Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 Top 10

I'm totally copying some friends of mine and doing my own Top 10 list for the year. (Disclaimer: My family is always above everything on this list and blah blah blah so they don't have their own individual slot but for the record they are tippity-tops.)

10. Volunteering I spent most Fridays this year helping out in Ava's kindergarten class. At first, 30+ kindergartners in a small enclosed space was overwhelming but now it's the best thing when one of her friends spends the night at my house and still calls me "Miss Tracey". Plus, I get to pretend I'm Billy Madison every time I ride the school bus on field trips. In the last two months of this year I also started volunteering at the food pantry in Bay View and I stepped up to be co-leader for Ava's Daisy Scout troop. We'll see what new adventures that will bring.

9. Seeing my BFF graduate nursing school. Steph used to always go on about how she had never graduated anything before. Well she can't say that anymore! The speech she gave at the pinning ceremony had me, and many others, in tears. I'm like a proud proud mama when it comes to her accomplishments and now my best friend of twenty years is a freaking nurse!

8. Kentucky Road Trip It may sound a bit weird but Jason and I go on vacations specifically to eat. This year we drove to Louisville and had one of the best meals ever at the Seelbach Hotel. Yep, four star dining in Kentucky. Whoulda thought? Touring the Woodford Reserve distillery was the icing on the cake. Now if only we could bring home a barrel in 2010.

7. Eating Well. I can't say this enough times but I'm so glad that I finally started appreciating good food. Some of my favorites this year were the of course Seelbach, Carnevor, Lake Park Bistro and the James Beard Foundation dinner at Bacchus. We also enjoyed places like Hinterland, Mr B's, Saketumi and Balzac. Good times. (Also, good thing I like to work out so much.)

6. The Presidential Inauguration in D.C. This was one of the most amazing things I've ever been a part of and I'm so glad we were able to to take the girls with. I will never get over how full of joy that mob of a million people was and it was beyond worth it to be smooshed for a few hours. When I see photos or video of that day on tv it still seems unreal that we were there. This has been a rough year for our country but I have faith that we will pull through and recapture that feeling of hope and elation again. Rock it, B-rock.

5. Blogging I found my blogging voice again! It started with Milwaukee Moms and now Fit Milwaukee really seems to be taking off. We have so many plans for fitMKE in 2010- from the weight loss challenge to sponsoring our own race. Everyone working on it is pumped. Much thanks to Brennan for brining everyone together to work on the project!

4. Becoming a "Real" Runner You knew this was coming. Although I ran my first 5K in September of 2008 I dont feel like I really came into my own as a runner until this year. At my last count I ran 10 races since April from ( 5K, 10K, half marathon and marathon) and I'm getting ready for my final race of the year this morning. I'm so glad that I challenged myself to do this and it's been so rewarding in every sense. I've logged 1,000 miles since I started keeping track on April 1st so who knows what's in store for next year?

3. The Badgerland Striders I don't know if you know this about me but I'm a total hermit. After living in Milwaukee for four years I've always felt like I've had a hard time making friends until I joined the marathon build up runs. I was SO nervous that first Saturday like I was a little kid. Turns out our little group of 10 minute milers stuck together all summer, through thick and thin and crossed the finish line together! I love that Anne and I have kept up the Saturday long runs post-marathon even in the freezing cold and I can't wait to meet up again with some of the others again to start training for the spring marathon.

2. Lakefront MarathonThe absolute highlight of my running year. I can never thank my bestest running buddy Anne enough for convincing me to do it. I doubt I will ever feel like I did at the finish line again when I saw that little crowd of people holding signs with MY name. I'm sure going to try though.

1. The Internet. (Specifically Daily Mile and above all Twitter.) In case I haven't said this enough, I'm a total introvert. This year the Internet really brought me out of my shell- not only online but in real life. Every day I login to Daily Mile and am inspired and motivated by the people I've connected with on there. And Twitter? I've met some of the most amazing people this year on Twitter that I can't even begin to name them all because I'm sure i"ll leave somebody out. I've been fortunate to meet many of them outside of just on the computer screen and I hope to meet many more in the coming year. Milwaukee Tweeps are the best! Holla.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Happy 6th Birthday Ava!

Here's the video I made for Ava's birthday. I didn't get a title sequence on it yet so that's why it's black at the beginning but otherwise, enjoy!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Don't Be A Jerk, It's Christmas

This is so my favorite Christmas Song right now! I am such a sucker for Spongebob. "Tis the season to be jolly, not jerky....

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Making Christmas

I am a Christmas-making MACHINE! Once I set my mind to something I tend to overdo it and holiday preparations are no exception. It's not that I'm necessarily trying to be Supermom but once I get in a particular mode I just go into ultra-mega-overdrive. This week I decided that Thou Shalt Be Christmatized and attacked my surroundings appropriately. Christmas lights up on the porch? Check. Candied pecans in the oven? Check. Christmas card photo and 2010 calendars printed, gingerbread house decorated and Christmas tree bedazzled? Checkity-check-check. Mom: 1 Christmas: 0. Wait. That doesn't sound right. Let's just say we are all winners! Oh and did I mention that I ordered almost all my gifts online already? Double win! I'm not trying to gloat, I just figure that I'm going to be coming down from this high soon and I want to remember this feeling when my cats have torn down the tree and I haven't wrapped a single item at midnight on the 23rd. Until somebody invents a way to bottle efficiency I'm savoring the moments I can get. Now if you'll excuse me I have some peanut blossoms to bake.

*This post is from

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Dear Santa,

If I find this dress under my tree on Christmas I promise to totally rock it on New Year's Eve.


