June 30, 2011


View from after my run -- gorgeous!

It's not breaking news that I absolutely love to run. I began running back in '06 when my office was challenged by one of our own campaigns, "Active for Life." We all set goals to be more active than we currently were. I set a goal to go for walks on the nights after work when I didn't have late meetings. After walking around the neighborhood, I got a little bored and picked up the pace to a very slow job. I could only run about 2 blocks before heaving over out of breath and feeling like I was going to die. So there became a bigger challenge. Each day I would try to run a little further and think I probably got to about a mile. One of my colleagues then challenged me to run a 5K with her later that month. I remember fueling up on carbs, drinking tons of water and being in bed before 10:00 for my "big" race. That next morning I couldn't believe I could run all 3.1 miles.

After that first race, I registered for plenty more. One year I ran the Turkey Trot which was either a 5 or 8k on Thanksgiving morning. I remember it ended up being the first snowfall of the year that morning which was so serene. My other favorite has always been the Women's Race which is in July up near Montrose. I ran my first half marathon in January '08 in Phoenix, AZ and then attempted training for the marathon later that year but came out with an injury instead which led to terrible, excruciating back pain. I've attempted to train for a half marathon since then but always come out injured.

This past week I was able to get two runs in and feel GREAT. I ran a mile and a half the first day and then 2 miles a couple days ago which I thought was pretty impressive for not running for the past several months. We'll see how long this will last, I am hoping to run the ALS Run at US Cellular on July 12. If not that it'd just be nice to get a couple 3-4 mile runs in every week. I just can't give up on this love just yet. There's nothing like running along the bike path in Chicago and I want to get as much time along there as I can before we move!

Cooper is 6 Months!

Yes, another Cooper post...it has been a while! Cooper celebrated his 6 month birthday on Sunday. I had been looking forward to the day all week then completely forgot until Jason reminded me at about 3:00. We went to the dog beach which he loves. That dog LOVES to swim. He also loves playing with every single dog, no matter the size, breed, color, age...he wants to play with them all. He weighs just around 40 lbs so should grow a little more. I know he's just a dog but as more time passes, I fall more and more in love with this puppy!
Wet is not his best look but is when he is most happy!

Posing for his 6 month picture!

Oh Glorious Day

So this song has been out for several months now and since the first time I heard it, I was deeply moved. I finally decided to purchase the CD when I saw that it was on sale for $6 on iTunes. As I do with any song after purchasing, I immediately listened to it on my computer. I had downloaded the lyrics so when I listened to it, I was able to read/sing along. By the end of the chorus, I was moved to tears. As I sang the words of this song, I was crying harder and harder to the point that I couldn't even read the words anymore. The words of this song are so incredibly powerful. To even try to begin to understand what Jesus has endured for me is just unimaginable. Take the time to click here and listen to this song. Rather than watch the video, follow along with the lyrics. I pray that you will be moved as I was just a few days ago.

One day when heaven
Is filled with His praises
One day when sin was as black as could be
Jesus came forth to
Be born of a virgin
He dwelt among men, my example is He

Living He loved me
Dying He saved me
Buried He carried my sins far away
Rising He justified
Freely forever
One day He's coming
Oh, Glorious Day
Oh, Glorious Day

One day they led Him
Up calvary's mountain
One day they nailed Him
To die on a tree
Suffering anguish
Despised and rejected
Bearing our sins, my Redeemer is He

One day the grave could conceal Him no longer
One day the stone rolled away from the door
Then He arose o'er
Death He had conquered
Now is ascended
My lord evermore


One day the trumpet will
Sound for His coming
One day the skies with His
Glories will shine
Wonderful day
My beloved was bringing
Glorious Savior this Jesus is mine


One day the trumpet will
Sound for His coming
One day the skies with His
Glories will shine

June 25, 2011

Cubs Sox VIP

Jason and I, along with my Uncle Dennis and Marilyn had Cubs/Sox tickets at US Cellular for Wednesday night. Jason found out a couple weeks ago that he would be traveling and wouldn't be able to go. Being that the Cubs haven't been playing well and I am not a huge fan of going to US Cellular because of the way Cubs fans are treated by Sox fans I'd probably have sold the tickets. But since we were going with my uncle and wife, I decided it'd be fun and invited my friend, Brooke.

