Will Weekend

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This weekend Joe’s cousin Luke married his longtime girlfriend Miranda at the Enchanted Barn. Obviously I wanted to be there, but as I wrote last – I started a new job two weeks ago and spent the majority of last week traveling. So when the weekend rolled around the last thing I wanted to do was to get back in a car for another 10+ hours. Joe & Ella decided that they would make the trip alone and Will & I would stay behind. I was sad to miss the event, but it also offered me the chance to spend some rare one-on-one time with Will.

He’ll turn 2 in a month and I’m pretty sure rare doesn’t accurately describe our time, since it’s probably the first time he and I have ever been able to do something just the two of us. We’re always together but it’s usually with Ella and he never gets 100% of my attention.

We had such a great time! We spent the morning at the pool with our friends Theresa & Bex. We thought we were crazy to go since it was pretty cloudy all morning long but as soon as we arrived at the pool, the clouds parted and the day was packed with sunshine. I later learned that we should likely thank Ella for our good fortune, as she asked Mother Nature for some sunshine at that exact same time.

We played with squirt guns, practiced counting while jumping into the pool and ate our weight in snacks from concessions. After a long nap, we then headed to our friends Emmy & Seth’s for dinner and drinks. The sangria was almost as good as the company and Will loved playing with their visiting golden retriever, Barney. We came home late and snuggled until we both fell asleep!

When we decided we wanted a second child, I told myself I would never let Ella feel like she was being replaced by a new, younger model. I have been adamant about ensuring she and I get our “girl time”  but I have neglected to make sure Will gets the same treatment. After our enjoyable weekend, I have decided that from now on I will make sure to set aside some one-on-one time with Will too.
10455841_10100792170815726_8392039765699052692_nP.S. Ella & Joe had a great time too!

My Second Family

Today is my first day of unemployment, but don’t worry it won’t last long as I start my new gig on Monday as the Corporate Director of Marketing & Sales at First Supply!

Almost 7 years ago, Joe & I were still living in Eau Claire when he randomly said he wanted to move to a bigger market. Obviously we weren’t going to choose Minneapolis – we’re Badger/Brewer/Packer fans and there was no way we could live amongst the Gopher/Twins/Vikings. So we set our sights on Madison and started searching for jobs. Luckily I came across a random Craigslist posting for an entry-level Project Coordinator role at a little place called Kennedy Communication’s.

I got a call for an interview, but  since it was a Craigslist ad I wasn’t quite sure if the agency was legitimate or not.  At that time there was no website to learn more, but I figured – why not? I had a great interview where we talked a lot about my prior experience at a web firm and I got a call the very next day. The offer was surprising though – they wanted me to help build a web department to service their current clients. I asked what the role entailed and the response was, “we have no idea – but if you can let us know your decision this week, I’ll throw in free Badger tickets.”  Obviously, the choice was clear (see: Badger fan comment above). I packed up my stuff and moved to the big city. Unfortunately Joe hadn’t lined something up yet so I went alone!

It was a risk but it was the best one I have ever taken and I can’t believe how lucky I am for finding that role! We did build a department, in fact we were so successful that we formed our own company – Kennedy Convergence, solely dedicated to the web initiatives for our clients. It started as a team of 2 and grew to almost 10!

The entire agency has grown. I was the 12th employee hired and today there are 25 awesome people… I can’t say enough about great things about the people. When we moved here, we knew very few people and had our family several hours away. We’ve made so many very close friends because of Kennedy. Some have come and gone but I will have a special place in my heart for every.single.one. Yesterday I left behind my second family, but only on Mondays-Fridays from 8 to 5!

This hasn’t been just a job for me – we really are a family. That means so many things including respect, loyalty, laughter, FUN and being extremely honest with each other. I experienced all of those things while at Kennedy. Those people truly know who I am. They’ve stood by and supported me through so many major life events (“she had a baby, got married and had ANOTHER baby!”) They’re always welcome in my home and I would do anything for them – I owe them!

Photo (8)Last week they threw me a going away party and kindly brought a cake that included a sentiment only they could come up with, “If you’re going to reach for the stars, reach for the lowest one!” They also left me with the absolute best parting gift a girl could ask for – a photo album full of memories that we’ve all made together. Happy hours, Badger bashes, weddings, Brewer outings, travel trips, charity events, work celebrations, Halloween costumes, volleyball nights and “normal” days in the office. It might be the best, most thoughtful gift I have ever been given.

They also gave me a card that read, “Work Hard. Be Honest. Have Fun. Dream Big. Laugh Often. Be True to Yourself.” I  promise to always do those things and hope the same for everyone at Kennedy!

May…be I Should Write

It’s already May and since I missed all of April, I should probably write! There’s plenty of material so now it’s just deciding what’s most worthy.

This past weekend we were fortunate enough to participate in our third March of Dimes: March for Babies on behalf of The Cleft Awareness Foundation. In years past the weather has been awful, but this year Mother Nature graced us with some rare sunshine making the day absolutely beautiful. Through the support and generosity of our friends & family we were able to raise $2,000 and we had 18 walkers on our team! We look forward to this event for years to come.