P.S Size 4


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Shameless Plug

Things have really started to pick up at! We've had weekly group runs at the lakefront and this past Sunday we joined up with Pain in the Park for a great circuit workout. (And when I say "great" that means I was seriously sore for a good two days afterward.) I've really enjoyed meeting local fitness nuts and hope we can find a way to keep something going through he cold, dark, Wisconsin winter. Indoor marathon anyone? I kid, I kid. (At least I think.)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Juliana is a vegetarian. Or least she said last week that she wanted to be a vegetarian. So I went out of my way to try and teach her about making sure she gets enough protein and to tell her that going veggie doesn't just mean eating toast and cookies for every meal and then she hits me with:

"I know but I"m only going to be a vegetarian until next Thursday."

Because apparently she was TRIPLE DOG DARED by Miss Madilyn that she couldn't possibly make it one week without eating meat. And everyone KNOWS that if someone triple dog dares you than you HAVE to take the dare unless everyone will call you chicken.

Do I sense a talk about peer pressure coming on next?

Saturday, October 31, 2009


*This post originally appeared on

I have a confession to make: I'm a Bears fan. i realize this is nothing short of blasphemy in Wisconsin but I tell you, I really can't help it. It's in my bloooood. But seriously, as much as I love Milwaukee I'm a Chicago girl at heart. Well, technically I grew up in Rockford, Illinois but we'll forget about that little technicality. It's much cooler to say you are from Chi-cah-go right? And I did go to college there so…where was I?

Ah, yes. Da Bears. It takes a special kind of person to keep cheering for a team that seems perennially doomed. (See also: Chicago Cubs) For me though, I learned all about football in the year 1985. You know, the year of infamous '85 Bears, Walter Payton, Jim McMahon, the Super Bowl Shuffle. I still remember that fall when I was 7-years old-and I asked my dad to start explaining all the rules to me. I loved getting to sit on the couch with him, eating Doritos and yelling at the tv when there was a bad play (whether or not I even understood what was going on.)

It was the first sport I ever cared about and the first team I ever cheered for and they made it all the way to the Super Bowl and WON! How exciting! My parents had a Super Bowl party with all their friends and I made decorations. At school, my second grade class made posters to hang in the hallway. You couldn't go anywhere without hearing that song, "We are the Bears Shufflin' Crew…" Remember how awfully awesome that was?

These days it's a little different. Painful, you might say. 1985 is a mere memory and here I am living in Packer Land. My beloved team has not been on top of the mountain since and they had a disastrous appearance in the Super Bowl just couple of years ago. And let's not even mention last Sunday's game, shall we?

But still I soldier on. I wear my blue and orange to the grocery store on Sundays to pick up beer and snacks despite all the dirty looks. I watch every game and even when they are down and out I still believe! I could live in Wisconsin the rest of my life but I'll still cheer for my scrappy, infuriating, Chicago Bears. I keep on cheering in the name of da SNL Super Fans, for Clark W. Griswold in his Bears hat, for Ditka and for The Fridge. And I cheer because I know my dad is at home cheering as well, mostly likely tearing off his cap in frustration and hurling it at the tv shouting "STUPID D@$# BEARS!"

Hey, at least we didn't sign Favre.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Gessner Media Bonanza Continues...

This morning I was lucky to be asked to talk about marathon running/being a fit mom on TMJ4's Morning Blend. I admit, I am not a regular watcher of daytime talk shows and I was pretty nervous about appearing on it but it ended up being a lot of fun. Molly and Matthew were easy to talk to and it sort of felt like a regular conversation except with really good lighting. Thanks so much to Sonya Jongsma Knauss from Milwaukee Moms for asking me and for thinking that I had something interesting to say:

Monday, October 19, 2009

I'm Not a Stage Mom, I Swear.

Ava has been a bit of a media sensation around here lately. A couple of weeks ago she appeared on the Fox 6 morning show in a segment about fall events at the Milwaukee Public library. Plus, she also appeared in a video about getting library cards that is being shown to 1st graders around the city. (Yes, yes, I have a connection at the MPL so that's why I got her the hook up.) Juliana was "too shy" to take part but if you look closely in the library card video you will see a photograph of her in the shot where I open up my wallet.


And if you didn't see the morning show video yet you can find it here:

The Musical Circle of Life

*This post originally appeared at

This past Sunday, Jason and I drove the girls to Madison to see the band "They Might Be Giants" perform at the Barrymore Theatre. If you're not familiar with who they are you may have heard some of their songs on television. They sang the theme song for Higglytown Heroes on the Disney Channel as well as the opening song "Boss of Me" for the sitcom Malcolm in the Middle. They've also been featured on PBS and Cartoon Network and their kids cds, "NO!", "Here Come the ABCs", "Here Come the 123s" and "Here Comes Science" are wildly popular- especially in my house. Originally an alternative rock band, their shift to writing children's music has given me an common interest with my kids that I wasn't expecting.

Jason and I have been huge fans of the band for more than fifteen years now. (Yes, I said FIFTEEN years and just writing that number down kind of took me back a bit. Geez.) Jon Flansburgh and John Linnell started out in the early eighties as a quirky rock duo and gained popularity during the nineties with the alternative music crowd. Their most popular album, "Flood" just went platinum nearly twenty years after it's original release. I have great memories of going to see the Giants with my friends back in high school and I love the fact that we are now able to take our kids to see the same rock band we saw back in the day. At the same venue nonetheless! Walking into the Barrymore Theatre, it felt like I had just been there jumping up and down and singing with the crowd of people in front of the stage. Now here I was with my two kids standing in the exact same spot. If you would have told me fifteen years ago...blah, blah, you get the rest.