The night of the game around 4:00 Brooke texted telling me she had some really exciting news and wanted to confirm it was just us going to the game. I told her we were meeting my uncle there and she continued to tell me she has amazing seats, behind home plate, scout seats. I tired to figure out a way to make it work so I could sit with her and also sit with my uncle but after thinking about it and discussing it with her, I realized there was no way I could pass these tickets up. I then learned there was free food and drinks, before and during the game. In hindsight, I guess I didn't really know what to expect. I was feeling bad for ditching out on my uncle for better seats since I havent' seen him in a couple months and also didn't really understand all that really came with the seats.

When we got to the game, I realized it was similar to US Cellulars Stadium Club which I blogged about here. We could have as much food as we wanted before we headed into the game. So I ate. A lot and had a couple mojitos.

Then we headed into the game. Even though Brooke had told me the tickets were first row behind home plate, I didn't think that's really where we'd be sitting. But we were. I think I was kind of in shock the whole evening! There was a server who came by every five minutes or so and brought us whatever food or drink we wanted. She handed out ice cream bars left and right along with hot dogs and pretzels. I was able to order popcorn all night, so I had a continuous flow of popcorn in my mouth at all times. (one of my absolute favorite foods!) My phone didn't work most of the night (I heart AT&T) but near the end of the game we learned my mom and dad could see us on TV. It was almost freaky having my mom tell me from 40 miles away to stop talking to the gentleman next to me. It was one of the best nights of baseball I've ever experienced, and that's saying a lot considering it was at US Cellular (usually a place I despise!) and the Cubs lost. I just love baseball and being in those seats reminded me so much of why I love the game. It's always been a dream of mine to go to as many stadiums as possible before I die and that was truly the best seat I will ever be able to sit in and hope to cherish that memory forever. Brooke, I cannot thank you enough for inviting me to sit with you, it was the best night of baseball I've ever been to. Thank you!!!

Dinner before the game

View from my seats

Rahm Emanual was just a section over!

Zoomed in view from my seat!

After the game -- WOW

And a view from the TV....HA -- Yes I took this of my own TV after the game. That's Brooke and me on the left! Amazing night!!!!!!

June 23, 2011

Trip to Cosley "Zoo"

This week I took Kaylee to Cosley Zoo in Wheaton. I've been complaining all summer that it hasn't been "summer" weather. Well wouldn't you know, the day I decide to bring a 10 month old to a zoo, it's 90 degrees out. And boy did the zoo stink!

Minus the humidity and stinkiness, we had a really great afternoon together! I don't get to see Kaylee nearly enough and she is just a doll to be with. I tried teaching her all I knew about the horses and ponies that were there but she seemed most interested in the llamas and owls. (I assume it's because they moved the most?) She also loved when the donkey made it's obnoxious hee hawing. :)

After the zoo we went to meet my family for dinner to celebrate my brothers birthday. She was so excited to see her mom and dad! From that moment on, she was all smiles! I am so in love with this girl, she is just the sweetest, cutest little girl!

all smiles

Loving from Grandma!

Happy birthday Shawn!

June 17, 2011

We're Moving! (if all goes as planned!)

Gosh, I don't even know how to begin this...there is so much to say and so much emotion attached. I've been thinking about how I was going to write this and I really am at a loss for words.

Both Jason and I have been tossing around the idea of moving to Colorado since last November. It all started shortly after I moved in and Jason and I realized our space got really tight and with him working from home our current condo will be too small once we decide we want to have kids. Clearly, a move is in our future. Even though we love living in the city, we long to have a back yard, basement, guest bedroom (turned nursery eventually), and Jason really needs an office since he works from home and a garage (see this post).

Anyone who lives in the city knows how little space/storage city condos offer and neither of us are fond of moving to the Chicago burbs. The cost of living in Chicago is so expensive so to get a house we both want, we'd have to move to the outskirts of Chicago, which is the complete opposite of how/where we're living now. Ever since November, Jason and I have been checking our weather app for Denver and saw that it was consistently warmer temperatures and learned that Denver has sun over 300 days a year (opposed to Chicago which is around 85!)

Since we started getting very serious about the move, I decided I wanted to go to Colorado for a few days to get a feel for the neighborhoods and the people. After several emails with a Realtor explaining what we want and can afford, we met (totally a God thing, but can explain that later) and she took us around for an entire day showing us areas as far north as Erie and as far south as Highlands Ranch with everything in between. I had been praying that I would get a very clear sense if this (move) was something we should do. The first half of the day it was very clear that the north suburbs were not for me. I was initially pretty disappointed that we had flown all the way out there just to discover that I hadn't liked any of the areas I had seen in the first 3 days we were there. But as we drove south I got more and more excited. Everything I had pictured in my head as for where I want to raise our family was there. The shopping, the neighborhoods, the houses, the people, the mountains, the weather. (an in all fairness it rained every day we were there!) I have not felt so much at peace as I did that afternoon. I felt this true sense of contentment that I hadn't felt since even before I was laid off. I felt like this was exactly where I am supposed to be a teacher, where we are to raise our kids, where we will find our forever-church home and where I may even learn how to grow a garden or how to bake! (both those last ones are a stretch!) I just felt home in a way I haven't felt in a while. I think I always realized the city of Chicago would be a stepping stone for me, especially for my "single days" and always knew I didn't want to go back to the Chicago suburbs but never thought past that, so what a feeling to be in a place I finally feel I could call "home."