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The walk always falls on Mother’s Day weekend, which in the past, has always seemed really inconvenient. Of course I’d like to be able to spend that day with my mom & grandma and this event prevents me from doing that. It wasn’t until this year that I finally realized just how perfect the timing actually is. If it weren’t for Ella, I might not even be a mom at this point in my life and we’d definitely not be participating in the March of Dimes walk. In fact there are a lot of things that wouldn’t exist if there were no Ella!

Irie Mon

Last year we were bitten by the travel bug when we went on our delayed honeymoon to Costa Rica. After that trip we vowed to go somewhere new at least once a year.

As the winter months drug on & on we decided there was no better time and booked a trip to Jamaica. Our previous trip was 7 days which was too long to be away from the kids, so we settled on 4 nights/5days. We left early Friday morning and after a chain of comical events, landed in Jamaica a little before 1:00 p.m. We stayed in a town called Runaway Bay which allowed us to take in the local scenery during our hour long drive to the resort.

Up until now, I had never experienced blue-green water and it definitely did not disappoint. The weather was a beautiful 80 degrees, a vast difference from the below zero temps we left behind. Our room at Gran Bahia Principe wasn’t ready for check-in so we walked down to the beach. At the very end of our walk we were delighted to find a full bar overlooking the waves. Just as we sat the clouds rolled in and the rain poured down. Our last trip started with rain and that ended well so we weren’t overly discouraged.

Since we were in Jamaica, it only seemed fitting that we went bobsledding while there, so the next day we set out on our first excursion to Mystic Mountain. We didn’t really know what to expect other than we were going to fly down the mountain in bobsleds connected to a metal track. We made our way up via a sky car overlooking the forest and ocean, which was absolutely stunning! Once we got to the top we were met with even more activities than we expected. There was a hummingbird garden, a museum, an infinity pool complete with water slide and a restaurant perched at the very top. As expected we did fly down the mountain in the bobsleds, rounding the tight corners at speeds faster than recommended. After partaking in all that was offered we made our way back down the sky car in the pouring rain.

Mystic Mountain Jamaica

While we had a great time, I was really looking forward to our Day 3 activities. Dunn’s River Falls is a popular tourist attraction that lets you walk from the bottom of the falls all the way to the top by climbing the rocks through the water. After an hour & a half of frigid cold, crystal clear water we hiked all the way to the top and we were off to the main event-swimming with the dolphins!

I have always wanted to swim with the graceful animals and could barely contain my excitement. With the sun hiding behind the clouds, we entered Dolphin Cove where we got up close & personal with sharks, iguanas, parrots, & stingrays. After meeting all the other animals it was our turn to enter the water with the dolphins. We swam with two different dolphins and got to touch them, ride on their bellies and ended with a kiss. They were amazing and felt like rubber to the touch.

Picture 9Since Tuesday was spent traveling, Monday was our last day on the island. We hadn’t seen much sun and were looking forward to relaxing so we spent the majority of the day next to the ocean on the beach. We found the kids plenty of seashells and got more than enough sun (ouch)!

What a great vacation! I’m so glad we took the time to get away and discover more of the world together. I’m happy to get back home with our kiddos and can’t wait until they are big enough to go along and experience some of their firsts!

(Please ignore the photo quality, I didn’t take the time to scan them)

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Luck

Good or bad, everyone believes they have one or the other and some people strongly believe the mantra that you make your own! Personally I’ve always said that I have bad luck, but a few years back I met someone who told me that I should stop saying & believing that. She felt that attitude was what was causing the bad luck to follow me.

So I listened to her and whenever anything bad happened I resisted the urge to say, “I have the worst luck!” That was almost 5 years ago and while I’d like to say that my changed perception of luck has in turn changed the outcome of all situations since then, that’s sadly not the case.

Let’s discuss the most recent example. The morning started with a bright & early wakeup call at our hotel. There was a fire in the kitchen at 3:30 a.m. forcing all the guests to evacuate the building. Luckily we were already up & moving for our 4 a.m. departure.

We arrived at the airport with plenty of time and boarded our plane. We found our seats located right behind two men, who were meeting for the first time & both baptist. Let’s be clear – I was raised in a Catholic family and have no problem with religion, but I’m also not interested in listening to an entire conversation about, “if you pray to God to find the Christians, he will!” Luckily my earbuds were readily available and able to drown out the early morning gospel.

With a tight connection to catch, we prayed (see what I did there) to depart on time. Just as we were set to lift off, a fellow passenger had a seizure, causing us to sit tight. Luckily there was an EMT on board and the man will be okay.

I’m currently mid-air on our way to Jamaica and I know most of you (especially those still battling the never-ending Midwest winter) will say, “well, that’s pretty damn lucky.” You are right, I am fortunate to be sitting here – happy & healthy, next to my loving husband, with our kids in the care of their generous grandparents.

The difference though is that it has nothing to do with luck. We’ve worked hard to be able to enjoy a vacation. Lucky things do happen to me and I will continue my pledge to not talk about bad luck, but more than that I like to focus on the bright-side!

Everything that has happened today could have been worse. The hotel could have burnt down, I could have forgot my headphones, the man could have experienced a more serious medical issue. We’ll likely catch our connecting flight & be sipping rum punch in a few short hours!

There’s always a bright side! That’s my mantra – things can always be worse and someone else is handling more. Things WILL work out & I know that for a matter of fact because the two gentleman just prayed for that mid-flight. If not, I’ll just drink more rum. Jamaican Me Crazy!

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