Probably the best part of a TMBG kids show (besides the CONFETTI MACHINE!) is listening to all the parents sing along. Most of the Giants earlier work is very kid-friendly so you can count on them to throw in an oldie like "Istanbul (Not Constantinople" in between singing about alphabet letters and balloons. Plus, there is something just great about seeing a grown man shout the words to "Particle Man" while dancing with a baby. I dare say some of the adults had more fun than the children.

I love the fact that my kids and I can enjoy this music together. It's such a battle in the car these days over what we're going to listen to but this is one thing we can agree on. I can put up with a certain amount Hannah Montana but it's far more rewarding to overhear my five-year-old singing the lyrics, "I'm a Paleontologist, That's Who I Am..."

Go ahead and learn all about TMBG here:

Thursday, October 15, 2009

School Photos 2009

Get a load of these chuckleheads!

Ava's K5 photo

She lost both her front teeth the week before this picture was taken and was sooooo excited about it.

Juliana's 4th grade photo

Her "uniform" is her blue SMILE hoodie. I at least washed it for picture day.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Photo Finish!

Ok, Marathon Report!

Yesterday morning was almost surreal. I got up at 4:45am to have a quick breakfast and then picked Dave up at his hotel on the was to the bus. When we got up to Grafton it was almost like I didn't believe that it was actually happening. I knew I was there to run the marathon but I couldn't wrap my brain around the fact that the actual day had finally arrived. Plus, we had to wait for an hour at the high school before the start which really got my nerves going. Finally we lined up with the 4:30 pace group and cheered when the gun went off!

I have to say that 90% of this race was the easiest, most enjoyable race I've ever ran in and 10% was the hardest thing I have ever done. The first 19 miles or so were literally a breeze. We were waving and saying hello to everyone cheering along the course, talking, laughing, and having a good time. The pace was so comfortably slow that I felt no pain or fatigue at all for quite a while. I even took out my phone and started posting updates every couple of miles on my Twitter account! I heard somebody at mile 15 say "Hey, that girl is SMILING still!" Ha.

Around mile 14 I started to feel like I wanted to pick up the pace just a hair. Not too much, but I started to pull away from the pace group. If I were to do anything different next time it would definitely be not to try this and to stick with the group for the entire run. It felt awesome for a few miles but around mile 20 I realized I had slowed up again and the group caught up with me. I stayed with them for the duration but at that point I really started to feel the pain. The rest of the race got harder and harder and I wonder if I would have felt better if I had held back when I felt that surge.

Miles 21 on were such a mental game. I stopped talking to everyone, cranked up my music and focued on each step- just putting one foot in front of the other. My quads started burning and it was a struggle just to keep up with the pace group at this point but I wanted more than anything for us to finish all together!

When we came around the curve at the final .2 I felt like crying. I started to dig deep for that final push and I saw my husband waving with his camera up in the air! Then I heard a group of people screaming my name and saw all my Twitter friends with signs for me and Anne right as I crossed the finish.

Right after I got my medal I started wandering and I felt all fuzzy like I was floating outside of my body. It was such a strange experience. I was so happy not only to finish, but also a few minutes under my goal time AND with all my running buddies. Plus, the support of everyone at the finish was phenomenal. I couldn't believe how excited people were for me to accomplish this crazy thing.

So.... now I'm still recovering. Gonna lounge in bed, eat, drink, and look for my next race. :) Two years ago I could barely run two miles. Last year I ran my first 5K. Now I ran a freaking marathon. And I will continue to run marathons in the future. Looking forward to next year!

Monday, September 28, 2009

More Bloggy Goodness

Hey! Check out the fitness blog I'm working on with my friend Anne:

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Mom-ing Without A Mom

This Sunday I'm running in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure here in Milwaukee. This cause is especially important to me since my mom had breast cancer and passed away in April of 2001. This will be my third time participating in the race (my second time running it) and though I enjoy taking part, I always have mixed emotions about it. The energy at this event is so positive and hopeful yet I always end up with feelings of jealousy when I see all the beautiful, smiling faces on the women in their Survivor t-shirts. I am happy for them but I can't help wishing that my own mom was there, smiling and sporting a pink shirt as well.

My mom died when my first daughter, Juliana was eight months old. She barely got a chance to be a grandma. When she passed I was just learning to be a mom myself and suddenly I felt set adrift. A mom without a mom. I was 23, we lived in Chicago, and had no other family in town. While my husband was at work it was just me and my baby girl every day, and though I loved being home with her, I felt like I didn't have anyone ask to questions to about all the little things that come up when you're a new mom. My best friend had a baby girl too and she was also struggling, but she was over two hours away in a different state. What I needed was someone who had been through it before- someone who had experienced what I was experiencing and had come out ok. I needed my mom.

Now that my kids are older that feeling has intensified in some ways. Babies are difficult but oh, it's so much harder once they develop their own opinions and feelings about everything! What I would give to be able to ask someone how I was at this age and how they dealt with me. My dad can shed a little bit of light on this at times but he doesn't have the best memory when it comes to recalling my brother and I as kids. Plus, there's just something about a mom's perspective, right? Especially when it comes to raising girls. I feel like I should have paid more attention back then, but obviously I was too busy being a kid and not taking notes on my mom's mothering style. There are questions I will never have answered but I have to be okay with that since I don't have a choice.

The week after my mom died I remember being at Target with Juli and seeing a mom shopping with her teenage daughter. I got really upset right there in the store and came home crying to my husband about how jealous I was of how that girl and her mom could go out shopping at Target together. I remember he said to me, "But YOU were a mom out shopping with YOUR daughter." It sounded so strange to me at the time. Of course, I knew I had a baby but I hadn't begun to think of myself as being in the same category as my own mom yet. I identified more with the teenage girl.

