Sunday, December 21, 2008

The answer is just a few balloons away

If you live in the Chicago area you know, it has been insanely cold. If you don't...well, just sing your praises as we experience the thrills of frostbite!

Peter, along with his other doggy "friends" have not done so well in this climate. Clearly, he is no Husky. He is a short haired wimp of a dog. And to top it off, this combination of salt and chemicals we now use to DE-ice is excruciatingly painful and not animal friendly at all!! Hence the rise in sales of doggie boots. We have seen this as Peter has been limping outside recently.

Anyway, the past few days he has run away from his leash and the familiar call, "Peter, want to go outside?" Usually this can get his attention despite any other circumstances. This time, no luck. He is no dummy, it is painful to be out there! He runs and goes to his room/cage. He would rather just be left alone, exiled, then go out there! I don't blame him. We have had to force our dog to take care of business... only in Chicago...sigh....

So, on it goes- I heard about this tip at the salon. Amazing things you learn at the salon, really. Here it is.... balloons.
Our little prancer! Nice legs there, huh??

Here you go dog owners- it actually worked! A cheap and easy alternative to buying those expensive boots. But, when your dog can't go out to pee- you obviously have to do something.

Here is the answer-

1) Purchase a bag of size appropriate latex high quality balloons, for us that meant 12" balloons. For smaller dogs, smaller balloons, bigger dogs- bigger balloons, you get it. This will cost about $1.99-$3.00

2) Trim the balloons at the neck. Meaning, before the circle takes shape- cut off the long skinny part, got it?

3)Somehow convince your furry friend that slipping these colorful slippers on his/her already sensitive paws is really quite fun (Disclaimer: This IS the hardest part- would be the same if they were $30.00 boots though!). We recommend lots of treats and praise. And, we also realize this is quite an ordeal for a dog- but is definitely cheaper than a trip to the V-E-T!!

4) Try very hard not to laugh as your pup begins to moon walk and look pitiful

Peter says, "Really guys?? I look like a string of Christmas Lights! Or, why don't you just send me to the Circus and we'll call it a day."

5) Take the pup out as quickly as possible. The balloon booties may not have a high tolerance level, nor were they actually meant to be booties- so you have to operate under the appropriate time frame. AKA- when you know they MUST have to go after at least 7 hours of refusing- get out there!!!

6) Upon arrival home- remove balloon booties ASAP. Give the little booger a treat in order to try and erase this memory as soon as possible and replace it with something somewhat pleasant.

And, that is our, "oh so important", wisdom for the day. THE END

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Oh, the weather outside is frightful....

Actually, nothing about it is delightful,
And since I have places to go...

Stop the snow, stop the snow, stop the snow!

Well, my winter blues have arrived. I seem to get more scrooge like every year when it comes to winter! Especially now that I am out on the road for 50% of my work hours. There is nothing fun about having to brush your car off while you are freezing, trying to maintain professional appearance, and trying to be somewhere on time. Also due to the snow, I got stuck in a clients driveway the other day which was embarrassing for both her and I (OK, probably more for her since she fell on her bootie as I was finally pulling away... I felt so bad for her!!).

Although I will admit, the snow that is gently falling from the sky at the present time is kind of pretty... BUT not pretty enough for me to ever ever say I like snow, or that winter is "not that bad".

I am very grateful for a warm place to live, a husband who can help with "snow care" when he is home, and that it is just snow after all.... not a natural disaster. It just makes me crabby :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Hey, I am famous!

OK, not really at all...... but my blog writing caught on somewhere else. I can't believe they included this much of the writing...

In the meantime, Jon and I are doing fine. We continue to pray for our family friends who have lost their homes in Santa Barbara, CA. Thankfully, all our immediate family is safe. But still- we can't believe the tremendous devastation this community, so close to home (was home), has faced.

Blessings to all!


Friday, November 14, 2008


To those of you who have inquired about the fires in Santa Barbara, California- thanks for your concern!

For those of you who don't know- Jon grew up in Montecito(Santa Barbara). We have family and many friends there. This morning fires broke out at this point around 100 homes have been lost. This includes a few close friends homes. Thankfully everyone is safe. It seems to be moving away and under control, but this is still very scary! It was literally on the brink of Jon's childhood home. Crazy!

We know the family in this video:

We love you Santa Barbara and you are in our prayers!!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

We are still waiting for our Risotto

Rice. It is a mystery. I can never get it right.... that is without my rice cooker appliance.

How is it that I can mess up one of the most commonly eaten foods in the world, over and over again....