It's been an emotional month as we've told friends and family. I am very close to my family and know it will be very hard to leave, but just as it is with me in Chicago (with them all thinking I'm sooooo far away :) we will do our best to budget for many trips home. We will surely have an extra bedroom for guests to visit as often as they'd like. I have the (spiritual) gift of hospitality so living in Colorado will be a great time to use and try to perfect the gift that God has so graciously given me. God has been so faithful to us through this decision, I believe this will be a true test of my faith. By no means do I think this will be an easy transition for me (who am I kidding...I went to college just 2 hours away and was homesick all three years!) but I am as confident as I could be that this is the path we are to take, and just need to trust that God will be at our side.

If prayer is your kind of thing, I really ask that you would be praying for us and for our families. As I said, it's been very emotional. I don't want to let anyone down and by making this decision I feel like we have. At the same time, it's something I really feel we're being led to do and couldn't be more excited to see how His plan plays out in our lives together as a family of two (and hopefully growing some day!)! Oh...and once we're settled, I hope you will come visit, this is an open invitation, we would love to have you!

June 10, 2011


I think Facebook is a great way to stay connected to people I wouldn't normally get to keep in touch with. At the same time, is is addicting and can be such a waste of time.

Let's face it though, people only put on Facebook what they want others to see and know. There's some who update their status every hour including every detail of their life and others who only update once a month or less. For me, I feel like I'm somewhere in between. I admit, similar to my blog, Cooper has made an appearance more often than not lately, I mean he is just so adorable, how can I not post his daily pictures of cuteness? But there are some people who live through and on it, posting all their daily struggles and happiest of times. And sadly, I'm the sucker who is there reading all their updates and going through every random picture someone posts. In all honesty, it's just a huge time-waster for me.

I've said it before but shortly after Jason and I were married, I suddenly felt the pressures to get pregnant and pop out our first kid. Facebook has made me start comparing myself to what others are doing, how many kids they have, where and how many bedrooms their first (or second or third) house has, and the hardest one lately is how successful they are at their job, or even that they have a job. Last week, I had a hard couple of days and actually found myself wanting to have the life of someone who had posted an adorable picture of their three year old son. I thought, "Oh, they have the cutest family of four, they live in a really nice house in the north suburbs, she has a steady job." (something I REALLY miss having!) I found myself being completely envious of this one person and feeling so sorry for myself. Lucky for me it was only 15 minutes later that I remember that this was the friend who's now husband cheated on her back in college and she so easily took him back. While yes, they're happily married now, they had a very bumpy road. That's one bumpy road I hope to never have to go down. Today things look all cheery and happy for them but we all have our difficult times. I am sure had we had Facebook when that was going on this particular person wouldn't have been broadcasting her marriage problems all over face book (at least I hope not!). When I'm down, its just so easy to get caught up in all of what people post and want to make you believe is the perfect life.

In addition to struggling with that, I find myself checking my newsfeed all the time. I mean it, all the time. I don't even know I'm doing it or realize I'm looking at my phone, but I'll have facebook pulled up. And since I have probably 85% of my "friends" hidden, I see the same updates and same pictures over and over again. I know it's partially part of the loneliness factor in my life because I don't have nearly the human interaction that I wish I had with not being employed, but at this point it's just a time-waster and like I said, can really bring me down when I have absolutely nothing to be down about!

While reading my devotions this morning I realized how little time I spend with God these days. I don't have much of a routine to my days lately, so while I make every effort for my quiet time with God, it's cut very short by other distractions. There's nothing forcing me to get that time in like there would be if I had to be out the door at a certain time. I wish I had a way to track just how much time is spent on Facebook, I'm sure I'd be shocked, but I feel that the time has come to put it to an end. At this point in my life, there's no way I would consider canceling my account, like I said, I love how I'm able to keep in touch with friends and family I wouldn't normally get updates from. But there was a time in our lives that we didn't have Facebook and my life was going along just fine.