It's taken me a long time to feel completely like an adult but that was definitely a jumping point for me. I feel now as if I have made the transition from fumbling kid with a baby to full-fledged, confident mom. (Well, most of the time.) I also feel like the best thing I can do to honor my mom's memory is to be the best mom I can be to my own daughters. I still have days where I feel a bit lost and yes, jealous, but I keep trying to focus on the role I have now. Sometimes I feel like I am free-styling it out there, but I'm trying my hardest and I think she would be proud.

*This entry was originally posted on

Monday, September 14, 2009

Why I Run

If you know me in real life (or on Twitter) you probably know that I am training for the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon in October. In fact, you probably wish that I would stop talking about it all the time. Training for something this big is a bit all consuming- especially for a first timer- but I want to talk about something else running has given me outside of the wackadoodle idea that I can complete 26.2 miles in a few short weeks.

This summer as I’ve been out racking up the miles along the lakefront I’ve realized what a positive effect all this running has had on my mind in addition to my body. I know all about endorphins and the fabled “runners high” but what I’ve experienced is more of a calming effect. When my girls were home all day for summer vacation I relished the evenings when I could lace up my running shoes and head down to the bike path for some quality time just for ME. Now that school has started again I find myself putting off washing those breakfast dishes in order to go jog along the lake. The laundry can wait another hour or two before being tucked back into everyone’s drawers. Sometimes I use this time to plan out what I need to take care of for the day. Sometimes I think about long term goals and things I want to accomplish in the future. And sometimes I just zone out and don’t think about anything at all.

I often hear moms talk about how important it is for us to make time for ourselves. To stop saying “yes” to everything that comes down that line and learn to be a little bit selfish now and then. I can remember nodding my head in agreement with this sentiment but I don’t think I’ve ever really taken those words to heart enough to put it into action. I think I’m finally beginning to understand how those couple of hours early on a Saturday morning can leave me more refreshed and ready to deal with the rest of the weekend. Even though my family kind of thinks I’m nuts when I head out for another 10 miler I also know that they wouldn’t like to have a frazzled, stressed out mom at home. I’m not saying that mom doesn’t make her occasional appearances but overall I think her visits are fewer and far between.

This post is also up at

Thursday, September 10, 2009

In Which I Get All Zac Efron-y Up In Here

Juliana's favorite song right now is "Scream" from High School Musical 3. Most afternoons you can find her in her room with the track on repeat as she sings along at the top of her lungs the words: "I want my own thing, so bad I wanna SCREAM!" Because she is all about being oppressed and having her true self stifled by the man. So when a friend of mine this past week who I haven't seen in a couple of years looked at me and said "I think you need your own thing. You haven't quite found it yet," my first reaction was Ok Dr. Puri, do you always psychoanalyze people over veggie burgers and beer?. And then my second thought was, Fine. Yes. Why do you have to be all right and stuff? Gawd.

Behold: Own Thing #1

My blog at! I should be posting there once a week.

I'm currently working on OTs #2 and #3 and will elaborate soon. One involves a fitness website for our country's drunkest city and the other is a finally-to-be launched etsy store that I've thought about for what seems to be forever and is almost ready to launch. Yes indeedily, goodness will soon be abound.

And now I leave you with the Efron:

Friday, September 4, 2009

Juliana Year 9

So I'm a bit late with this one. I actually finished it the day after her birthday but kept forgetting to upload it until now. I'm not sure if I'll do one for year 10 or not since she doesn't particularly like posing for photos and videos as much as she did in the past. Still, I managed to crank this out somehow. Enjoy!

Monday, August 24, 2009

12 Years!

August 24, 1997

Who are those Bay-bees? TWELVE years. Our marriage is nearly a teenager. Hrm. Are we about to get all moody and hormonal? Should I notify Sally Jessy and schedule a boot camp? Add to that the fact we were mere teenagers when we got married-- did I just blow your mind?

Nah, things are looking pretty darn good from here.


Monday, August 17, 2009

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Still Going...

You haven't heard from me because, well, I've been running. And running and running and running and running. If you've seen my Daily Mile widget over on the sidebar you might have noticed my 18 mile run last Sunday. Followed up by a little kayaking because frankly, why not? I'm actually kind of surprised that I'm not still wallowing on the couch after that weekend but for some reason I ended up not feeling anything afterward. Nada. What's up with that? Is this what happens when your body starts adapting to strenuous activity? Somehow I think I won't be quite so lucky after the actual marathon. Which is....let's see....58 DAYS AWAY! That actually seems kind of far but the way this summer has been going I'll wake up next week and it will be almost Christmas. I've already bought all the girls school supplies and they have their first day of school outfits picked out. I guess I'm running out of interesting things to keep them busy so I'm on to the next thing already. What on earth I'm going to do when they are back in school all day is another question. I don't really want to talk about it yet. Hey, get off my back!

Monday, July 20, 2009


What is your current obsession? Running, running, running...

What are you wearing today? Blue strapless dress, fringey flip flops.

What’s your favourite meal? Filet Mignon, hands down.

What’s the last thing you bought? A basket full of crap at Target. I'm always doing that.

What are you listening to right now? The Decemberists

If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go? MASSAGE

What do you love most about where you currently live? Pretending like I have a Wiskahnsin accent, eh.

What is your favorite colour? Red

What is your favorite piece of clothing in your own wardrobe? I own so many clothes. Don't ask me to choose.

Describe your personal style? Casual with a bit of quirk.

If you had $300 now, what would you spend it on? I'm already on my way to Anthropologie. Wait, I don't actually get the $300?

What are you going to do after this? Tweet about it.

What is something about you that most people don’t know? If I wanted you to know, you would already know. Did that make sense?

Your favorite smell? I dunno. Probably something food-related.

Do you collect anything? Vintage clothing, Alice in Wonderland stuff, anything celestial

What makes you follow a blog? Humor.