Anyone else experience a rice cooking disability and proclaim dependence on the rice cooker??

Monday, November 10, 2008

A tidbit on why I am so excited about Barack

I think one of the major things people might be misunderstanding about Barack Obama as president- he IS change. The fact that we have finally elected a individual who is not a white male to be our president is a historic change. This is a change that has already resulted in a renewed sense of hope. For many who have felt like racism is a beast that is too large to conquer, an injustice that will never be understood, and a constant debate filled with frustration- we now have hope that progress really has been made. This is a change. It is a change for a group of people who can now look at our president and see that their race is no longer a reason to feel hopeless. It is a change that now our country has really "walked the talk" and proved that we can elect a president based not off the color of his skin, but the content of his character.

I understand Barack has huge challenges ahead of him as the next president. Just as McCain would have. I don't think Barack's campaign slogan of "Change" was ever really about walking into the White House and changing the way our government works. I am sure there are things he will put efforts into reforming ( I hope so at least!). However, there are also things that will need to remain stable.

The major principle behind the "change" we are all so supportive of has already happened. We have made a change in the way we elect our presidents, who is able to make it as a candidate (men, women, black, white...etc), and who actually is the face representing the diversity that truly exemplifies America.

P.S. I am not a proponent of merely electing someone to office because they are different. Which is why it is so exciting to now have a president who can be this change, but who brings the kind of personal and moral character America needs right now. Along with this is his passion for looking out for the well being of all people, his ability to run a phenomenal campaign (this success shows his ability to succeed and know the needs of the people!), an amazing team of supporters and advisers, and experience which will prove itself credible. And I can't forget to give special kudos to his wife- she is a true role model for women. Willing to put her children first above everything and make this a known priority. But also an intelligent and accomplished woman. And she looks great doin it too! :)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

A word

Just a note....

This past week, I have had numerous conversations with people about the election. I have to say, I am grateful to have such a diverse group of political opinions shared within my friends and family. I truly believe it is important to learn from one another.

However, I also just want to put this out there briefly and will likely write more later ( I seem to be saying that a lot lately! I have been busy!!) Anyway- having opinions and values that tend to align with the democratic party is not a new thing for either Jon or I. Personally, I have always been interested in politics. I also am proud to say that I have opinions that are based off thoughtful reflection- enhanced by my education, my faith, and personal efforts to continually make myself aware of what is going on in the world. For me, this meant that when I first learned about the work Barack Obama was involved in (several years ago), he became I person I greatly respected and trust as a leader. Needless to say- I am very grateful that he is our new president and that I was able to be a part of history in the making. A few people have implied that we voted for Barack because it was trendy, edgy, or "going against the flow". And that, is just not true.

OK I am off my soap box for today. :)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Friday Evening: I leave work feeling tired and stuffy. Proceed to come home, take a short nap. I took a quick trip over to the gym to complete 30 minutes of light cardio. Arrive home, shower, plant myself on the couch. The sneezing and nose blowing begins. Jon was kind enough to make dinner, pasta of course! We watched half of a movie and went to bed early (this is a major indication of when I am not feeling well, I don't go to bed early!) At this point, I had begun to dread what the 26.2 miles might be like.

Saturday: Although I had every intention of rising early and taking a quick jog to remind my body it would be running very early the next day, that didn't happen. After a relaxing late morning and afternoon at home, Jon and I took Peter out for a run/walk. Only 20 minutes or so- this is what all the training plans recommend- we aren't crazy. After that, I felt depleted. Not a good sign. I start to worry.

We head to the marathon expo at McCormick Place. I sleep the whole way there, I feel sick. The parking for the west entrance was full, so we had to pay full price to park on the opposite side and walk all the way through McCormick Place. Side note: we only went through about a quarter of it, but that place is HUGE! I guess I had never wandered around much in there before. Anyway, now is when I really start feeling bad. I felt dizzy and nauseous. I didn't want to stop moving though- I just wanted to get in, get my packet, and go. As we approached the expo my stomach began to turn. Laughter. I began laughing as I usually do when feelings just don't make sense. Jon asked, "Ok, what is so funny?" I reply, "I feel awful! I shouldn't be feeling this way before a marathon, this is not good."

We make our way through the expo with me holding onto Jon's arm. It was very crowded and there was a lot of activity going on! Conveniently, you have to walk through all the vendors booths before you can claim your packet. We made it. Got the big red shoulder bag/back pack made of plastic. After a few Gatorade samples, we made it out. I began to feel a little better on the way out.

