Adventure is out there – February

Vacation day – Groundhog Festival 🐀

Galentine’s Party 💐

Dallas – got to see Michelle, Jenn, Cassie & Sculpture Garden & Cowboys 🎁 🏈

Hair Appt & Manicure 💅

Street Scenes 🎭

Yoga, Coffee Outside ☀️

Watch the superbowl outside (55) 🔥 🏈

Bronco Oil Change 🚘

Chocolate (Heart felt) Yoga (Salt Cave) 🧘‍♀️ (I cried the whole time but I learned I just need quiet more than I need yoga)

Finished 16 performance reviews and a reorganization with 3 supervisors restructuring ✔️ 🖥️ 💻

Paint Gem art night with Robin

Algonquin to buy a camera 📷

Story Exploratory ✍️

Dolphin Disco video Game with Kristi at Park Street & Brunch at Teddy’s 🥂

Singo 🎶

Cat Eyes manicure 💅 🐈‍⬛ for metrics +🍀

Ripon Wisconsin for Conference 🏃‍♂️

Also just wanted to give myself a shout out that I’ve completed all of the meditations so far this year and it’s making me feel so good – new year new you in January and feel lighter in February. I have more progress to make on making movement a daily habit and eating more nutritiously, but I also want just a moment to celebrate all the hard work I have put in, in all areas of my life, and acknowledge all that I have done well. Yay Me!

I registered for 12×12 today (last day!)

One work pic just because it’s a big deal 🙂

And 90 minutes before the month ended, I passed my Florida boating license test!


My vacation day started as every “day off” always does, with a few hours of work …. But the the next 24 hours were amazing 🙂

I had an appointment for a lovely manicure with “cat eyes” and started driving to Ripon.

On the drive, I ended up stopping at a wildlife viewing area and there was hunting rules (yikes!)…..& Stopped at a rest area and there was a line for the men’s room (full of people in camo and Hunter orange) but the women’s room was empty.

Saw a sign for a local coffee shop 20 miles out and I stopped. I ordered the house specialty “just the ticket” latte that was a delicious blend of lavender, vanilla and caramel. I purchased some witty stickers and magnets for friends.

Tried to visit the little white schoolhouse but it was covered in snow and closed. (I’m clearly a democrat anyway, but was willing to learn more.)

Checked in at the hotel. Ahhhhhhhh.

Shopped downtown.

Cheered loudly for Michael’s race.

The whole reason for the trip. 💕

Fish fry and old fashioned for dinner.

Snow plows, Coach buses, snow mobiles…

The white noise of the jets and the white snow falling softly outside the window was the perfect escape for my brain that never shuts off. I forced myself to put down my phone, my screens, my podcasts, my to-do list, and I just sat in the present moment looking at the bubbles, feeling the warm water and watching the snow float like a feather to the ground, covering the brown dead-looking trees in the magical snow-covered February landscape.

Visited my second cute coffee house! Mugs. Ordered the banana PB honey latte on special.

Visited beautiful Menomonee Falls on the drive home.

Enjoyed the Rueben sandwich at an Irish pub across the street from the falls.

And arrived safely at home by 3pm in time to Uber my husband and his friends to the craft beer festival and have a photo adventure with Finn.

So grateful for the chance to relax, enjoy a daily dose of novelty, catch up on my podcasts, have some downtime in a hot tub and enough money (and privilege) for a safe solo adventure.

Happy Groundhog Day

I’ve always wanted to go to Woodstock on Groundhog Day. For a variety of reasons it’s never worked out (sick kids, blizzards, audits at work). But this year, the stars aligned, my vacation day was approved, and I was able to attend my work obligations remotely after I had a super fun experience at the square.

What if there is no tomorrow? There wasn’t one yesterday…

Groundhog Day Movie 🍿

I drank to world peace like Rita, stopped at Ned’s corner, avoided the first step (it’s a doozy!), looked up at the bell tower Phil jumped out of…. And of course started the morning with polka music and hearing Woodstock Willie prognosticate 6 more weeks of winter.

It was perfect weather, a snowy backdrop but safe driving. The town is bristling with helpful QR codes and a self guided tour of all the movie sites.

Woodstock Town Square

I’m adding Woodstock to my list of wonderful adventures of heading out west. (The list includes the Tomas the Train in Union, the McHenry drive-in, Volo car museum, sunflower mazes and Richardson’s corn maze, tulip festival, pumpkins and adventure farm.)

I’m so grateful my vacation days are for fun now instead of for 10 years I took the day off to go pick up trophies for MBSA!

What a celebration! The downtown is so charming, the people so friendly and the bookstores, artists and shops were worth the drive!

5 stars! I highly recommend celebrating Groundhog Day in Woodstock Illinois!

Adventure is Out There – January

Up! That’s my word of the year. I started the new year by watching the Disney movie of the same name and therefore, I commit to having adventures all year!

And January was a great start!

I had one vacation day (that crossed off 5 doctors appointments and ordered new glasses).