What’s your favorite drink? Water. Or shiraz. Depends on the time of day.

What’s one thing you dream of doing? Owning my own vintage clothing store.

What is your biggest regret? Why you trying to bring me down?

What is your favorite thing to do on a rainy day? Sit on my porch with a beer and a book.

Do you have a tattoo? Nope.

What are your favorite books? The Time Traveler's Wife, Mists of Avalon, Lord of the Rings

What is your favorite fruit? Apples. Can I dip them in chocolate?

Blackberry or iPhone? Google Android phone, baby!

What/Who inspired you to start your blog? I wanted to blog my pregnancy. I guess you could say I've come a long way since then.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Who Am I?

So, this past week I ventured out not once, twice, but THREE TIMES to be social with people I met on the internet IN PUBLIC. Weird, huh? Dateline warned me about meeting people on the interwebs but Stone Phillips be damned I didn't pay attention. I've been a member of Daily Mile for a few months now and after chatting with a fellow runner Anne, who lives in Bay View for a while I finally met up with her at the Badgerland Striders marathon build up last Saturday and we had a great 8 mile run together. She introduced me to another runner there and we ran again this weekend for a whole 16 miles. Yup, I said SIXTEEN MILES! It felt so awesome but truth be told I felt a bit like my body was entering the early stages of rigor mortis a few hours afterward. Despite this, I am feeling right now that I am soooo going to kick some marathon boo-tay.

So in addition, I somehow mustered up the courage to go meet a group of Milwaukee Twitter users at a Mexican restaurant for margaritas on Friday night. Like, by myself. Only knowing the aforementioned Anne and maybe two other people on the guest list from their Twitter usernames. Whaaa? I was afraid that I would be the n00b crashing their little social media gathering but everyone I talked to was super cool and didn't smack me when I said I hated Star Wars. Oh, and if you're wondering what a bunch of Twitter nerds do at a tweetup? They totally tweet about what's happening. Right at that moment. Hilarious.

Friday, July 10, 2009


Jason is moving my blog around. God, it's ugly right now, I know. will still get you here but give me a couple of days so clean up this monstrosity. Ew!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Chicken or Egg?

More deep thoughts from Ava:

"Mom, how can a baby get born if there is nobody born before them?"

Whoa! I guess I should be happy she didn't take the question in another direction.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Laying Down the Law

So.... Juliana is grounded. On the first day of summer vacation. Wait, let me clarify- she was actually grounded on the afternoon of the last day of school. *Sigh* I won't get into the nitty gritty but it involves her teaming up with her BFF and some shenanigans and badness ensued. What? It's okay if your friend is doing something bad and you tag along because they make some sort of buffer/bubble around you that protects you from getting caught and/or being punished? I certainly never bought into any convoluted logic like that before. (Snort.) Now that my initial anger has subsided and I've spoken to BFFs mom to compare stories I have to almost feel bad for the kid. Ava is prancing around like a pretty pretty princess because if my girls love anything, it's basking in the glow of their siblings punishment. Plus, Ava got to go on a trip to Chicago with Steph and Maddie today while I dragged Juli around on all my errands. The horror! If anything, I'm hoping that maybe at least this way she can learn her lesson right off the bat that I am not about to take any guff this summer vacation. I'm laying down the law because frankly, I don't want to be sitting on Maury Povich's couch in five years watching Juli wave her finger at the audience and yell, "SHUT UP YA'LL! YOU DON'T KNOW ME!" Hopefully I can tame her now so the worst I'll have to deal with is her she starting a Facebook group about how her mom totally suxx.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Oh, the Third Grade Drama...

Juliana: "Hey Mom? Did Aunt Stephy ever stab you in the back? Like not really with a knife but do you know what I mean?"

Me: "Uh, no I can't think of any time she stabbed me in the back. Did somebody do this to you?"

Juliana: "Yeah, well this one time, Ella said she would give me her cupcake for my Doritos but then she changed her mind and gave the cupcake to Kai for NOTHING."

Saturday, June 6, 2009

I Am Invincible

Take THAT half marathon! You don't scare me!

The best part of my 13.1 mile run this morning was when during mile 12 a little bulldog with it's tongue hanging out started running along beside me. After a bit I started to wonder where it's owner was so I stopped and turned to see another pony-tailed blonde with sunglasses running after me with a leash and saying, "I thinks she thinks you are ME!"

Good thing I took my ipod off and checked because that puppy was so going to follow me home.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


The Decemberists playing a cover of Heart's "Crazy on You."

Thursday, May 28, 2009

When Life Gives You Lemons...

You sit in the middle of a construction marred intersection in your dead car while people honk angrily and you totally freak out.

Oh, I guess that's just me.

Some of you already got the play by play via Facebook or Twitter so I'll be brief. We're getting a new car on Friday! Yay! This was put into motion before the old car decided to strand me in the middle of traffic but apparently the ol' cruiser got wind of how we were going to trade her in and decided to be all, "You wanna get rid of ME? I'd like to see you try!" And then proceeded to conk out in the middle of the road. This led to me and two other helpful ladies comically trying to push the car out of the intersection to no avail while other larger and most likely stronger drivers decided it would be more productive for them to honk/yell/give us dirty looks. Now I think I'm a fairly strong girl but I also think that if you saw me trying to push a PT Cruiser you would laugh. The cops that finally came to help me laughed when they saw how close I have to sit to my steering wheel when one of them could hardly even fit in my car.

Anywayz... What makes this story even better is that I was on my way home from the car dealer who had just finished checking out the cruiser for a trade-in when all this happened. I then had to turn around and have it towed right back where they promptly knocked $1000 off of our trade price. Aw, hamburgers.