By the time we made it to the car, I was still feeling spacey and loopy, but a little better. I call my Mom back, she had called at least 3 times to see how I was feeling. I got the speech again from Mom and Dad, "This isn't something you have to do. Don't push yourself. If you can't finish it is OK. If you can even accomplish 1/2 again that will be awesome. Most people can't do that, and most people aren't even able to train for a marathon." I tell them I know, but that it would be very frustrating not to finish. I then proceed to talk to my Mom and tell her, I am just really nervous because I know I didn't train like I should have and I feel like I set myself up for failure (light bulb goes on....hmm, is this "sickness" maybe psychological??) After finally dealing with the reality that I was extremely nervous to run this race, I began to feel better. Not totally better, I was still afraid of failure and not accomplishing my goal.

By this time, it is about 6:00 p.m. That is when the real defense mechanisms started to set in. I knew I was going to get up and run this race, and try my best, but I couldn't think about it. I began to feel better. Yup, the butterflies and dizziness were definitely psychologically induced. After a quick search through the pantry in attempt to scrounge up our pre-marathon dinner, I decided a trip to Trader Joes was in order. Now, I am really feeling much more like myself.

8:45 p.m. dinner is ready. This is actually normal dinner time for us, I know- we belong in Europe! Pasta again. We eat while enjoying the last half of our movie, which runs longer than we thought it would. 9:30 rolls around, we pause the movie to put away our dishes and Jon proceeds to go into pre-race mode. For him this meant laying out his clothes, gathering his other gear, making sure the coffee brewer was set, lining up some vitamins and Advil on the counter, and going to bed. Very cute, very logical, this man knows how to prepare for events! What did I do? I had a glass of wine and watched the rest of the movie :) I knew I wouldn't be able to go to bed.

11:00 p.m. I went to bed. I had to take 1/2 a Tylenol p.m. at 1:00 a.m., but I slept!

5:45 a.m. Jon arises and is ready to go! He walks Peter, he eats, he is chipper.

6:15 a.m. Jon attempts to wake me up. Not happening yet.

6:30 a.m. I know that the "5 more minutes" window has passed, so I get up. I throw on my running clothes, some sweat pants, toast a bagel, and I am ready to go. That is how I work :) I did gather a few things such as band aids, Advil, and power bars the night before to have with me when I run, so I wasn't totally in denial.

I was very quiet on the entire car ride down, and I my stomach did not feel well. Panic had made its way back into my system.

7:00 a.m. We arrive downtown to find the streets are already starting to close and we missed the chance to park in the designated marathon garages. Opps. We find a garage several blocks up from Millennium park and quickly trot towards the race entrance. It was our warm up. Which was actually perfect. I had tried telling Jon before that you don't really "warm up" for marathons. You can just consider the first 3 miles your warm up, and then you can stop to stretch and keep running the rest of the 23 miles. So I was glad we avoided that argument- one way to put a positive spin on running late.

Wow, it was crowded. After pushing our way through to the gear check and using the port a pottties (material for a whole other post....eww, they were somethin else!), it was time to jump into the start corral.

Pace groups were spread out in 15 minute increments from a 5 hour 45 minute finish up to around a 3 hour finish. We were able to weave our way through the crowd up to the 5 hour pace group. At this point, it was about 7:55 a.m. The crowd was solid and we weren't getting any further.

8:00 a.m. I guess the start gun went off. We were too far back. We heard nothing.

8:10 a.m We take a few steps.

8:20 a.m. Finally begin walking.

8:30 a.m. We are able to pick up a slow jog and finally cross the start line!

I was running a marathon. Crazy. Don't worry, I am not going to describe every ten minutes, nor every mile, in detail. However, one of my hallmark memories occurred before mile 1. As we crossed under the major bridge/overpass by Columbus and Wacker the wall was lined with men who had decided to uhh... how do I put it, take a leak :) I am not sure if this is some sort of marathon ritual, or if that many men really had to pee before even reaching mile 1. The wall was already covered and the wall continued to be consistently lined by men who hopped up to take care of business. There were some police nearby who just laughed.

Miles 1,2,3 I was still pretty subdued. I was not so excited. Not feeling great. Jon, on the other hand, was in great spirits. I pretended not to appreciate his loud enthusiasm, but inside I was grateful for the distraction and optimism.

It is true, the crowds for the Chicago Marathon are amazing. Indescribable. Signs, music, costumes, performances, the whole way through.

