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!