But I'm ok. I'm actually able to laugh at my misfortune now because if the car was going to die then I suppose it was meant to be that we were already in the final stages of purchasing a brand spanking new one. It's even a hybrid so I can drive around like that episode of South Park where the hybrid drivers wave at each other and self-righteously pat themselves on the back. See? I can have a sense of humor about myself.

Monday, May 25, 2009

My LIfe Is Starting to Resemble a Gatorade Ad

This week I became the kind of person who buys (and then consumes) something called Hammer Gel. Don't know what that is? It's this food/substance that comes in a nifty little foil pouch you can pocket while running long distances and ingest for an extra energy boost. Apparently after running for over an hour or so your body gets completely depleted of glycogen and you need some kind of sugary carby goodness to replenish yourself. Basically it tasted like cake frosting. Weird, huh? I started picturing runners carrying little tubs of Betty Crocker frosting on their backs and eating it with their fingers every few miles. And then I got paranoid that I was sporting a ring of chocolate around my mouth much like Ava wears after eating a pudding cup. You learn new things every day. Seriously though, running in general just makes me feel ravenous. Which isn't so bad considering I can burn over a thousand calories on these long runs, but when do I get to look like Paula Radcliffe already?


I realize that I probably set pretty unrealistic goals for myself. Like during the Olympics when I was obsessed with Dara Torres abs and forgot to consider that it was her JOB to look like that. Not that I'm running in order to whittle myself down to a bone but some of those distance ladies are crazy fierce. I can feel the muscles in my legs changing but I don't think you'll see me donning those little swimsuit buns anytime soon.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


You know what I like? Doing things for me. That's right. I could get used to this taking care of me thing.

Sometimes I think I may have taken up running just so I could get all the alone time where I get to zone out and think. Now that I'm passing the 10 mile mark, pretty soon I'll be approaching TWO WHOLE HOURS of run time on a Saturday or Sunday morning that i get to focus on myself. Scandalous! I have to admit that it's pretty nice now that the girls are getting older and more self sufficient. I no longer have to spend my days and nights wiping up poop, pulling stuff out of little hands and mouths and basically monitoring every second of their lives. Granted, I had a psychotic episode a few weeks ago when I smelled a baby head at the hair salon and got all schmoopy but it quickly passed when I thought about waiting five more years to get this sense of semi-freedom back. People, I'm even thinking about searching for a part time job in the fall- you know me with all my marketable skills like coffee making, general flexibility, and the ability to "sell it" to the person sitting at the back of the theatre. (Not to mention all my enviable knowledge about the pioneers of modern dance.)
Part of it has to do with living in a town where I actually want to do things. I was pretty complacent in the suburbs going for walks around my community of little boxes and eating at Applebee's on the weekends. But now I have these things they all BABYSITTERS and ROCK SHOWS and NON-CHAIN RESTAURANTS and I am smitten. I love my family, yes I do, but there is something to be said for balance. For example, I'm sure this weekend I will be taking the girls to see the atrocity that is "Night at the Museum 2: Escape from the Smithsonian." However, I most likely will also be getting my "Terminator: Salvation" fix as well. And going for a two hour run.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Sunday, May 17, 2009

5K Race Time:

26:05. Not too shabby! Now, talk me into doing this:

Lakefront Marathon

Friday, May 15, 2009

Hello Dear Interwebz,

Now that I'm back from vacation I realize we are in dire need of some catching up. Basically, I'm blogging to tell you that I will have something to blog about soon.



Until then, enjoy some Dancing Kim!

Thursday, April 30, 2009


Ava Elisabeth, age 5:

"I don't know why the other kids don't just learn how to read when Ms. Denice teaches them how all the time."

Insert an eye roll, sigh and a big "oh mah gawd".

Methinks somebody is getting a big head.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Spring Has Sprung in Milwaukee



The awful winters here make days like these all the more sweeter.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

In Which I Talk About My Face Some More

Or: My dentist finally realized that I'm not a crazy crybaby and probably feels bad now but does that really change anything? No.

Here we go again.

I told my dentist two months ago after she put a new crown on that I was in severe pain and hinted that I thought I might need a root canal. I didn't tell her that I came to this conclusion following extensive research on the internet because I figure the last thing a doctor needs to hear is a bunch of people self-diagnosing themselves via Web M.D. However, I consider myself to have a fairly high threshold for pain- a former dancer, given birth to two kids, I run upwards of 20 miles a week and generally and find fun in pushing my body to extremes. So when I can't sleep for a week because of raging pain in my jaw and would actually prefer being in labor for the third time-- I think that something might be amiss.

Back in February when I first dealt with this, my dentist could find no sign of anything wrong on the x-ray and sent me home with some antibiotics, codeine and a raised eyebrow. She even suggested that I might have an ear infection. As if I was the type of person who would show up bawling my eyes out over a little twinge of pain in my ear. (I ended up going to my family doctor just to prove this theory wrong.) Finally, after one last excruciating night where I contemplated going to the emergency room, I woke up the next morning with absolutely no pain. Nothing! Completely gone. My next step was going to be to seek out another dentist for a second opinion but I was so excited to be able to function like a normal person again that I never did it.

Two months later and out of the blue, just as mysteriously as the pain left, it returned within the span of 24 hours and completely knocked me on my butt. I returned to the dentist half expecting them to accuse me of being a drug-seeker when lo and behold! This time the x-ray shows "a little something to be concerned about." Hrm. Now I'm referred to an endodontist for a root canal- only they are so busy that I have to wait a week to get an appointment. This time I was at least given Vicodin, although I swear my body must have a built in resistance to pain medication because it basically just takes the edge off and makes me kind of dizzy and stupid.