Mile 3: I think we were in Lincoln Park..... there was a women standing on the median with a large cow bell and had the whole crowd going along with the cheer "Let's Go!"after each round of clangs on her bell. It was around that point, I turned to Jon and said, "I'm OK now. I can do this! We are running this marathon. I feel fine!"

Mile 5: Jon's foot starts to hurt and the sun is beginning to get quite bright! We walked for about 1 minute and he stretched a little bit. We kept going.

Mile 6: I see a girl on the sidelines cheering who I ran cross country with in high school. Haven't seen her since high school. I yelled out her name as we were running, and she actually heard me and saw me! She was quite surprised and very excited, so that was a fun little pick me up.

Mile 7: Jon's enthusiasm is now gone, but my spirits are up. I turn into the encouraging one.

Mile 8: The group of men in very short shorts who are performing a baton twirling routine alerts us that we are entering boystown.

This neighborhood was so fun to run through! The energy was high and the music was blaring. I believe the band members were all drag queens. I try and tell Jon to keep looking up to see the sights and focus on his surroundings-it will keep him entertained through the next mile.

Around Mile 9: Jon said he needed to walk. I asked if I could keep going. He told me to go, but try to stay to the left as we had discussed. I said ,"I love you hunny, you're doing great!" and I kept going. I stayed to the left and tried to slow my pace a bit.

Mile 10: I stopped for a minute at the aid station, hoping I would find Jon. I searched the crowds, no luck. I kept going.

Mile 11: I almost ran past our friends Nate and Richelle who were standing up on a bench with signs for us. Thankfully, Nate yelled as I was passing them, and I turned around and went to say hi. I stopped for a quick chat and to look for Jon again. After snapping a photo and thanking them, I continued forward.

Mile 12: I am now sure I am going to finish this race. I was getting more competitive with myself and wanted to try and beat my last 1/2 marathon time, so I sped up. It only took me a few minutes to remember that was probably a bad idea. It wasn't worth looking like a rock start at the half way point if it was going to hurt me later on.

Mile 13: Half way. I think I am running too slow because it has been 2 hours and 10 minutes. (I ran my last half in 2 hours) Again, I remind myself that this is not a 1/2 marathon and seeing as I hadn't trained properly for a full one, my goal was just to run the whole thing.

After this point, honestly it gets kind of blurry. I was in go mode. I don't remember a lot about the course. A few things that do stick out between mile 13 and mile 19:

It was getting hot.
My legs hurt.
Several runners stopped at a Subway along the route and bought sandwiches, I found this to be very funny.
There was a women who had three large dogs dressed up in too toos.
They had raised the warning level to RED (Level 3 out of 4) due to the heat.

Mile 20: Pilsen Neighborhood- Awesome! This neighborhood was oozing with community. Everyone was out there cheering. There were Salsa dancers, mariachi bands, and more. Many families were handing out snacks and water to runners.

Mile 21: China Town. I am beginning to feel tired and hurting pretty bad, but I know my family might be cheering for me in Chinatown. They can't see me walking!! I have to keep running since I haven't stopped so far!! The crowds were massive in Chinatown. As I turned the corner, there was a Chinese Dragon and live music. I searched the crowds for my family, looking for my Grandma's trademark grey afro which is easy to spot. No luck. As I got towards the end of Chinatown, but good friend Kristel spotted me. She was right on the sideline and she jumped into the crowd and began running with me... in her jeans and flip flops! She had forgotten I was running and was actually looking for someone else. This provided a great boost of energy and inspiration. I was struck by how encouraging it was to see a familiar face at that point. I never did see my parents, so I figured they must've already headed to the finish line.

Mile 23: I am hot, in pain, and tired. I am now making a conscious effort to stop at every aid station and drink Gatorade and water. Even though my appetite wasn't there, I ate a banana. I also look for every chance I can to run by the spectators spraying people with hoses or handing out snacks.

Mile 24: Only 2 miles left. I am soaked. I have been pouring water on myself every chance I get in effort to keep cool. I was almost too wet! My legs and feet HURT. I keep going and I am looking forward to finishing.

Mile 25: Please stop spraying me!! By this point, they had opened up hydrants and were making sure everyone on the course was cool. There were a few points where there was no option not to get wet. I walk for about 30 seconds in order to make sure I can run through the last mile.

The last mile felt very long. I couldn't wait to see that finish sign. I tried to keep an eye out for my family, and maybe for Jon. I wasn't sure if he had to stop due and thought maybe he would've taken a bus back to the finish.

