Triply Blessed: The British Edition

Family has always been especially important to me, and when Brian and I decided to grow our own, I was reminded of how very strong the blessing of unconditional love is.  I have been oh-so lucky to be surrounded by that all my life, from not two families, but three (and then I became a Runnells and it was five).

Thanks to a lovely friendship and a bond that grew just as strong as any family bond can, I grew up with a 'third side' to my family, the Jarvis side.  Some of my most precious memories include singing along to Stevie Wonder with Maureen and my brother, babysitting my cousins, celebrating (Let's parttty, Rachael!) and traveling with them (anyone want another table cloth to cover up with at a Disney dinner?!), and now raising tiny humans along side them.

Last Saturday, the Unti (Runnells) girls spent the afternoon with much of the Jarvis crew, and it was such a joy, as always!  HQ and Winston entertained us and each other; we reminisced; and I soaked in the sweet, p…

Date Night

Late nights are a rarity in the Runnells household.  It would be easy to blame that on HQ, but it has much more to do with the hours teachers keep.  News that Tedeschi Trucks Band would be playing in Madison was enough to make me more than happy to delay bedtime.  
This past Monday, Brian and I made the trek west on I-94 to our old stomping grounds, the place where we babies became near-adults and, you know, got engaged...
The poor weather (at least it wasn't snowing?!) meant that we weren't about to venture all over campus and the surrounding area - those days are long gone - so we kept near to the venue, the Overture Center, when we arrived.  We enjoyed wine and great dinner at Cento, and then made our way across the street - literally - to enjoy another evening with Tedeschi Trucks Band.  

The thing about being Brian's partner is that you're surely in for something new - and usually exhausting - with each "So...I was thinking." The first time I heard that…

We All Need A Hero

They come in many shapes and forms, and as children, especially, we lean on them to inspire us, to shake the dust off.  Many of them wear costumes or capes; some are part of an athletic acronym, the NFL, NBA, the MLB.  You catch my drift - we all need our heroes.  I wasn't much for TV, and I like sports as much as the next person, but I wasn't emulating any WWE (I think it was the WWF back in my day?!) personality in my youth.

Of the many people who have helped me become the person I am today, the person who tops my heroes list is most certainly my dad.  And just this week, my dad exemplified why he's my hero once more; he was named Deputy Chief of the Mukwonago Fire Department after nearly 27 years of service. 

My dad's passion for helping others, his drive to do his best and be his best,  is what I channel as I walk into my classroom each day.  When I enrolled in graduate school and had to balanced that work with my professional responsibilities, I developed a new an…

A Door County Three Day Weekend!

Sure, I have done the ‘back to work after having a baby’ thing, but that did not make this September any easier. And from day one of this school year, I have very much been looking forward to our October break.   
Brian spent the past eight days in places other than our home, so I was tackling tiny human duty solo-ish - HQ has amazing grandparents, who are always willing to offer a hand. Friday, once the Runnells team was back to full strength, we scooped up my mom, and headed to Door County, where my dad joined us - after a few action-packed weeks of his own and a stop at Door Co. Distillery (Thanks for the treat,  Dad!). 
We spend our weekend in Sister Bay. We hiked, swam, enjoyed all sorts of sports action, and snoozed; Brian biked and I cooked. We all enjoyed the free entertainment that is a 13-month-old (little miss has some dancing skills).

I’ve really come to love Door County. It is a place of many HQ firsts and special memories, and it’s surely a place where we can share so m…

Every Person Needs Her People

While meeting with parents is a regular part of my job, it was a relatively new concept when I first began co-coaching the Adventure Rock climbing team.  It certainly seemed wild to me that any parent would entrust Brian and me with his or her child; we were practically kids ourselves.  So, when I was approached by a rather skeptical parent as we prepared for a team trip to Kentucky, I wasn't all that surprised.  This mom, riddled with concern, emphatically stated, "But climbers are just so eccentric." In many ways, her statement was a fair one: let's go camp for several days, skip showers, cook over a tiny stove, sleep in tents, use all of our energy to move ourselves gingerly up a rock face, and walk away with sore muscles and raw hands because...well, climbing is fun!

I wasn't always a climber.  In fact, in a lot of ways, I was a lot like that particular mom.  I scoffed at any request made to join Brian on numerous climbing outings.  I laughed at the trivial p…


Fall means an onslaught of acronyms: RRG, DLSP, PSL....okay, so really, for most it only means Pumpkin Spice Lattes, but in the Runnells household, fall has always meant trips to the Red River Gorge, KY and Devil's Lake State Park.

Recently, however, we've been acquainting ourselves with another treasure, Peninsula State Park.  In what turned out to be a lucky coincidence, my parents' annual trip to Door County aligned perfectly with my initial Academic Decathlon Coaches' Workshop, held in Green Bay.  So, this weekend we enjoyed our first time camping at Peninsula and HQ experienced her first camping trip ever!  When I departed Thursday, I took some of my parents' supplies, and they brought my husband and my tiny human when they headed up Friday - we convened at the park and spent Friday evening though Sunday afternoon enjoying some perfectly wonderful fall weather.

Adding to the list of firsts this,  HQ came down with a bug early last week and was not her typical …

Al's Run 2018

While I was without either of my run buddies for the five mile course, Saturday was indeed a great day for another Al’s Run. And I was very pleased to be back with Team Zoe after last year's absence due to the arrival of our HQ (well, truthfully, due to figuring out how to keep said new 10-day-old human alive and well - forget attempting to leave our home with her).
Much as I love time with my tiniest run buddy, I thought it best to avoid any extra sparkle potential (it was hot, hot, hot, and sweatin’ is in my Mexican blood), so HQ made her Team Zoe debut on the 3-mile course in her super plush, off-road capable stroller (too bad it isn’t self driving). 
Despite the heat, I had a great run, was pleased with my time, got two banana halves at the finish line, and was able to support an utterly important cause! I also got to spend a good portion of my Saturday with family...even if I did have to do so in enemy territory (booo, Marquette!).

Al's Run 2018 was great!