God, this has been a lot of complaining. I just feel like nobody has understood how freaking painful this whole thing has been and I just want it to be DONE. I felt completely validated when that x-ray came back but it still doesn't get me to actual relief any faster. Plus, I'm totally annoyed at how this medication is messing with my running schedule. I can either take the medicine and go for a run- not necessarily a good idea if I don't want to fall over halfway through- or I can not take it and pay the price afterwards like I did today.

Does anybody have any good suggestions for food that doesn't require chewing? So far I've been having Cream of Wheat and Starbucks frappucinos. You know, getting all my nutrients in.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Sunday, March 22, 2009


After six hours of playing on a Saturday which included a trip to the coffee shop for cinnamon rolls the size of their heads:

Juliana's Friend: I'm bored. Maybe we should go back to my house.

My lovely daughter: Yeah. Your house is fun. We NEVER get bored at your house.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Monday, March 16, 2009

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I Do It For the Joy It Brings

I went to dance class last night for the first time in a couple of years. I took a modern/jazz class at Danceworks which is the same class I used to take after we first moved to Milwaukee. At the time I had a hard time getting the energy to go at the end of the day after taking care of Ava and running Juliana around to soccer and stuff all afternoon. This time I'm really hoping to attend the entire 12 week session. After that i may even consider taking a ballet class. It's been NINE years since I've been in ballet so that's a little more intimidating. Especially because i always had a love/hate relationship with ballet in the first place.

Anyway, the kids in this class last night (and I do mean kids) had a weird effect on me. I didn't really feel old since I'm quite capable of keeping up and even though my technique isn't in tops I can still pick up choreography faster than most people. So yay for that! What got to me was how much a couple of them reminded me of they way I used to interact my old college friends. They were obviously in many classes and rehearsals together and it made me miss that. I still remember what it was like to have every day of my life be all about dance but it was different to see it in other people. I felt like getting all old lady on them and saying You young whippersnappers don't know how lucky you are! But I didn't. Because I'm already the mom in the class and I don't need to be the weirdo to boot.


Monday, March 9, 2009

Monday, March 2, 2009

Lake Effect


Snow is fun in December, not in MARCH. (Or April for that matter, but that's another story.)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Lack of Inspiration

My blog is sad and neglected. I know this but I don't have the heart to delete it all and be done with it. It's not that I don't spend a lot of time on The Internets, it's just that I'm usually wrapped up reading other, more productive people's blogs, uploading ridiculous old photos to Facebook and Twittering my every move. (Don't you love how Twittering is a verb now? I do.) My birthday is coming up this week. Yay? Maybe I should make a commitment for year thirty-two to be more interesting. I've definitely got to think of something to do for my actual birthday because I'm not spending it in Vegas this year. Boo. I'm definitely getting massage and going for a long, long, run but that is all on my agenda as of now. Suggestions?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Clean Cup, Move Down

Er, hopefully. I don't really care to dwell on the shenanigans of the past two weeks because frankly it boils down to- "Ow" and "Better now?" I will say that it is frustrating to be in pain and not have your doctor/dentist be able to pinpoint the cause. It made me feel like they thought I was either A) being a big baby lady or B) looking for drugs. As it turns out, teeth grinding on bad dental work can be excruciating SO THERE.

Also, running six miles after a week of sitting on your butt--- hurts. My intention was to take it easy on my first day back but I'm kind of a competitive little jerk and I didn't want to get off the treadmill until the person next to me did, so... you know. I like this kind of pain though. The face kind? Eh, not so much.

Oh yes, and here is a little something to brighten your day:


Sunday, February 8, 2009

I Want to Believe


Mother Nature is cruel indeed. I am taunted by 50 degree weather today, all the while knowing that I will most likely be shoveling multiple feet of snow well into April. I spent this weekend dreaming of perennials and perusing gardening magazines and websites longingly.

I am not fooled.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

I'm a Lazy Blogger

I did this 25 Things list on my Facebook account and since I'm too lazy to make another original entry I'm copying it here:

25 Random Things About Myself:

1. I am a complete neat freak, which I'm pretty sure is a bother to my family. I can't even start on other projects until my entire house is clean or my brain won't focus. This is probably why I have a hard time getting stuff done.

2. I have a degree in dance that I don't use because I started having babies when my classmates were out starting careers. Sometimes I want to get back into dancing but I get overwhelmed and don't know where to start. Probably with going to class, right?

3. I started running a couple of years ago. I am not fast and I don't even attempt to be. I like how it makes me feel and how it has changed my body. Since I work out in some shape or form every day though, I have this irrational fear that if I stop I will wake up one day and suddenly be ginormous.

4. I feel like I am very spoiled.

5. For years I used to only order things like Chicken Caesar Salad when eating out until Jason took me to Fleur de Lys in Vegas for my birthday and I had Filet Mignon. I am now a very expensive date.

6. I often wonder how working moms do it because I am a stay at home mom and I feel like I am always running behind and can't keep up with everything.

7. I have always been a very introverted person and I feel like this often comes across the wrong way. There are times when I have forced myself to be outgoing but it doesn't come naturally to me. I think this is why I was good at performing onstage because I didn't necessarily have to be myself.

8. I miss performing onstage. I never had a lot of confidence in my dancing technique because I started training much later than others but I knew I had a stage presence and could sell it well.

9. I am baffled by people that have real careers. I try to make myself feel better by thinking they must be baffled people who have kids.

10. My mom died when my first daughter was 8 months old. I hate that my kids don't know her and that she didn't get a real chance to be a grandma. I also have lots of questions about how she used to deal with me as a kid.

11. I love nerds. I love nerdy things. I love most everything about nerd-dom. However, I hate Star Wars and the only Star Trek I like is The Next Generation. The Phantom Menace's awfulness made me so mad that I could not even watch it.