I saw Michael run 4 times! And even turned one into a night out with great friends.

I took a selfie with a deer 🦌 in the snow ⛄️

I had several fun writing dates and a story exploratory writing workshop. Writing is such lovely self-care.

Someone special made me breakfast. 💕

I had some adventures at local pubs, live music and gambling luck.

I enjoyed a fun adventurous book club outing.

I made my health a priority (and my son’s for the dentist, ortho, endo, PT and IBJI) and went to my post op appointment. I got kicked out of the forest preserve by the police for being there “after sunset” at 5:05pm. I used my spa gift card from Christmas for an amazing pedicure. 💅

I won a fight with HR for my employee. Supported 2 weeks of audits & announced a reorganization with 1 promotion and 3 new supervisors. Drove to work almost every day and worked wayyyyy too much.

And had a lovely wellness day full of great conversations, painting, meditation and magical hot tub time in the midst of a gorgeous snowstorm.

In February I hope to work less and workout more.

College Campus

I love visiting colleges! For me, for my children, for prospective attendance decisions, for a sporting event ….

I’m alway jealous … every campus is full of energy, ideas, diversity, youth, conversations, unlimited possibilities!

As this was the weekend before finals, and a foggy gloomy day, it felt more hard than normal. life is hard. College is hard. But it’s a good hard. My report card was always perfectly imperfect, but it was all mine. I worked hard selling books or pastries. I rollerbladed, biked, walked to work to scrape together enough money to attend the next semester. My ideas, tests and papers were my own. They might not have been earth shattering, but I did my best.

The week before finals. You can feel the intense energy in the air. Excitement, but reasonable stress… that will end in a week.

Learning and growing. With time to think, focus on one subject at a time. Something that interests me. Someone that supports and encourages me (my professor).

My life feels like stress but it just goes on and on for decades. With no Christmas break or summer break or change unless I switch jobs. And if feels like when I switch jobs it just multiplies stress not removes any.

Instead of jealousy, I flip the script and ask ….

How can I have more boundaries for myself? How can I make more time to think strategically? How can I have more time to focus on one subject at a time?

Happy 16th Birthday!

I’m so blessed to be able to celebrate this special day with you. I’m looking forward to your dmv appointment on Saturday.

Have a Finn-Tastic 16th Birthday! 🦈 🎂

I just want you to know that you make everything better.

Perfecting the Pam and Jim air-high-five

I love your excitement, positive attitude and endless energy. I love that you listen to your body and rest when you need it. I love how you value sleep and eating healthy, but have balance and splurge sometimes. You are so fun to be around. I love talking to you. I love going anywhere with you, driving, shopping, dinner, a movie, it’s all better when you’re there.

Just like Christmas lights make this time of year more beautiful, Finn you light up my heart and make everything brighter. You sparkle! You shine from within, and never need the spotlight.

You’re the exclamation point at the end of our family and the end of each day!

Thanks for making our family complete! You’re the best of us.

Keep dreaming big, always follow what fascinates you, keep that passion for life, ideas and entrepreneurial inventions alive. You’re on your way to do great things.

Be Kind. Be Brave. Be Curious. I love you with my whole heart Finnegan and I always will.


As we enter December I started reflecting on the year … and I am proud of myself! I really lived again this year! You don’t have to live forever, you just have to live.

Rung in the new year in Jamaica 🇯🇲

Polar plunge in the Pacific Ocean. ✈️ 🏝️🐻‍❄️

Track and Cross country with F & M 🏃‍♂️

Finn Peoria, Springfield, NXR 🏃‍♂️

Michael Regionals 🏃‍♂️

Finn driving and first job @ Beach 🏖️

Luna was Born 👶

Brock’s first birthday 🎂

Lauren’s Engagement 💍

Winter Olympics 🥌

CLASSES! Cannoli, Glassblowing, Woodpainting, ASL, Story Exploratory

Directional Signpost Art Project 🎨

Drive in – Maverick Top Gun 🍿

Aunt Sara’s boat on Chicago river 🎣

Ukraine War 🇺🇦

Kevin’s heartiversary ❤️

COVID quarantine 🦠

Ice Cream truck ride 🍦

Office experience with Finn 💻

MHS state baseball games ⚾️

Annual Draft Party, Friendsgiving,Tailgate🍻

Grandpa’s Veterans wall 🇺🇸

Keegan family reunion

WonderBra’ds dinner 🎀

Shedd x2 🐧 🐋 🐬

SUP x 2

Lennon 💔 🐾

New Car 🚘

New Job 💻

First ride on a jet ski 🚤

Cubs box seats ⚾️

Green Bay and Northfield xc 🏃‍♂️

Clearwater Marine Animal Hospital ✈️ 🐬

Lunar Eclipse 🌙

Bo Deans Concert 🎶

Kids first half marathon 🏃‍♂️

Green metrics (9 months) ✅

Chevy Chase commercial 📺 🎄

Uterine Biopsy 🩸

Mundelein Tree Lighting 🎄 💥

Cystectomy👩‍⚕️ 🪡

First D&C 🏥

A Love Letter to Laughter

My laugh contains a giggle and sometimes a snort. My laugh is a unique source of pride, embarrassment, my originality, my fingerprint. As fleeting as a snowflake or life here on Earth. My laugh is my own creation and offering. A way to show up and put myself out there. Laughter requires being open, present, and authentic; the best qualities of life.