Started this morning, I implemented a new rule: I'm not allowed on Facebook from 9am-9pm. Jason laughed when I told him that and said I should probably make it 5pm instead. (Good to know he has so much faith in me. ;-) When I say I won't be on Facebook between those hours I mean that I won't be checking my newsfeed, but I can still post status updates or pictures and send/respond to Facebook messages. Updating a status or picture or responding to an email isn't what I feel needs to be cut. I hope to use the sporadic times I've used on Facebook to read a book, journal or pray or whatever other healthier things I'd like to do.

I share this on here as a way to help hold me accountable. By writing it out and then actually posting this, I hope it will help me really stay off. I'd love if you'd share some of your thoughts about Facebook, how it has helped or possibly affected you like it has for me. I know I'm not alone in this but am glad I can hopefully put it to rest and start making better use of my time! Wish me luck and I'll see you all on Facebook at 9:00pm sharp tonight!

June 9, 2011

Summer Small Group

Summer small group has begun! Jason and I decided after leading a group in the spring that we wanted to continue and lead for the summer. Now that we've had one group under our belts, I feel like we're starting to get the hang of things. We certainly have a LONG way to go and so much to learn but I am really excited about this group. We're studying the book of Psalms which really excites me because I want to start reading the Bible more and this is a sure way to do that. The book of Psalms is about prayer, which is another thing I am really trying to work on.

Last night was our first meeting. I felt like I spent a lot of time preparing for our first meeting, planning the discussion with an ice-breaker along with some other activities. Well, apparently Satan didn't like what we had planned so about two hours before we were to meet, Jason and I left to walk Cooper and grab dinner and locked ourselves out. Awesome. We called the locksmith but he didn't show up until about 45 minutes after our group did.

We held group in the hallway, then in the lobby because the a/c wasn't working in the hall. Our neighbors who walked through thought we were nuts as we ate cake to celebrate two birthdays. We did finally get into our unit but I was disappointed in the way the whole night went down after that much preparation.

I will say that I am super excited about our group and what we're going to study together. I love that I am married to a Godly man who will lead a group with me and welcome people into our home so we can all grow together. I'm very excited for the next 10 weeks!

And yes, we will hide even more keys and distribute to neighbor friends so this doesn't happen again!

Summer Job!

So I feel like I'm 19 and home from college for summer break, but I am very excited to report that I have a summer job! By only taking one class this summer obviously it frees up my schedule a lot. Summer classes are always harder because it's half the time but I need to do something with my free time. I've been praying for something but how could I find a job during the day only 3 days a week and only for 2-3 months?! God is so good. My friend put me in touch with a couple from church who is looking for someone to watch their newborn for two months, three times a week. Wow, that was such a God thing. Fits my schedule perfectly, brings in some cash for us and I get to cuddle with a 3 month old baby for two months! Win-Win!


Coopers been really good about not destroying our shoes. He will go to the front hall, then carry them to his bed and play with them but he hasn't actually chewed or destroyed anything. Until today. This was after me taking BOTH shoes away from him and hiding them. Apparently I didn't hide them well enough because this is what happened.
Brat...those were my walking flip flops that I would wear to walk him! Guess no more walks for Cooper for a while!

But honestly, who could be mad at that adorable face?! In all fairness these are really old and I was due for a new pair. He was just trying to speed up the process for me. ;-)

Another Quarter DONE

YAY! I have completed another quarter of classes. This time I took three since the school wouldn't allow me to take four while taking a specific course which was supposed to be a lot of work. It'd have been fine, but regardless, another three are completed and I am registered for my FINAL quarters at NLU. I have one class this summer and then my last two will be in the fall! As if that's not enough, this summer is the first quarter I won't have any night classes either, if you could see me right now you'd see that I'm jumping up and down! I definitely see the light at the end of this tunnel!

June 2, 2011

Coopers First Haircut

Cooper was in dire need of a haircut. I was like a protective mom with my babies first curls being cut off...I'm surprised I didn't ask for them to save his first cut!

Jason finally convinced me to get the poor guy trimmed so after doing some research on how to have him cut we finally brought him in to a women who is affiliated with our vet. (After watching several groomers at PetCo I decided I'd NEVER bring him there.)

I present to you his BEFORE picture (AKA Shaggy Cooper):

And his AFTER picture (AKA Cooper the Poodle Picture):
He looks like a poodle! When I shouted that out when I picked him up, the groomer said, "Well he is part poodle." Well yeah...but now he actually looks like it!! HAHA...it is definitely going to take some getting used to! I will say, the best part is that now he can actually see!