The adrenaline kicks in and realize I am running the last 1/2 mile of a marathon. I am filled with emotion and disbelief. I look for my family. I pick up my pace and have a strong stride. I see the finish and I run as fast as my sore little body can go. Passing people is the goal at this point. I do. And then- I finish! I wasn't thinking about posing for the finish camera like everyone else, I was serious......

The clock said 4:57. My watch said 4 hours and 25 minutes, which would be about right if you calculate in the 30 minutes it took us to cross the finish line.

Immediately after, I felt weak and it felt hard to walk. I kept moving forward through the masses to get my shoe chip clipped. A finisher medal was placed around my neck by a man who said, "Great Job!" I want food and water....

I make it out of the finish section and head to gear check where Jon and I are supposed to meet. He wasn't there. At this point, I start thinking- this is no fun, I just finished and I ran the whole thing and I am all by myself!! I finally get my phone to work and call my parents. They were still in China town!! They couldn't believe I had finished and apparently the runner notification messages weren't working so well. My Dad was shocked and I heard my Mom saying, "How does she sound, is she OK?" My Dad was laughing and said, "She sounds fine! She is fine, she's done!"

To sum up afterwards, it was crazy and crowded! I didn't know what to do about Jon as he still wasn't at our meeting place and no one had notification of where he was at. Almost an hour had past since I finished. I tried not to worry and figured that he must of made it close to the end and then needed to take a bus back which was why it was taking so long. I just stayed put and waited for whoever would make it to meet me first- him or my family.

Finally, I spotted him at the Gear Check on the opposite side of the tent. He had just finished! I couldn't get to him so I yelled and we each made our way to the end of the tent. I was so happy to see him and so proud of him! I couldn't believe he had it in him to finish. Jon is athletic, but not really a runner, and had been having trouble training due to various ways his body wasn't responding well to running over 10 miles. He was pretty exhausted and in pain and extremely relieved to have it all over with! I am not sure I would've kept going if I were in his shoes, it must've been horrible! But he did it!

The timing of these races is always sort of weird, but my official time according to results was 4:34. I was 13,509 out of 31,401 finishers. I am happy with that, considering I was freaking out the day before and hadn't run more that 16 miles before this! However, I already have this crazy idea in my head that maybe if I actually trained, I could do a lot better and maybe I need to do another one.........

Maybe not. How bout 1/2 marathons?

SO that is my long recount of the marathon. If you read the whole thing, you must really love me or just be a running dork like me! I will write more about what all this meant to me, but for now- I will leave it at this- One week ago we both finished a marathon- woo hoo!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Here I am remaining postive and taking a stupid pic at mile 11!

Our loyal and super encouraging supporters/friends Richelle & Nate at mile 11.
More photos to come soon of along the race... but here are some from afterwards.

Jon's Poor Feet!
Running for a Cause: Children's Hope International


We did it!

I will post more as soon as I am able- recovering may take awhile!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Here we go....

I was thinking of all the ways you say "Good Luck" and the saying "Break a leg!" came to mind. I had to laugh, because I am slightly worried I just may break my leg, fall on my face, or pass out tomorrow!

I have been feeling slightly under the weather. Not bad enough that it would hold me back from anything at any other time. But it makes me nervous - when I went for my last easy 3 mile run yesterday, my chest felt heavy and I was quickly exhausted. I am feeling OK today- I slept in, even though I told myself not to do that. Because now I probably won't be able to fall asleep tonight! I started to force myself to get up early, but Jon pointed out if you can sleep well now, then just keep sleeping. Probably good advice since I needed some rest.

Anyway, enough of the rambling! We are headed to pick up our race packets. In about 24 hours, hopefully we will be close to 23 miles or so. At this point, I am just hoping it isn't an absolutely horrible experience and I actually leave feeling like I accomplished something.

That being said, this really shouldn't be about me or about the race. As I am running, I assure I will be thinking about what inspired us to finally sign up to run this marathon:

Over 143 million children are living without adequate medical care, nutrition and shelter. Most of these children can never be adopted. They are destined to live in orphanages or on the street. Explore this site to discover how you can sponsor a particular child or support a project for the benefit of many children. YOU can bring homes, health and hope to children in need.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Just a little post to say we are here! It has been a crazy few weeks filled with flooding, work events, and birthday celebrations! Happy Belated Birthday to me :) And Happy Birthday to Jon- coming up on the 30th.