To create a laugh, I need nourishment, an idea, a funny moment and some oxygen. I use my breath, belly and facial expressions. Laughter is a behavior, attitude, thought and action all at once. An expression of love. Laughter is a way to honor what I am paying attention to. A solidification of noticing the small moments and making them more important.

Your life is just a series of what you pay attention to. So whenever you are distracted, you are literally giving up pieces of your life. 

Forever is composed of nows – Emily Dickinson

Laughter requires almost all of your body; muscles, neurons, lungs, mouth, vibrations, heartbeats and sometimes even tears.

Laughter is an acknowledgement and a celebration. Laughing nurtures curiosity, because what makes people laugh is rather elusive.

Laughter requires more than one person, a connection…which is why we are here on Earth, to build connections.

Laughter is an ordinary part of life, yet deeply extraordinary.

If a few of my laughs vibrate in the universe after I’m gone, a piece of me will still be here.

Beneath the Waves 🌊

I am a solar-powered-mermaid-wannabe.

It’s hard to feel like you have saltwater in your veins while you have a life you love in the Midwest. Every time I’m near sand, saltwater and sun, the best parts of me come brilliantly alive.

2 months ago when I learned I was going to a conference less than a mile away from the Clearwater Marine Animal Hospital, the conference was scheduled Tues – Friday , I immediately took one vacation day to fulfill a dream I have had ever since I saw Dolphin Tale in 2011 in the theatre.

My own little make-a-wish trip! And I say that not because I think I’m getting old, or dying or that I even deserve a wish-trip. But I believe if we focus on moments of tremendous joy, those moments multiply and keep coming into your life. And actions make wishes and dreams come true.

My flight was paid for by work, so this trip just cost me one vacation day and one night at the hotel. I frugally packed and brought beef jerky for lunch and a zone bar for breakfast each day before the conference started.

I tried to visit CMA during the pandemic with my youngest son, to meet Winter but I didn’t make it in time. I grieved when she passed last November, I rewatched the movie Dolphin Tale over and over until I had memorized the entirety, and then kept watching it again and again. It was inspirational on every front …. every character.

I wanted to rescue dolphins and connect with them while they heal. The best part of the Dolphin Tale movies are the live rescue footages at the end! I love what CMA does.

As I boarded my plane from Chicago to Tampa, my seat and gate were identical (26C, C26), and I saw that as a sign that this was meant to be. Then I noticed you can watch free movies on the United Airlines and Dolphin Tale began!

I checked in at the hotel, enjoyed some freshly caught Red Snapper for dinner and headed towards Pier 60 to soak in the sunset. The pier was overflowing with vendors, fishermen, artists, street performers. I paid a mere $1 for access to the perfect sunset viewing, I got a seat on a bench and this older gentleman sat next to me drinking liquor from a paper bag. At the moment the sun completely fell into the gulf, he declared “this day is done, there will never be another one like it” amen my barstool philosopher friend!

Monday morning, I walked the 1.4 miles to Clearwater Marine Animal Hospital (CMA) as if my body knew how to find it.

I arrived a half hour before the gates opened to the public, and found a treasure-trove of wishes on the surrounding sidewalk and dock.

I deeply loved the whole aquarium, every animal, every exhibit. And then, I became a VIP and met 3 dolphin trainers Gabby (Nicholas 🐬) and Chloe (Hope 🐬) and Meghan. The dolphin pools were closed and Meghan took my breathe away when she announced that PJ died suddenly over the weekend.

I saw on the news there was a school shooting in St Louis, a few miles away from where I stand, people are still homeless from Hurricane Ian; life is so difficult, and I am really grateful for this experience and I don’t take any of it lightly.

I left my dolphin experience urgently wanting to experience (and deserve) everything life has to offer. I’ve always been excited by sunrises, sunsets, seeing a new bird species or brilliant flower. But the sand on the beach felt softer, the air tasted more savory. In the words of Alexandra Cousteau “Water is the ink that writes the poetry of life” and I hope I go back into the water when I die and become a poet.

I’m not sure what lottery I won to be able to have had this week of dolphins, sunshine, palm trees, pelicans, public art, fresh fish, live music, beach walks, boat rides, swimming, coffee on a balcony, and 24-hr outdoor hot tub … but I deeply appreciated every single minute!

Yes, I even appreciated the really long conference days! I am so used to my 14-meeting work days where I am always presenting and it was lovely to sit back, take notes and learn!

six days of seashells, sunshine, sand, saltwater …. and software….I’ll never forget!

I grieve with you for PJ. I will bring Hope’s playfulness and energy and Nicolas’s tenderness and fragility with me throughout my precious life.