12. I love old timey music. A lot. If you come to my house you can expect to hear The Andrews Sisters or Al Jolson on the record player or the 1940's station on my radio.

13. I think that Buffy the Vampire Slayer is one of the most awesome stories ever created and would follow Joss Whedon and his work to the ends of the earth.

14. I love to read but I only do so in spurts. Right now I'm in the middle of a dry spell and it's making me angry.

15. I lived in the suburbs for almost five years and though it was a nice place to raise babies I always felt out of place. When we lived there I always felt like the baby of the neighborhood. Now that we live in area with a fair amount of hipsters and they make me feel old.

16. I used to have the worst time connecting with other moms. I was always the weird mom at soccer games or the outsider at the playground. I've finally started talking with a few women at my daughters' school but I still sometimes feel like people think of me as "That Mom."

17. I always have dreams about strangers being in my house like the freaky dudes from the movie "Dark City". (God, this is starting to feel like a therapy session.)

18. I am a dirty, liberal hippie. Deal with it.

19. I used to want to own my own vintage clothing store. I still sometimes think about owning my own business but I don't know how to begin.

20. I have always loved to sing and think I'm pretty good at it but I suck at writing music. I am jealous of girls who sing in bands.

21. I am interested in so many things, which I feel has made me be mediocre at a lot of things rather than an expert at one special thing.

22. I desperately want to be crafty. I am learning how to sew right now.

23. When I'm feeling down, I buy things. This can be a problem. Especially because I also like to shop when I'm happy.

24. I am 30 years old and I have been married to Jason 11 years. People's reactions are always amusing when they first hear that.

25. Despite my whining, my life is really, really good. Not a day goes by when I don't think about how lucky I am.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Inaugural Weecap

So I've now had almost a full week to decompress and gather my thoughts about last Tuesday's inauguration festivities and yet it still feels like anything I could possibly write here would be completely insufficient. On one hand I look at the images on the news of the National Mall filled to the brim and I think Oh my god I can't believe I was actually in that crowd! but then I also think that anything on television or the internet fails to capture the enormity of the occasion and the sheer joy that radiated from everyone who took part in it. As Steph said to me "Sounds like everyone had their love-thy-neighbor on." Everyone was courteous, friendly, exuberant and willing to stand for hours with as much personal space as a folded up newspaper in order to watch the president get sworn in a mile away on a gigantic jumbotron. I have to say that it was unlike anything I've ever experienced before to be in such a diverse group of people from all across the country all cheering for the same thing. (Yes, there were some boos for Bush like you all heard on tv- which I admit wasn't really keeping with the spirit of the day but come on. Like that really wasn't going to happen?) Anyway, even though we were a teeny dot out of of a couple million it was pretty amazing to share a piece of history with all those other dots scattered across the Capitol. Sure it was cold and crowded and we had to walk for miles and wait for hours but I have to say that if you're going to be a part of a mob of people, it certainly helps for it to be a happy mob. It's not so bad to be squished like a pancake when you and all your neighbors have smiles on your faces. Even the girls did a great job and I have to admit it was pretty rough to be a kid down there. I have no doubt that they will appreciate the a fact that they were there down the line and share this story with their friends. And thank god we didn't get stuck in that Purple Tunnel of Doom, right? That's way worse that having your kid need to poop right in the middle of everything.

That reminds me: Nobody had to use a port-a-potty that day! Success!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The. Awesome.

Our spot at the Washington Memorial. The crowd stretched for a couple of miles.
Taken by Jason

View of our Jumbotron and sea of people:

Also taken by Jason

Me and Jason the day before the inauguration. Taken by Miss Juliana.

Click on any of these pictures for our gallery. Stories to come later. So very tired now...

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Ava Lost Her First Tooth!

She only just turned five so I was not expecting it. I didn't even know it was loose. She came downstairs the other night with a toothy grin saying it just popped out so she put it under her pillow.


For the record, the Tooth Fairy shelled out $2.25. Pretty steep, but it's her first one. I used to be happy with two quarters. Ah, inflation.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

My Inauguration Day Outfit

Mine just came in the mail yesterday. Obama-corn!


Monday, January 12, 2009


This morning I ran 6.2 miles in just under an hour! That's a full 10k and I ran it 5 whole minutes faster than I usually do. I don't know what got in to me but I won't question it. I'm thinking that my running goals this year will be to do at least one more 5K in addition to the Susan Komen race in September- plus sometime this summer I will do a 10k. Most gym days I tend to log between 5 1/2 to 6 miles but that's on a flat treadmill. Still, I'm pretty sure that if pressed I could do that distance in a real race. I just might not be as fast as I am on the machine. Now I just have to look up some races, put them on my calendar and stick to it. Sometimes I think back to when I had a hard time running for 2 minutes without stopping and I can't believe I'm talking about hour-long runs. Who knows, maybe a half-marathon is in my future...

Monday, January 5, 2009

See? Crafty!



I finished my first project this morning. It's far from perfect- partly because I'm a beginner and partly because I'm fairly sure I'm using a pretty mediocre machine that is already partly broken, thanks to yours truly. It's all part of my ongoing battle with all things mechanical, electronic, or computerized. Anyhoo, here's hoping I get better and faster at it. I'm kind of mean when I'm sitting at the dining room yelling at machines and I want craftiness to make me happy...

Saturday, January 3, 2009

I Hereby Resolve to Be Crafty in Ought-Nine

Currently reading:


I will be finally teaching myself to use the sewing machine that even Jason and Juliana know how to use. My first goal is to make skirts for the girls and me- possibly using recycled fabrics from old clothing. If 2008 was the year I became a runner, maybe in 2009 I can become a seamstress?