I think it is funny that I tend to forget our actual ages- since I am the baby of most of my friends I usually naturally round up for the last few months of the year. And I don't know why I can't ever accurately state how old my husband is... I even posted it wrong on an evite, opps! Anyway, for those of you who are curious- I am now 26 and Jon will be 28.

We are trying our best to squeeze in as much running as possible! I am actually very excited to take on the whole 26.2, but I also know it will not be pleasant. I have not been as diligent as I should've been about training. I'm sorry- but once you have been running for over 2 hours you start to think about all the other things that need to get done. Training for this whooper sort of can take over your life! I think I have decided that I am more of a 1/2 marathon person. BUT I will have to convince myself I am actually a marathon person for the next month! Jon is still hangin in there- he doesn't really like running. Kind of funny isn't it. Someone who doesn't like running signed up to run a marathon- ha! Well, it was his idea, I promise. He asked me the other night if once I finish the race, I will come back and finish the rest with him.... I love you dear, but I don't think I will quite have it in me to turn around and start running again! I have been known to do that in 5k's but that is a bit different. I determined to finish this race, and I do have a goal in mind, but it isn't going to be painless. I am actually planning on it being quite painful. Which is why I think I will resort back to 1/2 marathons from here on out. But, I could be wrong- maybe it will be AWESOME! Anyway, we will both cross that finish line one way or another!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Seattle 08

We had a great time in Seattle last week! Who knew we really so many people in Seattle! Really, it was a little crazy to realize how many connections we have there.

Below: Peterson Family- Chris, Aurora, Sage, Erik, and Torston
Above: Tim & Sandra, Us, & Austin

Above: Austin, Jon, and Alison (Ali, Al, etc.)
Below: Deanne & Jon
Above: Welcoming Britta to Seattle! Good Luck with Law School!!

It was wonderful to spend time with our nieces and nephew- and of course, their parents Erik and Chris! We finally met Torston, our nephew, I can't believe it has been 9 months! He is a pretty cute little fellow with his tow head, huh? I never expected to be such a sucker for a little blondy! I am always the one who makes fun of my "Swede" friends and family. Maybe I am biased cause he is my nephew, or maybe because he looks just like Jon did as a baby.... but I think he is one cute little booger!
Ali and Austin were amazing hosts for the week! It was so refreshing to just be with one of my bestest buds in her home and in her life. Each night we all stayed up far too late telling stories, laughing at random jokes, sharing secrets, and just enjoying being with each other. I am so grateful to feel like Austin has become a close friend too- and not just because he is Al's husband. It was hard to leave not knowing when we would get time like this again!

We also celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary! Crazy! Is next year really 5 years? It can't be! Five years was going to be our marker for so many things- start thinking about a family, go to Italy, move out west........ I can't even imagine these things now! It really crept up much faster than we've expected. We are very content with where we are at- happy just being together, done with school for awhile, having the freedom to travel and follow our spontaneity.... not ready for the kiddos to appear anytime soon!

Anyway- on to the rest of September- there is much more to be celebrated! Here are a few more pics:

Clearly, I look a little unsure about the Baby Bjorn. As does Torston..... he was fine :)


Friday, August 22, 2008


I really can't believe it has been a month since I started my new job! Time has flown by. I think I am finally feeling settled and somewhat adjusted. I recently came to a point of acceptance- this position is more demanding, more stressful, and takes more energy than I expected. I was warned it would be quite a "big" job, but that's hard to understand until you start doing the work! The transition has been a bit overwhelming at times, but I feel like I have began to develop my own groove and go with the flow.

On another note- I am very excited for the weekend! The next few weeks are going to be busy. Tonight we head to Michigan to spend time with some great friends. On Wednesday we leave for Seattle to visit friends and family. Our 4 year wedding anniversary is also quickly approaching, along with both of our birthdays! September is always a packed month!

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Friday, August 15, 2008

NOTE: This post from below.... yeah, I was trying to post that about 3 weeks ago and it wasn't going through,I tried about 7 times. Anyway it JUST showed up today, seven times! Weird! Thanks Melissa for pointing it out ASAP so I didn't look like a crazy woman!

Mamma Mia! The Movie - Chiquitita (video)

Mamma Mia!

I loved this movie! There are other scenes that are far better than this one- however, it hit the spot! I am so grateful for GREAT friends- who I know would come running with whatever I need. Whether that be tissues, bible verses, a stiff cocktail, a long run, or just a good long talk- I know you are there for me and I am so happy to be able to just "be" with good friends! You know who you are- you all take on various roles whether that means you reach my soul in a spiritual, personal, professional, or just down right fun way! Truth be told- the best of friends do all those things!

