even got to relax at the awesome pool and hotel we were at… if only for a few hours.  It was busy, but the kids had a blast!

After we flew back home on Thursday, I booked a flight to Chicago to attend the wake and funeral of my best friend’s dad.  It was so nice to reconnect with her and her family.  I try to see her as often as I can when we are “home” together.  My parents and her mom still live 3 houses apart.  She’s quite an amazing person, as I’m sure you know, I’ve blogged about her before!   🙂  Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, here and here!

This weekend kicks off a week here with my nephew.   He likes to come up and spend some time with his cousins…and we love when he is here!


I am so looking forward to the the rest of our summer.  We have some plans, but lots of relaxing, hanging out, and getting things ready for my classroom!   (How exciting is that!?!?   So excited to be headed back this fall!  It’s been 6 years since I was in the classroom!)

I’ll be back soon… I promise!  😉


Categories: life

I brought my little stick figure family card to work today (The one I blogged about the other day) to try to keep my thoughts up.

It was still a rough day.

I just hate this.

Anyway, I emailed Hubby after a few meetings I had this morning, and 30 seconds later my phone rang.   Hubby was calling.   He asked if he could put a big huge light at the end of this tunnel by booking a few nights in Duluth with the boys right after school gets out.  He said it would be so awesome to get away after dealing with all this stuff this spring.  He asked if that would help me.  My answer, “YES!  I would love to spend time up there with him and our boys.  A Perfect kickoff to an awesome summer!”

Do you know how much I love this man?

Thank you sweetie!  I can’t wait!   I love you!


Categories: life

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