The Gift of Time

In my mind, August is not the end of the summer but rather the beginning of fall. I will report to school at the end of next week to help with new teacher training, and fall will be in full swing.

Gateway MarketThankfully I’ve had a great summer. One of the things I love about having the summer away from my classroom is the opportunity to take off and spend uninterrupted time with friends I don’t get to see during the school year. Last week I spent a day in Des Moines with my friend Paige. She took the day off work, and the two of us sat at Gateway Market for hours and hours. We were lucky enough to score a table outside in the shade. The fish tacos were good. The lemon poppy-seed muffin was even better. The conversation was beyond great.

While some back-to school-shopping was included in this trip, it really wasn’t about accomplishing anything that day. It was just about spending time together. Summer gives me the gift of time.

Wednesday = Date Day

My favorite day of the week this summer is Wednesday. Somehow John has been able to take every Wednesday off since our Hawaiian vacation. I guess all of those hours he put in over the winter are paying off while I’m home to enjoy the time with him.

IMG_1638Our traditional weekday date includes brunch at Riley’s. This might be my favorite restaurant in Cedar Rapids, and I’m so exited to get one in Marion soon. I always order breakfast (garden omelette, hash browns, wheat toast, and coffee), but someday I’ll branch out to the lunch/dinner menu.

I also recommend this ridiculously good cinnamon apple pancake with slices of apple baked within. It was impossible to consume with my eyes open. It was that good.

Lillian’s Baptism

IMG_1677Look at that beautiful baptismal gown!

I used to sit in the congregation watching baptisms and thinking that the sacrament was simply about welcoming the baby into the Church. This provided the child with another community, a community of faith. With more reflection through Morgan’s baptism and now Lillian’s, I feel that it’s more about reminding the adults in the child’s life of the adult’s responsibility. As the first teachers of their children, it is a great responsibility for the parents, Godparents, and family members to get the child to Mass, teach him/her to pray, and show how much we rely on God’s grace and forgiveness each and every day. The task is tough because it’s not something an adult can explain to a child. It’s a day-to-day practice of living with God and allowing the child to see for themselves.

Lillian slept through her big day, but many family and friends will be able to remind her that it was a beautiful celebration.

Three-Year Post-Op

IMG_1149Today marks three years since my surgery. I had an appointment yesterday with my dermatologist who came in the door giving me high fives.

Although I do have to go back in August to have a spot removed as a precaution, I appreciate their aggressive approach. I have great doctors!

Two half marathons + a full marathon later, and I’m feeling great!

In case you’ve forgotten how far I’ve come, brace yourself for these progress pictures.

Don’t worry, I’ll make it out for a long run today. It has become a tradition.

“Don’t need nothin’ but a good time…


…and it don’t get better than this.”

Friday night included Bret Michaels, food on a stick, and unlimited adult beverages.

It was a steamy summer night until the sun went down, but the Bud Light Limes were ice cold. Bret Michaels put on a great show with fireworks to end the night.

I think every CD John made me in high school included the song “Every Rose Has Its Thorn”, so IMG_1632it was fitting we attended.

I also found out that John went as Bret Michaels for Halloween one year when he was living in Georgia for a clinical. I’m sure he told me who he was supposed to be at the time, but I didn’t have a clue. I’m thankful John didn’t wear his wig and bandana for another impersonation.

Running with Brooks

IMG_1583Remember how I purchased the same style of running shoe over and over and over… miles + miles.

The last time I went to buy another pair of those loyal New Balance shoes, they were being recalled after a remodel. I needed new shoes, so I let the Running Wild salesman talk me into purchasing a pair of Brooks Ghost 7s. While I paid almost twice as much for these shoes, they lasted 550 miles!

Since my shins started hurting recently, I knew I needed a new pair again. The way I see it, running 550 miles on one pair or shoes without an injury is a reason to purchase them again. I went with the Ghost 8s this time. My only complaint is that Brooks needs to step up their designs. Why can’t I find style and comfort?

Peach Salsa Repost

IMG_4644IMG_4646Since peach season has arrived, I wanted to reblog this recipe for peach salsa.

I doubled the recipe this morning to take along to some events with friends today and this weekend. Dicing the peaches is tedious but totally worth it!

Make this recipe before you have to wait another summer for fresh peaches.


4 diced peaches (I left the skin on)
1 red pepper, finely diced
1 shallot, finely chopped
4 tablespoons lemon juice
Cilantro to taste

HBD, Mom!

IMG_1558My siblings and I started brainstorming ideas for my mom’s 60th birthday months ago. Looking through all of our summer schedules, it somehow worked best to celebrate on her actual birthday.

While my mom thought she was joining John and me for dinner, she was surprised to find almost all of her extended family gathered in the party room. SURPRISE!

IMG_1553The margaritas were great, but these cupcakes (from That One Cupcake Place) were even better. I ordered the “happy birthday”s and the “60”s from Etsy shops, and I was so excited how they turned out.

A big thanks to everyone who joined us for the celebration! I know summer is so busy, so it meant even more to have so many join in on the festivities.

Happy birthday, Mom!


Beach Reads

19486412I accomplished a lot of reading during my long flights. (I’m envious of people who can sleep on an airplane.) Both Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen and The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson were good, but my favorite beach read was Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. You’ve probably heard of this book because it received a lot of talk when it was published last year. She also wrote The Husband’s Secret.

I’m happy I jumped into this book without any expectations. I didn’t know what it was about, I just started reading. So, instead of giving you the summary, I suggest you just start reading with an open mind. I found myself laughing at the ridiculousness of the characters, but the author was still able to reach my emotions. As my friend Michelle said when reviewing this book, “If you’re looking for a book that’s a little gossipy, this one is for you.”