Which is why I love Chiquitita- I deeply treasure my friends who I know would do this, and so much more, for me!

P.S. I can't get enough of this movie- I am a sucker for Broadway goes Hollywood! (Doesn't mean I don't appreciate Broadway in all its entireity- it just isn't as easy to see!)

P.P.S. Special shout out to Annie Mc/H who also recognized the importance of this film and suggested it was "blog-worthy". I agree- but Annie- start a blog! Any one else think so- here is you chance to say so! In a happy way of course :)

Monday, August 11, 2008


Coming soon.... the story of the grill bandit.

Summary: A neighbor snatches Jon and Stacy's minature grill from their yard and runs. A casual Sunday afternoon turns into chaos as the Peterson's attempt to get their grill back. Once the local police get involved, the whole block comes out to support the cause. This tale is filled with suspense, drama, and a cliff hanger ending.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

As summer flys by...

Sorry its been awhile since the last post. I have been adjusting to my new job! So far it has been great.

Here are a few of the awesome perks: I love my co-workers, the office is only 6 miles away from home, our department (which is only 4 people) has our own building, this building used to be a small school and comes complete with a giant fenced in yard, there is no dress code, I can work from home, I can expense items such as paper, ink, etc. when working from home, I set my own hours, and of course- the biggie- it allows me to continue doing what I love -providing social work services to adoptive families. Oh yeah, and I get paid to do this!

The negative: It is going to quickly turn into a 40 hour + work week as I get further into my rather large caseload. Of course, no organization is perfect and it takes some getting used to working in a new place. BUT all in all, I feel so blessed!!

On another note- these photos are from last weekend. We had a great time at Ravinia, Hootie and the Blowfish played. Hey, they aren't my favorite band or anything, but it doesn't really matter who plays at Ravinia- it is always fun! Then we headed up to Sawyer, Michigan to hang out with some of our friends who have summer cottages. It was wonderful to be with good friends and relax.
Rachel & Branden on the Ravinia Bus
Self portrait of Stacy & Jonny
Gearing up to Kayak on the rough waves of Lake Michigan

Friday, July 18, 2008

We enjoyed spending a week house sitting/dog sitting for my parents out in Naperville. It was weird for me to feel like I was in vacation in my own home town... but it has grown so much! We enjoyed several of the hot spots such as Jilly's Piano Bar, La Sorella, The River Walk.. I also enjoyed a few precious hours with an old bestest bud, Abbi and her CUTIE son, Griffin. Anyway we are happy to be back in our home in our own space- even though we appreciated the large yard, central air conditioning, open spaces, quietness, absence of traffic, etc.... It is nice to be home. There is no place like Chicago! Plus, things have felt so hectic lately and it is comforting just to be settled for a few weeks.

ALSO- exciting news- I (Stacy) now have a full time job!! I accepted a position with a local adoption agency and will start on Tuesday. I will also still continue to work as much as possible for CHI- an agency I fully support and respect!

Speaking of CHI... we are working hard to really try and keep up with Marathon training... man, it takes a lot of time to train for 26.2 miles! I can handle the hour runs, but when having to figure out how to schedule runs over an hour- when we are both available- that is a bit of a challenge! Reality check that we will need to be INCREASING this and start scheduling up to 4 hours- yeah, that is a pretty big deal I guess! Jon's knee has started to flare up- hopefully this is just a fluke. I have been doing OK, but this humidity can be rough- again, scheduling runs has begun to matter. I tried to run at 2:00 p.m. the other day and really thought I might pass out- I was tingling and spacey after 20 minutes. That never happens to me, but I also never usually run during the middle of a 90* humid day! From now on I will stick to my safe running hours- before 11 a.m. or after 5:00 p.m....

Friday, July 4, 2008

"It is the willing acceptance of Americans, both those whose roots here extend back over generations and those who arrived only yesterday, to try to make a nation in which all people share in the promise and responsibilities of freedom." - Obama

This year's photos are quite similar from last year! However- we have now officially become locals to our neighborhood . We BBQ'd at home- but as 9:00 p.m. approached (we ate late, as usual!) we quickly packed up our turkey burgers and headed over to Olympia Park. We didn't want to miss the fantastics fireworks show we learned about last year! We love it- it is totally underground- still not sure how they get away with it ( but I am sure it is due to the unique population of our neighborhood, which I will not say anymore about on this blog-ask if you want to know more). Anyway..... it is actually quite a show and we enjoyed it again this year!

This year, I had many thoughts running through my mind on Independence Day. Mostly, I am so grateful for the liberty and opportunity my country provides. However, I still struggle with many things about the U.S. For example, one thing that struck me today, Isn't it funny that for our official U.S. Celebration/Holiday we spend an INSANE amount of money on fireworks? How does this really contribute to welfare of our citizens? Is this really the best way to celebrate and bring people together to recognize how great our country is? What would other coutries think knowing we spend millions- billions + in each state to put on this show- yet people across the world don't have access to food and water? I know, I know- I have a sensitive and tainted view right now- Ethiopia is quite eye opening, I have no hesitation in saying that! However, I also will admit- I have always had a fairly global perspective and try to see most things from a larger perspective. People who know me well can testify that I am usually on this "soap box". Really though- that is OK, I am more than happy to be a voice for others and recent experiences have just confirmed that is a part of my calling.

Anyway- I am truly happy to be a U.S. citizen- don't get me wrong. I appreciate the right to education, services, food, medicine that are provided here. Even if there are flaws in the system- we have it so good here compared to MANY MANY other places! So for so many reasons....I say- Happy 4th of July! I also say- it is important for us all to be conscious of our responsibilities that come along with being so blessed to live in a country that provides so much- as I was told during my youth- "You are Blessed, but only in order to be a Blessing to Others."

Friday, June 27, 2008

Lately, I have been missing Ethiopia. I know we weren't there long, but I have been home just long enough now to be totally settle back into typical American routine.

I have been missing constant interaction with people on the streets, the value of long conversations over freshly roasted coffee, and living with the mentality that time, distance, and plans do not take precedence to relationships with others.

I have found that the question I am asked most often in regards to our trip is, "What stands out as your favorite moment?" Truly, this question is so hard to answer- there are too many!! However- I can say my favorite thing about the trip was the people. Ethiopians are the most welcoming people I have yet experienced. Through my travels- I have met many wonderful and hospitable people. However, never have I been in a country that was so eager to welcome foreigners. This isn't something I am proud to admit... but we arrived in Ethiopia expecting to be pick pocketed, heckled, and at least have a few unpleasant run ins with strangers. This is partially because this has been a reality in every other country I have visited. Also, the guide books had us convinced that the streets of Addis Ababa were pretty rough and tough. Nope. Not one tiny problem. In fact, more often than not when we looked lost - people would approach us and ask if we needed help. Many people were eager to talk to us because we were farangi (foreigners), but not one of them had anything negative to say- they were just genuinely interested in what we were doing in their country. I don't blame them for wondering!

My opinion of Ethiopians is that they are warm, genuine, passionate, and timeless. I was also quite impressed and humbled by the great pride they have in their country. Almost everyone seems to have a solid knowledge of the history of Ethiopia. Whether it is explaining the line of rulers for the past 100 years, descriptions of the regions and 150+ tribes of the country, ancient trade routes, landmarks, or discoveries made (most notably coffee and the first human skeleton- "Lucy")- they are eager to share the richness of Ethiopia with others.

Despite living in conditions that in some cases are almost intolerable, they live with the kind of faith that can move mountains. Miracles are a reality, as people rely on prayer to heal when no other resources are available- we heard countless testimonies of this. God is with his people and revealing himself in awesome ways. I suppose when people die in your community every day, there is a consistent shortage of food and water, and general hardship all around- God feels it is necessary to take more dramatic measures. After all, isn't when we see his work in our life personally that we truly believe? It would be really easy to go to Ethiopia and see the suffering and think God isn't there. It is that bad. BUT- HE IS! And his people know it too!

So- my point in writing this post..... obviously, I was touched and inspired by the people in Ethiopia. In saying this, I don't just mean the individuals I got to know- I mean the people in the streets, the mini bus drivers, the shop owners, the saratanas, the guards.... you get the picture- all of them! Here are a few of the faces we did get to know- that will remain in our hearts forever (very cheesy, but also true!)

From now on, I am not going to keep posting only about Ethiopia. If something comes to mind I really want to share on this blog- I will! BUT I as I mentioned before- I also spent a lot of time putting pictures and words together for a presentation. I feel like if I keep trying to re-hash out all the details I will never move on with my life! I hope that makes sense, I don't want to keep my experiences or thoughts to myself- and by no means do I want to forget! I just don't want anyone expecting me to tell story after story about Ethiopia on this blog and not post about the rest of life that is happening now!